Hayden Kirk

Job Title

Consultant Physiotherapist, Clinical Director Adults Southampton

Where are you based?

Community Hospital

Is your role clinical or non-clinical?

Both – my Physiotherapy work is clinical, my Clinical Director work is managerial.

Why did you decide to join the NHS?

It was my plan to be a physio working in a professional sports club, but when I did my placement as a student physio during university, I worked with stroke patients and found it incredibly rewarding and so decided to work in the NHS.

How did you join the NHS?

After leaving university with a degree in sports science, I worked for a while in market research in London. At 25 I decided to retrain as a physiotherapist. I joined the NHS in 1998 and have had a really rewarding career ever since. During this time, I have also studied for a Doctorate in Clinical Practice.

Briefly explain your job

As a Consultant Physiotherapist, I specialise in working with patients who have neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke and head/spinal injuries. These conditions  can cause spasticity (very stiff muscles), and as a physio I help patients gain as much independence as possible, advising  patients with stretching and exercise, use of splints as well as prescribing and administering medicine if it is needed.  I also work closely with our surgeons on specific interventions where these are helpful to patients. In some cases these can include procedures like intrathecal baclofen, which is where medicine is delivered by pump inside a patient’s body to relax and calm their muscles, making movement easier.

In my management role as a Clinical Director, I am responsible for services delivered by 650 NHS nurses, doctors and therapists working in Adult Services on behalf of Solent NHS Trust. I am the lead clinician, responsible for the strategic work we do to deliver services and manage risks, ensuring the safe delivery of the community care to thousands of people in Southampton.

What’s your day to day like?

If I have a clinic day, it will be a full day of treating patients who come to clinic from across Hampshire and Dorset. In a management day, I’ll be dealing with different challenges and working closely with leaders from our hospitals, GP practices and social services to make sure we are delivering services that meet patients’ needs. This includes keeping up with the latest research to make sure we are up to date on the latest technologies and treatment approaches.

What do you love about your job?

Being able to make a difference to a patient’s life – whether that’s helping someone be in less pain, or achieving movement they never thought they could, it’s so rewarding.  Also, as a manager, working with our teams and helping enable them to shape and deliver services which improve patients’ lives.

What is challenging about your role?

Healthcare is always developing and there’s always more you can do. Everyone is aware of the challenges facing the NHS and so managing resources (mainly staff) and risk is a daily challenge. However, there’s never a dull day – there’s so much worthwhile work taking place.

What would you say to a young person thinking of joining the NHS?

If you enjoy working with people and have a natural caring nature, you will find working in the NHS so rewarding.

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