21 March 2017
Marketa Ramsay is a clinical specialist physiotherapist based at the neurological rehabilitation centre at Edgware Community Hospital. She manages a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.
How did you decide on this career?
My brother damaged his leg in his teens, I saw the physios treating him and that made me realise I wanted to do their job. I did a physiology degree and followed that with a physiotherapy degree, qualifying in 2001. I started out at Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust and have now been working here for over nine years. I work with patients who have acquired brain injury, spinal injury or long term conditions such as MS or Parkinsons. People come here for six to eight weeks on average but they can stay for up to 12 weeks. We cover quite a broad area, Barnet, Haringey, Enfield and Harrow are our primary boroughs, but we do also take patients from Islington and Waltham Forest.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Helping people get back their independence and being able to show them how to do something in a different way. It’s brilliant to be able to help people to take control of their lives and it’s wonderful to see the camaraderie that develops between them, and between them, us and their families. It’s incredibly rewarding helping people to achieve their goals. I also have to give my team a mention – we may be small but we’re an incredibly strong group.
What keeps you up at night?
You have to accept that some things are beyond your control but it can be tough letting go. It’s difficult to know what to do about a patient who might not need help with tasks like washing and dressing, but whose planning and processing or social skills aren’t good. For instance they could get lost even if they are in their local neighbourhood and you worry about how they will cope, especially if they don’t have family to support them.
What are your best moments?
It’s great to see previous patients who come back and volunteer for our coffee mornings. It’s just wonderful to see how well they are doing. I’ve also learned to never say never. Yes I have to manage expectations but equally it’s important for us to recognise and encourage people to have hope and goals. Sometimes they’ll have been told they won’t ever walk again or they’ll have to go into a nursing home but seeing that look on their face when they take their first steps or are told they are doing well enough to go back to their own home – that’s massive.
What’s the best thing a patient has ever said to you?
We got a thank-you card from a patient just a few days ago which said, “I thought I’d be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I just wish I’d known about this place sooner”. She was relatively young, in her 50s, but had a long term condition and was falling regularly and had badly damaged her knees. She arrived in a wheelchair but by the end of her stay she walked out of here.