David Mbinga, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy alumni

I always felt like I had the potential to make an impact and make a difference in people's lives. 

Currently, my day is generally seeing patients that are coming in through outpatient referrals. This includes assessing new patients, diagnosing new patients, and involves me managing quite an extensive caseload. I mainly deal with patients that come in with musculoskeletal conditions. 
My duty is to diagnose, prescribe exercise, and send them on an appropriate pathway. I am also a Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) Steward for my department, my role involves representing and supporting colleagues in various aspects of their practice but more importantly help promote healthy working relationships.
Career wise, before deciding to study, I've been all over the place. I started by working in the leisure and tourism sector, then I became an entrepreneur, running my own businesses. After this I went on to work in the transport sector in Plymouth for a time. But throughout my whole life I have always expressed a keen interest in human rights, so I've also been an advocate for social justice.
I always felt like I had the potential to do something to make an impact and make a difference in people's lives. I'm quite an autonomous person, so I also I like to oversee what I'm doing.
I looked at the careers available that would take me to the next stage and help me unlock the potential that I've always felt was there, and physiotherapy was the one that ticked all the boxes.
Roland Levinksy Building with blue sky

I've been in Plymouth for the past 10 years, so it’s basically my home now, and obviously my family is here and I wanted a university which was closer to home.

Plymouth was probably the best option for me, in terms of choosing the right university. 
For me, coming in as a mature student I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have picked any other institution.

The support I received was extraordinary.

Coming in as a mature student was quite a challenge from a financial perspective because you are having to sacrifice a little bit of income transitioning into full-time study. On the course itself you have a good mix of mature students, along with those who are coming directly from school or college. This meant there was a good balance, and I didn't feel out of place. We also had very, very supportive lecturers throughout the process, so I didn't really feel the heat of that transition because of this.
The support and respect that I received from the lecturers, and even the admin staff, was extraordinary. I think that was the greatest highlight of my time at Plymouth. Without that, it was going to be a tough mountain climb to get through the course. Even when I was out on placement, you always have a placement tutor constantly checking in and keeping in touch with you, supporting you the whole way through.
When I did my first placement it was a new environment for me, especially being in a hospital setting. I was very fortunate in that I managed to have a wide variety of different placement experiences. I had a chance to work in stroke rehab, trauma and orthopaedics and respiratory, and a musculoskeltal placement to name a few. The one that stands out the most for me was when I had a placement at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power station looking after the employees there, which at the time was probably the largest construction site in Europe.
On the last placement I had, I was running my own caseload with very minimal supervision. 
Here I was actually treating patients, having positive outcomes and receiving positive feedback saying that I had made a difference in their lives.That was when I started to feel like I was ready for that transition from being a student to a fully qualified physiotherapist.

I think the mix of theory to practical work on the programme is a good way to assess students. With Physiotherapy being a holistic career, I think it's suited to people who are very good at hands-on work, and I tended to be one of those people who enjoyed the more practical side, and I think that's where my strengths lay.

Alongside that, I always had full support from the lecturers and the tutors with the theoretical side of things.

Studying at Plymouth absolutely prepared me for life as a qualified physiotherapist.

My placements were incredibly well-rounded, which meant I picked up a wide range of experiences. Being awarded ‘Good citizen award’ at graduation, for the student who made the greatest contribution throughout the duration of the course, was such an honour and had a positive impact on my confidence.
The personal tutors support you throughout the course, and on top of this you have a placement tutor who supports you throughout the placement experience. You know you are receiving that support, and building relationships while on placement, which also helps you to settle into a new team when you start employment.
David Mbigna, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy alumni

Making the right choice

Before making my university choice, attending an open day helped guide me and reaffirm my decision to apply to the physiotherapy programme. Seeing the facilities, and speaking with the lecturers and the student ambassadors, allowed me to confirm I was making the right choice in coming to Plymouth.
As a student I was also a member of the Physiotherapy Society, Physio Soc, and in my second year I was the Health & Safety officer which I found to be a very rewarding experience. Being a member of the society even allowed me to gain skills I would never have gained otherwise, such as event management.
I would definitely encourage anyone to apply to BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy. It's a challenging course, but you're supported by a great teaching culture, and there's also a very good improvement culture within the physiotherapy department – the lecturers are always seeking feedback from students, such as how they feel about a particular module, how they feel about a particular style of teaching etc. 
Working in physiotherapy is an incredibly rewarding career, and each and every day you are making a difference to people's lives.
Physiotherapy students training in Intercity Place