Hometown: Dublin, Ireland


About You

My undergraduate was a BSc. Science where I majored in Zoology. After completing this course I instantly knew that I had no intention of furthering my career in zoology - working in isolated laboratory conditions or outdoor environmental assessments were not appealing to me at all. I began working as a merchandiser for Debenhams, it was during this time I realised how I missed science but I also wanted to working with people. Physiotherapy was actually quite relevant to my undergraduate, I had studied bipedalism and the evolution of man extensively, human anatomy and physiology fascinated me. I was also a voluntary Boccia teacher in a local hospital where I worked with a group of individuals in wheelchairs, I enjoyed motivating them to participate and engaging with the diverse range of characters.

I applied for the MSc in Physiotherapy at QMU as I felt I was capable of the accelerated course and I was willing to keep my head down for the duration of the course. Edinburgh always had cheap flights to Dublin, so I continued to fly home monthly which was great.


"...in my final two placements I felt more competent as a Physiotherapist and my confidence grew, when this happened I realised how passionate I was about the work and I felt reassured I was working in the right career."
Aileen D'Arcy

The Course

The course offered me the chance to focus on an area of physiotherapy through my dissertation which is specific and specialised. I choose the topic which was relevant to the area in physiotherapy I wanted to continue working in. I organised my elective placement in the same sector of physiotherapy. Once the placement was complete, the physiotherapists were happy for me to continue working with them on a voluntary basis, which resulted in my job. I’m lucky in a way as I knew that I wanted to work in a certain area, the placement I was working in offered me the opportunity to upskill and continue working with them. This resulted in me coming top of the panel for that job, which I’m delighted to say is my dream job.

The work load was tough in the first year but the second year wasn’t as intense. I really enjoyed the subjects so I didn’t mind putting in the work. I think the MSc. Physiotherapy give you the chance to tailor your qualification at the end by choosing your final placement and your dissertation topic. The main obstacle I encountered was disliking a placement: I began to worry that if I wasn’t enjoying placements, this could potentially result in career dissatisfaction as a physiotherapist. However in my final two placements I felt more competent as a physiotherapist and my confidence grew. When this happened I realised how passionate I was about the work and I felt reassured I was working in the right career. 

Life after Graduation

Following completion of my final placement, I continued to work as a volunteer physiotherapist. As mentioned above I covered this area of physiotherapy in my research project, this gave me the opportunity to present my dissertation to the physiotherapy department. The organisation was very impressed with my knowledge of recent literature and my dedication to working in this area, this resulted in me performing well at the interview for this job and being awarded with a great post. I’ve also been offered other jobs and I’ve made my way onto the HSE panel.

If I were to advise someone beginning the Physiotherapy course, I would ensure they accept how broad physiotherapy is and that certain areas may appeal to you more than others. I would also advise students to research their dissertation topic before deciding on it and try to link it in with your elective (final) placement.

Story published 2016-2017


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