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Next on the blog we have Tom McKeever.
Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.
What is your current role?
I am a chartered and practicing Physiotherapist, working privately in Edinburgh. After working clinically since 2016, I decided to take the plunge back into academia. I am currently undertaking a PhD at Edinburgh Napier University and lecture on the MSc Physiotherapy programme, supporting the training of aspiring physiotherapists. I also work as a youth sports pitch-side physiotherapist and as a contractor for a sports massage training company. My PhD research field is in the medical and pathway management of the concussed youth athlete in Scotland. I am currently running all my major PhD studies, working with youth athletes, and aiming to scope the ‘state of play’ for concussion management of our youth sportspersons.
What was your journey to get there?
After leaving Heriots in 2012, I embarked on a 4-year Physiotherapy degree course at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. After graduating, I completed two years in Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire, rotating through different physiotherapy specialties. A highlight during this time was working in the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital as a paediatric physiotherapist – where I worked with a number of inspirational young people. After returning to Edinburgh in 2018, I worked in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital providing physiotherapy assessment and treatment in the mental health setting and worked privately part-time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I moved to work full-time for East Lothian Health and Social care partnership, as a specialist community physiotherapist. The pandemic was a particularly challenging time working for the NHS, however I was grateful to be able to leave my home and deliver essential care to those in most need. Post-pandemic, I was offered a secondment to Edinburgh Napier University as an associate lecturer in Physiotherapy and took the opportunity to develop my teaching skills. I enjoyed working in the academic environment and I made the decision to apply for a PhD and was successful in my application to the course.
What are your achievements?
I am proud of the professional relationships that I have developed over the years working as a Physiotherapist – I have met some of the most dedicated healthcare professionals and irreplaceable friends. However, I would say that I am most proud of the difference that I have been able to make to individual’s quality of life during my physiotherapy career. I continue to take pride in developing the MSc Physiotherapy programme at Edinburgh Napier University and working to enhance student experience and outcomes. Academic work was always enjoyable for me, but I did have to work hard. Being accepted onto a PhD programme has been a monumental milestone in my career, and a path that I had never thought possible.
What are your favourite memories of Heriot’s?
There are a lot of good memories to recall. Personally, I would say that the S6 leavers ball was a highlight for me. Whilst a sad occasion, marking the departure from Heriots, the event was great, and it marked an exciting time ahead for new challenges and growth. Being able to celebrate the end of an era, and new beginnings with the best friends, was magical. I must also take time to mention the proudest moment of my rugby career (If I can call it that), where I was selected to debut for the 2nds one Saturday morning. From what I can recall, I spent a grand total of 5 minutes on the pitch after being substituted on and did very little to influence the outcome of the match. Thanks to my early growth spurt, I earned a position change from winger to tighthead prop…which still to this day, baffles many that I relay this story to (I am built like a winger… not a tighthead prop!). Playing for Heriots was always fun, enjoyable, and rewarding.
Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?
I was drawn to study physiotherapy after receiving treatment from several inspirational physiotherapists. Throughout my schooling and career journey, I have always been inspired by role models and sought mentors that support my career goals. My advice would be to grasp opportunities to work with these role models and mentors in your chosen sector. And finally, it can’t be said enough but believe in yourself and the fact that hard work will prevail and always be true to yourself, your motivations, and morals.
Please take a look at my PhD research study: https://survey.napier.ac.uk/n/zz8b1.aspx