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Louise shares positive experiences of physiotherapy career

 Louise Galvin, a clinical specialist physiotherapist with the HSE Kerry Pathfinder Team speaking to a male patient.

“If you like working with people and supporting them towards achieving their own personal health goals, then physiotherapy would certainly be the profession for you,” according to Louise Galvin, a clinical specialist physiotherapist with the HSE Kerry Pathfinder Team.

Pathfinder is a service designed to reduce unnecessary Emergency Department attendance for older people and is currently being provided in nine different areas across the country.

The service was established to safely keep older people who phone 112/999 in their own homes rather than taking them to a hospital emergency department.  It is provided by HSE National Ambulance Service staff working with colleagues from acute hospitals and improves outcomes for older people by providing safe alternative care at home.

Pathfinder Rapid Response Team

The Pathfinder Rapid Response Team respond to 999/112 calls for older people (65 years and older) in their homes. This may be someone, who for example, has experienced a fall or who is generally unwell.  The older person is assessed by both an Advanced Paramedic and physiotherapist/occupational therapist.

Pathfinder also operates a follow-up team (physiotherapy and occupational therapy) which provides immediate home-based rehabilitation, equipment provision and case management in the subsequent days following the 999/112 call.

Louise has a very important role within the Kerry Pathfinder Team, and, reflecting on her career to date, she strongly urges anyone looking at a career in the health arena to consider physiotherapy:

“I enjoy working with people, trying to help them in terms of their own personal health goals. On top of that I guess, personally, I always had an interest in being fit and in exercise. I like the idea of physiotherapy because that seems to work with a lot of those goals as well.”

Louise outlines how she has “worked across a number of areas in the health service.  I’ve worked in primary care services and I’ve also worked in acute services.  I’ve had the experience of working in urban areas and indeed in rural areas where I am now down here in Kerry.  So I certainly have a breadth of experience that would be reflective of the physiotherapy community in the HSE.”

Reflecting on what she likes most about her work and role, she notes that “there is a lot of variety within the role.  You can work in the community or you can be part of a large acute hospital.”

Outside of work, Louise plays with the Kerry Ladies Gaelic Football team, explaining how this can be “quite demanding in terms of my time, but I find it marries well with being a physiotherapist in the HSE.  In order to find balance, I know I have to make sure I am well-organised.  And of course, like any athlete, I have to look after my sleep and my rest and my nutrition.  And when I go to work, I also obviously ensure that work is my entire focus at that time.”

She continues:

“I find that working in the health service gives you a lot of perspective.  Sometimes you might be suffering from an injury or be experiencing poor form or a loss.  I might be feeling a bit down in myself, but if you are coming into a healthcare setting, you’re not long pulling yourself together as there’s always someone who is in need.”

Patient Michael Cunnane from Tralee, Co Kerry, who availed of the Kerry Pathfinder service in late 2023 and was able to stay at home rather than having to go to the Emergency Department in University Hospital Kerry, praised the team describing it as a “wonderful service with very experienced staff,” adding that the “follow-up service was excellent as well.”

In conclusion, Louise notes that “if you like working with people and like teamwork, then physiotherapy would certainly be the profession for you.”

Watch Louise talk about her career on YouTube