Excellent placement opportunities in hospitals whilst studying at LBU

Alumni spotlight | Tawanda Anyani, MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration)


Tawanda Anyani smiles at camera whilst wearing yellow Arsenal top

Hi, my name is Tawanda Anyani and I am a MSc Physiotherapy Pre-registration graduate. Prior to my Masters degree, I completed a BSc in Sports Rehabilitation, which enabled me to apply for a pre-registration Masters. I now practise as a qualified physiotherapist within the NHS at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, as well as casual work at Leeds United Football Club Academy.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you've been doing since you graduated

One thing about me is I am a massive football fan and unfortunately for me at the minute I support Arsenal. I also enjoy other sports, such as boxing, and enjoy spending time with friends and going out. My interest in physio stemmed from my short-lived (due to injuries) Sunday league football career. I would have been professional if I didn’t hurt my knee, believe what you will.

Since I graduated in early 2021, I have been working full-time within Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts completing my band 5 rotations. During my first six months, I have been developing my skills on an MSK rotation, on major trauma. I’ve also managed to maintain part-time work with Leeds United Academy, where I cover evening clinics and weekend football matches.

What have been the highlights and challenges of your career so far?

One of the biggest challenges since I started working was transitioning from a student to a qualified professional. This is because it required a big mindset change from being constantly supervised to being completely autonomous. Although there is senior support, as someone qualified you have the feeling that you should know it all and be able to work independently. However, the team were great in ensuring that I felt supported at all times, which made the transition more seamless. The support I received helped me to hit the ground running, which led to me being nominated for the award of ‘Best Newcomer’ at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts CSU awards, which definitely has been one of my career highlights.

The management of complex poly trauma (multiple major injuries) cases whilst on major trauma brought some big challenges also, however, this presented a big opportunity to develop my problem-solving skills as well as mental strength. During my first six months on major trauma, I have also had the opportunity to attend special events such as trauma calls in which trauma patients are first attended to through A&E, as well as attending to observe major pelvic surgery. All these experiences and opportunities so far have made the first months of my career exciting and I look forward to what’s to come.

How has your experience studying at Leeds Beckett influenced you and your career?

My experience studying at Leeds Beckett influenced me and my career in many different ways. Firstly, the wealth of experience the tutors at Leeds Beckett bring, made the studying experience enjoyable. With the tutors having different backgrounds and specialities, I was exposed to different ways of working and approaches, which has shaped my practice by being able to be adaptable and flexible as I am well versed with multiple approaches. This has allowed me to begin creating my own unique style as I start my career.

Secondly, the excellent placement opportunities in hospitals whilst studying at Leeds Beckett gave me a completely different outlook on hospital working. At the start of my studies, my intentions were to work in a sporting environment, however, having had a great experience working in hospitals during my placements, it swayed my decision to complete NHS rotations first over working in sports straight away.

Finally, the opportunity of living in a great city such as Leeds whilst studying at Leeds Beckett, influenced my decision to then stay and work in Leeds once I had graduated.

What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?

The overall key thing about the course is that it’s an experience in which you make connections and are constantly learning, so my best advice would be to be open minded and prepared to learn. Everything you participate in contributes to your future in the field, whether it be meeting experienced people already in the field or even looking for placements. The field of physiotherapy is a small world where everyone knows everyone, so it’s a vital chance to make meaningful connections which, given the opportunity, I recommend everyone takes the chance.

Experience comes with physically doing the job and shadowing professionals, and luckily there is a high availability of placements. I have to say that anyone thinking of studying the course shouldn’t be too picky with placements as you get experience and valuable development even from your less favourable ones. The chance to learn is the main focus, which is why it’s important that even in lectures, you apply yourself at all times and be seen as a good student as good students make good physios, and in the long term this will be beneficial for you when it comes to your lecturers writing you references for future employers.

What's next for you?

In the immediate future I will be rotating on to elderly medicine as my next rotation. I look forward to this rotation as it will give me more experience on the medical side of physiotherapy.

Mid-term I hope to complete all my core NHS rotations and then hopefully take up a senior role within MSK physiotherapy at some point. All this experience will then hopefully further lead into my long-term plans of taking up a full-time role within the elite sporting environment, probably football, and possibly explore the option of opening up my own clinic and building a brand.

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