With our recent Physiologist recruitment campaign, we caught up with Sandra Perry, one of our Nuffield Health Clinic Manager’s at a corporate site in London, to share some great insight about our Physiologist careers and training.
How long have you worked at Nuffield Health and what motivated you to apply for the role?
‘I started working for Nuffield Health in August 2015, where I attended the Physiology Training Camp then started as a Health and Wellbeing Physiologist at Hosier Lane Medical Centre in London.
I was initially attracted to the Physiology career at Nuffield Health as I had an interest in public health, lifestyle management of diseases and mass participation in exercise during my time at University. I was heavily involved in the organisation and promotion of student sport at the University of Glasgow, which helped me to develop a further interest in health promotion through lifestyle management. I have always had a passion for health and sport; working with Nuffield Health as a Health and Wellbeing Physiologist helped me to translate my passion interests into a career!
The aspect of working with individuals to improve their health and wellbeing through lifestyle management suited my interests and skillset from University. Additionally, the structured career path offered within the Physiology division was attractive as it demonstrated the potential for professional progression within a healthcare association. Nuffield Health’s charity status was appealing, as it demonstrating a caring attitude towards clients & patients as all profit is re-invested to improve our future healthcare.’
What does being a Physiologist mean to you?
‘Being a Physiologist means helping individuals achieve any specific health goals that they want to work on. I often view a Physiologist as a positive enabler; helping clients overcome barriers and induce motivation they may not have realised they had to improve their health and wellbeing. My view of being a Physiologist has changed over my career, now as an onsite clinic manager I have an interest in using my role as a Physiologist to improve the health of corporate clients & support the wellbeing strategy.
I have one particular client who helps me realise the impact our health assessments can. 6 months after the clients first ever health check with myself, he returned for another. In 6 months, the client had dropped his weight from 101.6kg to 80.8kg dropping from the ‘Obese’ to ‘Normal’ weight BMI category. His waist size dropped from 99.5cm to an impressive 79cm and body fat from 25.3% to 14.6%. As a result, this client is at a reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and feels considerably happier. As expected, there were some favourable changes within this client’s lipid profile with total/HDL cholesterol ratio reducing from 5.2mmol/L to 3mmol/L.
Beyond key achievements with clients, I also have professional key achievements. Through the support and leadership from my managers, I was nominated as the Academy Physiologist of the year in 2016 and was one of the runners up for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Business’ in 2017. Nuffield Health are a fantastic organisation for supporting & developing talent.’
We have a regular intake of graduates for our Physiologist careers, can you give us some insight into your experience in this process?
‘After attending the 15 day clinical training camp or Physiology, I began as a Health and Wellbeing Physiologist in one of our medical centres in London. I have always been ambitious to progress and so I started expanding my skillset by getting involved with additional tasks, responsibilities & projects at Hosier Lane Medical Centre, such as being the Infection Prevention Lead and assisting my Regional Clinical Lead Physiologist in her monthly clinical governance reports. In my first 18 months, I completed a Diploma in Health and Wellbeing Physiology. This diploma expanded my knowledge base from University and from the 15 day training camp. It covers topics such as stress management, emotional wellbeing & sleep physiology.
In 2017, I progressed onto the role of National Physiology Trainer, where I worked alongside my fellow Physiology trainer to organise, manage and execute the 15 day clinical training camp for all newly recruited Health and Wellbeing Physiologist’s. In my time I trained over 30 new recruits and helped to improve the results achieved. Whilst challenging, this was a very rewarding role as I taught all new recruits the knowledge and skills required to be an effective and successful Health and Wellbeing Physiologist. Whilst in this role I was a member of the Physiology Expert Advisory Group who meet on a quarterly basis. I was also involved in business projects such as rolling out a new software to the entire health assessment division and developing a follow up call protocol.
I am currently Clinic Manager at our wellbeing centre in the Bank of England. I started this role in March 2018. Here, we have an integrated centre that helps us to promote our connected services to our clients, helping to improve their wellbeing through our varied specialist services. I manage 5 service lines; health assessments (including a follow up programme), GP, Nurse, Physiotherapy & occupational health. The wellbeing centre also hosts a Nuffield Health Fitness Centre. Working at a corporate site offers the opportunity to improve not just the health and wellbeing of a single individual, but of an organisation as a whole. I love my job at the Bank of England as due to the integrated services, we are able to refer clients onto our other service lines onsite for additional support to improve their health. We work closely with the Bank of England wellbeing team to deliver a wellbeing strategy and tailor our services to the needs of the employee’s of the Bank. On top of this, I keep my clinical skills up to day by performing health assessments & follow up’s on our clients.
The support of Nuffield Health’s Academy and the Physiology CPD programme has been key to my development. Nuffield Health are excellent at helping their staff progress professionally. Through the Academy, I have attended workshops to progress my skillset as a leader and a manager. The Physiology CPD programme has funded my certificate in PRINCE2 project management. Clinically, I have attended day courses to enhance my skills as a clinician, such as a course in Motivational Interviewing & Lifestyle management of diabetes. Nuffield Health have also put me through an Infection Prevention Co-ordinator course and a Level 3 in Education and Training.’
For someone looking to be a Physiologist do you have any advice or top tips?
‘On top of having a relevant degree and a passion for health & wellbeing, having relevant work experience is important when applying for the role. One of the main attributes we look for in recruitment is an individual who is more than book smart; someone who has that 1-2-1 experience of helping individuals improve their health, as well as understanding the intricate physiology behind the lifestyle modifications we discuss with clients. Having the ability to apply motivational interviewing and break down intricate physiology into laymen’s terms that a client can understand and engage with is important.’
What do you enjoy the most about working for Nuffield Health?
‘The people make Nuffield Health. All leaders and teams in Nuffield Health care about each other and care about the clients, which make it a fantastic, caring & encouraging company to work for.’