What on earth am I doing here…?
My name is Lee and I’m currently studying for me MSc in Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy (MACP) at Cardiff University. I have kindly been asked to add some of my thoughts (candid or otherwise) to the MACP blog about my learning experiences.
Things you may like to know; I’m a mature student, ex-Army and have not long been a Physiotherapist. I graduated in 2010, completed my B5 rotations then after 16 months was a B6 at the same time working in private practice in SE London.
I have since moved to Bristol, in the process of buying a house, moved twice in the space of 3 months, had a baby (not me obviously) and set up my own business. Now I’ve decide to go back to school, some may say brave, mental, silly and a glutton for punishment. Whatever the word/saying is I’m just looking forward to the journey, the learning process and to see what it takes to become one of over 1100 members in the MACP.
I’m not sure if it has dawned on me yet what it takes to pass this course and become a member of the MACP. We had a lecture the other day and I was reading a piece on M-level learning and I know now that there is a big leap from undergraduate level. I had realised there was a difference but maybe not just how big it was. In fact it’s not so much the gulf it’s the fact that you’re kinda on your own. What I mean by that is you are in essence spoon fed to an extent at BSc but here you’re expected to be so much more, have your own opinions, formulate your own thinking, critically analyse and evaluate what you read and work out if it is worth reading some more. Then you are asked to work with minimum supervision, develop better oral and written skills and pay for the pleasure!
This is all before you work out your Personal Develop Planning (PDP) this includes Identification of training needs and you do this with a skills assessment, you have to manage your expectations for the year, then you reflect and record your progress in a folder, online or any other way you can get it all down as a document for you to add and recall whenever you need.
Just a quote from one of the documents that I read
Learning to think critically is considered to be one of the most significant activities of adult life. Brookfield (1987) defines critical thinking as ‘calling into question the assumptions that underlie our customary ways of thinking and acting and then being ready to think and act differently on the basis of this critical questioning’.
Hands up if you understood that? Hmm…not many! Why can’t they just write normally…I tried to look at this book but it was taken aback by the wash of information that comes up when you Google search the said author? Whatever model you choose to base your critical thinking process on whether it be Brookfield (1987), Norris and Ennis (1989) again a 5 phase model or ‘set of abilities’, Bullen (1998) four phases or Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2001) ‘Community of Enquiry’ (what?) it is plain to me that everyone has an opinion or a method that you can follow to really evaluate what it is your thinking and questioning.
There is going to be a point in the very near future that this whole process will be defined. I know that it will click, the penny will drop and I’ll ‘just get it’. It hasn’t happened yet and it’s not supposed to. I asked a tutor the other day “is it normal to feel like I haven’t a clue what’s going on?” reply “yes” and I said “I’m glad about that, as I thought it was just me!”
I mean at the minute I’m thinking about my research topic, nothing coming out and biting me on the backside as yet. Something on the shoulder perhaps, comparing two devices for measuring ROM or improving scapula muscle function through improved thoracic mobility (got to be on normal’s though)…oh I don’t know. Suggestions on a post card please!
So “Why am I here?” well if I could give you a straight answer to that then I’d be a much better critically thinker than I am right now, then I would give you a different answer based on this critical questioning.
What I do know is that an MSc is hard; if it wasn’t then everybody would do it. They are expensive and like black holes consume everything (nearly), they test your patience and sanity. So on day one I wrote on the top of my pad “what is the goal?” well I want to be the best clinician I can be not just for me but for my patients. I want to work alongside good, experienced clinicians and learn as much as I can. Develop myself and contribute to the profession at large, be a clinical specialist.
When I achieve that then I’ll know exactly why I’m here…
Remember, every day is a school day.