Birmingham City University Sports Therapy students had a busy Easter, providing support at the National Positive Choices annual conference and London Marathon. Elliott Watkiss, Niall Stubbs and Ben Wakeling shared their views on their experiences.
Positive Choices – 25.04.19
What was the Positive Choices conference?
Niall - The positives choices conference is a yearly event that brings together and celebrates learning disability nurses. This year (2019) was particularly special as it was the 100th year that learning disability nursing was first introduced. There are many events that took part throughout the days such as a Makaton sessions and team building activities.
Elliott - Learning disability healthcare professionals as well as, organisations and employers were present, allowing for networking and sharing of experiences. Nurses travelled from a variety of Universities from South Wales to Sheffield, Wolverhampton and many more.
How did you get involved with the day?
Elliott – We all had the opportunity to volunteer for the day, there were a group of 10 of us providing neck and shoulder massages to the nurses. The student nurses booked up at certain times during the day and dropped in for 20-minute massages. The massage was mostly through clothing and allowed us to use a variety of techniques we have learnt.
How did you find it?
Elliott - The day was very busy for us, with students coming in every 20 minutes. Using a variety of techniques in a different environment was a great experience. We didn’t have much time to sit down as we were fully booked but it allowed us to put our practice into effect.
London Marathon – 28.04.19
What were your expectations of the trip to London Marathon?
Elliott - I was very excited, particularly as I had never been to London before. The London Marathon is such a well-known and special event, it was great to be involved. I was expecting it to be busy and this was evident, especially from 4 until 6pm where we were massaging non-stop.
How did the day work?
Elliott - We travelled down early in the morning at 7.30am from Birmingham by coach, and then caught a tube to Westminster, we then made our way to the QEII where we were based. We were given a briefing by the event organisers for the charity, outlining what we were going to be doing, when the runners would be coming in and how the day would unfold. We patiently waited for the first runner to come in to be greeted by a big round of applause.
Niall - We were paired up to each massage table so we could take it in turns to massage and talk to the runners. The first set of runners started to come in at around 2pm and we didn’t stop massaging until 6pm, we were providing 5-10min massages per runner.
How did you find it?
Elliott – It was a day that I will never forget! It was a huge privilege to work at such a big event and for a great charity. We were very busy, but it was fun and enjoyable nonetheless. It allowed us to practice everything we have learnt during our course so far. It was great talking to the runners and hearing about their stories, particularly why they were running, how many marathons they had done, their training and the support they received from the crowd.
Niall - The time massaging went a lot quicker than I thought as we were always kept busy and talking to new runners on a consistent basis. The atmosphere inside the building was amazing as everyone clapped and cheered as the runners came in.
What was your favourite part?
Elliott - My favourite part was seeing the runners arrive at the room we were based in and receiving a round of applause by the whole room, particularly the first runner that came in. Being part of such a special charity as well, was great as the money raised can help change so many lives. The runners deserved this massage as a thank you for the great work they had done, raising money and of course, running the marathon.
Niall - My favourite part of the London marathon would be talking to the runners and how they had completed their training. Also, seeing all the strange but funny fancy dress outfits that people had worn.
Ben - My favourite part of the day was seeing the smiles and relief on the runners faces as they came through the door to a large applause which made them smile!
How will this help you on your course?
Elliott - My confidence has been significantly improved, mainly due to building a rapport with people who I have never met before.
Ben - This event was very beneficial for my course as it gave me the opportunity to experience and event, where you have to treat people over a long period of time, which I was not used to. Also, treating a large amount of people meant that I was able to experience new things I hadn’t previously dealt with, such as extreme exhaustion. I also gained valuable experience in talking to a wide range of people which has really improved my confidence and communication skills, which I can now use when working in our clinics and in day to day life.
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