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Published: 3 November 2022

"Coming back to physiotherapy after 15 years made me realise how much I missed it"

Coming back to work would always be a difficult decision for Lucie Kamau, but when the time came, the return to work programme helped her find a way back to a career she loved.

Photo of physiotherapist Lucie Kamau“I first qualified as a physiotherapist in 1998 in the Czech Republic and I worked with children with learning disabilities. After ten years in practice, I made the big decision to come to England and learn the language. It was here that I met my husband and we began our life here together.”

Lucie gained her Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration in the UK in 2014 and worked in jobs outside of the NHS, but didn’t practice as a physio due to raising her three children.

“It was when my youngest started primary school that I felt the time was right to come back to physiotherapy. I did a lot of research and Health Education England was really helpful in signposting me to a return to practice course. The programme required me to complete 60 hours combined placement and study.

“It was a very challenging time to find a suitable placement. The pandemic had hit and I didn’t hear back from the organisations I was contacting. I remember feeling quite disheartened at the time.”

When Lucie did hear back, it was from the Clinical Academy Team at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT). They helped her secure a placement with the West Kent Learning Disability Team.

“I spent 36 days on site with the team and completed the additional study to meet the HCPC requirements. The team were so welcoming and supportive, allowing me to work part-time and flexible days and hours around my family and other employment commitments.”

Lucie completed the Return to Practice programme in October 2021 and received her registration in November 2021. In January 2022, Lucie successfully applied for a physiotherapist role at KCHFT.

“The job is local to me and I have been able to negotiate hours that work perfectly for me around my family. Everyone is so supportive and it’s a nice working environment. The job itself is really rewarding and I love interacting with people and helping them feel better.

“I think that there are people out there like me, particularly in the allied health professions, who haven’t practiced for a long period of time and don’t know how to go about returning to their careers. But I am an example that with the right support and training, you can do it and you will be helped along the way.”

Lucie works with the West Kent Learning Disability team which provides health advice and specialist therapeutic support to people with learning disabilities.

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