What is it really like to work in a dual role?
Alongside our physiotherapy work, we also deliver health assessment services on behalf of the government and local authorities.
In one of our dual roles, some days you will be working as a Physiotherapist and other days as a Disability or Functional Assessor carrying out health assessments.
This is a unique opportunity to grow and develop clinical knowledge and skills, particularly in relation to complex conditions, assessment, and communication techniques.
To find out more about what it is like working in a dual role, we caught up with Tahira Batool, Physiotherapist and Disability Assessor, who gives us a glimpse into her working week.
How is your week split up between your roles?
My week is split between treating MSK physiotherapy patients in clinic and holding consultations over the phone with people who are applying for the Personal Independence Payment.
Currently, I am in full-time employment, working three days as a Physiotherapist in clinic and two days as a Disability Assessor at home.
What is your patient caseload like as a Physiotherapist?
My patient caseload is really varied, and every day is different. The patients that I see could have been referred to us for treatment through a Private Medical Insurance (PMI) provider like Vitality, AXA, HCML or BUPA, private patients via a digital app such as Patient Access or myGP, the NHS, or a legal agency as part of an accident or insurance claim. I also treat self-funded patients who have found us online and booked their own treatment through our website.
I see a lot of sporting and work-related injuries on a more regular basis, especially since the pandemic as people have had a change of workstation and taken on new hobbies.
What does a typical day look like in your role as a Physiotherapist?
I start my working day by switching on my computer and reviewing my diary and patient caseload. Through Ascenti’s in-house workflow and patient management system, I look over my patient’s details that they provided via a digital triage questionnaire that they complete when booking their appointment, or the patient’s previous notes if they are already in treatment.
When treating my patients, I utilise high-quality neuromusculoskeletal assessment skills to develop evidence-based and highly effective treatment and management plans.
I also use our rehabilitation app, Ascenti Physio, to prescribe my patients with online resources and home exercise and management programs.
What does your role involve as a Disability Assessor?
As a Disability Assessor I hold assessments over the phone with claimants.
The assessment includes a thorough functional medical assessment of their disability or condition, followed by me producing a comprehensive and impartial evidence-based report for each case and individual, enabling the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to make informed decisions about the support needed in each case.
What does a typical day look like in your role as a Disability Assessor?
Like my physiotherapy day, I start by switching on my computer and reviewing my diary and claimant cases, including their conditions, previous notes and any other information that will support the assessment.
I then speak with claimants over the phone as part of an assessment. I will speak to a variety of people presenting with a range of complex conditions including physical, mental health, cognitive and sensory impairments. I conduct a thorough functional medical assessment of their disability or condition using good communication skills to learn more about how their disability affects them in their day-to-day life. I then write up a comprehensive and impartial evidence-based report for each individual case.
I make sure that the written reports are high quality, fair and accurate, enabling the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to make informed decisions about the support needed in each case. We do not make the final decision on the outcome of the claimant’s benefit, but it’s important that we play a part in ensuring a fair and representative report.
What support do you receive in both roles?
Ascenti has award-winning clinical development resources, including an online training platform, to elevate my knowledge and stay on top of best practice.
I have a support network for both roles, where we can collaborate and learn from complex cases and aim to advance my practice in both areas.
There are opportunities to attend regular online and offline courses and events that contribute to my development as a practitioner, and I keep up-to-date records of my CPD achievements.
I work with my mentor and manager to plan clinical development and annual goals as a physiotherapist, enabling me to progress through the banding structure.
Are there any transferable skills between each role?
For both roles you need good IT skills and computer literacy, excellent verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to work autonomously as a healthcare professional.
You need to have a positive, empathetic, and professional manner when dealing with patients and claimants.
Having a sound understanding of safety and legal obligations, including patient rights and consent, is very important in both areas.
What are the challenges of working in a dual role?
Working in a dual role is demanding both physically and mentally. Rehabilitative work and working with sensitive cases require a lot of patience.
Occasionally it can be challenging when holding consultations as we must finish the reports on the same day, so effective time management is key. Fortunately, the managers in both roles are very cooperative and they provide me with full support to help me maintain a good work-life balance.
What do you enjoy most about working in a dual role?
Being a physiotherapist is an active job, as I sometimes need to demonstrate certain stretches and exercises to my patients and workout alongside them which I really enjoy.
It also gives me a vast range of hands-on experience, giving me a chance to learn what methods work best for different client needs.
My day-to-day workload includes guiding patients on their road to recovery and helping injured patients returning to their normal lifestyle which gives me job satisfaction.
Working as a Disability Assessor I get to learn more about various other medical conditions apart from musculoskeletal conditions. This enhances my assessment skills and clinical knowledge which I really like about this role.
Salaries and time commitments can vary all over the medical field, but those who are looking to work in a dual role are in luck with a great salary package and work-life balance.