Neurological rehabilitation - graduate profiles

Find out more about our graduates and how the MSc Advanced Professional Practice in Neurological Rehabilitation has helped them progess.

Angie Logan works at the Lanyon Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, Camborne & Redruth Community Hospital, Cornwall.

Professional background: specialist physiotherapist in strokes.

"The structure and content of the MSc offered at Plymouth University suited my personal requirements more than other universities because I wanted a combination of modules that would complement and enhance my clinical practice as well as those that would develop my research knowledge and skills. Location of the university and flexibility of the delivery of the modules were important to me – the combination of block face-to-face and distance modules meant I could maximise study time as well as access teaching staff whenever I needed to.  

The MSc needed to be specific and relevant to my clinical practice as a stroke specialist physiotherapist. Ultimately I wanted to be a better clinician, to develop myself professionally by improving my knowledge of neurological anatomy/physiology; neuroscience and rehabilitation as well as being able to critically appraise and implement up-to-date evidence into my clinical practice. I also hoped that the knowledge, skills and clinical experience gained would enable me to maximise quality of life and functional movement for my patients both in my day-to-day clinical practice, as well as provide the opportunity to contribute to the existing evidence base in stroke rehabilitation.

I wanted to improve my problem-solving and clinical reasoning skills based on the most recent and relevant evidence. I hoped this would facilitate me to provide focused and effective interventions for my patients as well as being a more effective team member. My expectations were met, in fact they were exceeded! I feel I have the knowledge and confidence to use research (both existing and my own) to guide my professional practice.  

Since starting the MSc I have implemented knowledge and skills into my daily practice. I believe I am a more skilled, informed and effective clinician as a result of my MSc. The knowledge, skills and experience gained has enabled me to develop peers, juniors and students through in-service training and collaborative working. I now have the skills to review interventions and the wider service by critically evaluating relevant research around concepts and ideas."

Donncha Lane works at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Professional background: Physiotherapist in Acquired Brain Injury.

"I chose the MSc in Advanced Professional Practice in Neurological Rehabilitation mainly as this type of MSc was not available to me in Ireland. But even if it was, the expertise in the programme from a teaching perspective may not have been comparable. The delivery of modules in blocks, breadth of subjects covered, quality of support and information from all staff involved in my programme, and ease of getting to Plymouth from Ireland were some of the initial reasons for choosing Plymouth University.

My expectations of the course were to build my research skills and knowledge, and understand more about the UK health system and innovations that would be transferable to where I currently work. The modules on my MSc facilitated all of this. My specialist interest is vestibular rehabilitation and in many of my assignments I focussed on this clinical area. This helped expand my knowledge in the area and gave me the time to reflect on various cases and situations. As part of one of the modules on the course I had to develop a new service plan. Recently I have received funding for this service plan which would not have been possible without having the time and support to undertake this comprehensive assignment.

This MSc has invigorated me and has me thinking about various plans for the future – and most definitely staying on the physiotherapy track. And whilst this sounds clichéd, the MSc has given me time to reflect on our profession and understand further the great and innovative services we can offer in varying clinical and non-clinical scenarios. I do not see my links with Plymouth University dissipating and am keen to explore single modules that I haven’t completed as part of my current MSc but would like to pursue."

Rosanna Scerri works at the Rehabilitation Hospital Karin Grech, a rehabilitation facility in Malta at the outpatients department.

Professional background: occupational therapist.

"I chose Plymouth University as it was the only university which offered a course in Neurorehabilitation on a part-time basis. Being a foreign student, I did not wish to pursue a course which was solely based on distance learning – I wanted face-to-face contact with lecturers and fellow students.  

I wanted to gain more in-depth knowledge about how to treat and assess individuals with neurological conditions and to improve my practice in the area. This MSc experience has taught me how to look up and critique literature and I am feeling more competent in treating individuals with neurological conditions. I have started to use different therapies with my clients such as mirror therapy, constraint induced movement therapy and different outcome measures. I also try to make my practice more evidence-based and to measure my outcomes as much as possible.

Neurological rehabilitation could also offer multiple future opportunities compared to an MSc in Dementia Studies, which is limited solely to dementia care. This is important for me since, in Malta, areas are not yet so specialised and it might be difficult for me to have an opportunity to work in environments which are highly specialised or condition specific. However since Neurorehabilitation encompasses multiple conditions, finding a work opportunity in this area was considered feasible."

Auwal Abdullahi – graduate profile

For Auwal, a degree from Plymouth University has been the springboard to progress within his chosen career of academia and physiotherapy.
Find out more about Auwal's experience

Auwal Abdullahi now works as a physiotherapist at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria.

I chose Plymouth because that was the only University that offers a course relevant to my profession at the time I attended an education fair in my country.

I did not know much about neurological rehabilitation at the time I applied for the MSc, However I have always hoped to learn more about stroke rehabilitation. My expectation of the course was very much lower than what I learned in the course. I think I have acquired lifelong academic and clinical skills.

I have used the knowledge I gained while on the programme in various ways. One, I used it in improving teaching, research co-ordination and writing skills within my department at Bayero University. Two, my thesis helped me to design novel CIMT protocols for a woman who had suffered an acute stroke (accepted for publication) and a child who has suffered a sub-acute stroke (submitted for publication ). Thirdly, I also designed seven studies during the time I was writing up my thesis, one involving the development of a tool to assess spatial neglect following stroke (I already have most of the data for this study). My time on the course certainly influenced my future development plans.

Undertaking the programme was very demanding, however I would advise any prospective candidates to focus on the gains they will have made upon completion of their studies. This will help ease the stress during!