An Interview with Cameron Black, Clinical Team Lead Physiotherapist, Nuffield Health at one of our key corporate sites in Oxford.
How long have you worked at Nuffield Health?
I have been with Nuffield for nearly 1 ½ years now, around the same time that I moved into the Oxfordshire area with my (now!) wife, time has flown by! I work in a clinic at one of our corporate client sites, for a large automotive organisation.
What attracted you to your first job here?
Having a background in sport and exercise science and medicine, I was drawn to the Nuffield Health strategy communicated through the aim, vision, mission and plan for the future of the company. Of these health and wellbeing within the corporate setting was something that I was really interested in as I feel it is a massively growing area and one that few physiotherapists tend to specialise in.
What has been your career path prior to working in one of our corporate sites?
After my 4-year physio degree I travelled for around 6 months in China and SE Asia, this culminated in gaining employment in Singapore and we had four great years working in a variety of settings at a large public hospital. I finished by working at the largest sports medicine centre at Changi General Hospital treating professional and recreational athletes and then decided to complete a MSc back in the UK. In the UK I have worked in a variety of roles within the NHS, military and privately and am now conducting a Professional Doctorate in Health whilst working full time with Nuffield Health in Oxford.
Tell us about being a Physiotherapist in a corporate site?
I have learnt so much providing this organisation with clinical services at the corporate level. This contract is a unique and niche environment whereby occupational health, physiotherapy and emotional wellbeing teams are onsite, full-time for the client. I would love for more physios to come into this environment as musculoskeletal experts, we have much to offer successful FTSE 100 companies and SMEs in terms of managing musculoskeletal health in the workplace and for society more broadly in terms of productivity and quality of life. I believe this occupational health role is enhanced compared to the traditional clinic role to include prevention within manufacturing and minimising disability, our second home tends to be reviewing processes on the production line! We tend to be the profession that sees workers more regularly and we can understand their physical and psychosocial needs due to this close workplace proximity. No two days are the same and sometimes we are able to borrow and test the latest car for weekends or weekdays!
What does being a Physiotherapist mean to you?
I am proud to be a physio and I feel a great sense of responsibility and honour that I am trusted by the public to help, advise, diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions. Sharing and listening are two great attributes to have as a physio, for many patients an injury or illness can be a critical issue for work and family life and knowing that I can have a positive influence on these gives me a great sense of achievement. Within occupational health we are in a unique place to advise on working life and be the final link in a return to work plan, one recent employee post surgery gave feedback to one of our team members onsite- he praised the interdisciplinary skills and expertise of the physiotherapist in charge: ‘’I needed tailored recovery goals linked to the demanding work that I do, Nuffield Physiotherapy created an environment that allowed for open communication so that I was comfortable in discussing work concerns.’’ He went on: ‘’This allowed for problem solving and alleviated my concerns about re-injury and capacity for work, without the fear and stigma from peers to undertake more than I felt comfortable in doing.’’
How are you supported in your career with us?
Nuffield Health have been amazing with regards to training, especially through our annual CPD budget, Academy Online resources and mandatory training. I am very excited to be partly funded through my Professional Doctorate and hope to pass on the practical skills learnt such as strategy, innovation, HR management and research to the physiotherapy team. Gym membership, health assessments, health insurance and other perks are benefits that few companies can offer. I have also learnt business skills from colleagues within the sales teams, directors and our own automotive partner that few physiotherapists get to experience.
Tell us about being a Physiotherapist in a corporate site?
Working within this corporate environment is challenging, rewarding and unique. More and more large multi-national companies are seeking answers to their challenges of maintaining workers health and wellbeing. The UK will face a major healthcare demand in the future as we live longer due to health innovation and better medical treatments. This ageing population will likely need to stay in work for longer and are more likely to have long-term conditions driven by lifestyle factors. Having more physiotherapists in community, virtual or on-site settings will improve outcomes for these companies and society as a whole.
The professional and personal wellbeing of our staff is important to us, how do you benefit from a work life balance with us?
I feel our team and management give us the confidence and responsibility to take ownership of our own health and wellbeing- whether this involves formal health assessments (like a 360), encouragement for regular physical activity and good nutrition. The working arrangements here encourage flexible working to mirror the shift patterns of the manufacturing staff; we also have remote access through triage or telephone assessments that can be conducted at home. As we work in occupational health the advisors and health surveillance team always remind us of taking regular breaks from the computer and the office! Overall, it is the Nuffield Health culture that ultimately drives and pushes for greater work life balance for the team.