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Maeve Butler

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy

The course for me 

"I worked as a massage therapist for the best part of the last decade and through that, I got really interested in how people manifest not only physical symptoms, but also psychological symptoms through their body. 

"I got quite frustrated with my limited abilities as a massage therapist so for me, physiotherapy was a very natural progression. 

"Physiotherapists now work in this realm where they can cross over into so many different things, not just rehabilitation and musculoskeletal. There are things like cardiopulmonary and mental health now - they just seem to be able to sit on that cusp of being able to help a broad spectrum of people with a broad range of difficulties."

Choosing Bradford

"First of all, what attracted me to Bradford was its excellent facilities. It's really quite prestigious in physiotherapy circles as a training ground but there are also things within the modules that incorporate the more holistic side of healthcare and look at things such as why work in the NHS, why we've come up with the 'six C's' and how to approach people who have broad spectrum complex problems like depression, mental illness and addiction.

"Generally, our teaching is divided into lectures where you're taught the theory side of things and then the same day we will have practical sessions where we compound and practice those theories that were taught to us. There isn't a week that goes by without a heavy practical element."

A different route

"I first came to the north from Essex about 10 years ago. I did my first degree which was Ancient History at Leeds. That was great, I don't regret that degree at all, but I finished it not really knowing what to do with myself.

"At that point, my employers were offering certain employees the ability to get trained up in massage so I took that course and I began working in spas, which was great. It was a stable job and I enjoyed that a lot but after a while, I did realise that I wanted to progress and there wasn't really room for career progression in the company, so I started looking at access courses.

"I looked at Leeds City College and did the evening access course for Health and Medical Sciences which was really good and then I started looking at universities nearby that were offering Physiotherapy.

"Bradford were far and away the best response - I got the best feel about it and the rest is history."

Maeve Butler, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
"I've found it really nice to get back into education. It's very different studying sciences and it's a more practical degree compared to a humanities one. There are more contact hours and there's a lot more work you have to put in from the off, but I do feel like my first degree gave me good preparation."

Adjusting back

"I'm really liking being back in education again. When you've been in the world of work and you've had to earn a living to survive, it can feel quite frightening in some ways coming back into education because you're aware that you're in this degree for a reason.

"You want to come out the other end of it enhancing your career and your skills and moving into a better job, so there is so much investment you've got to put into this."

Support for me 

"I already knew that Bradford's pastoral care was reputed to be quite high and coming in from a history of poor mental health and mental health problems, I knew that was going to be important for me. 

"Some of the responses I got from other universities were quite rude or they just didn't reply at all, which is never a good thing when you're anxious.

"I couldn't make it to some of the Open Days because of my work schedule so Caroline Priestley from the Recruitment Team said 'pick a day that's good for you and I'll see if I'm free and we can go on a campus tour.' She basically made a little Open Day just for me which was just wonderful.

"I also found out I was pregnant at the beginning of the year. That's obviously a big thing for a student to find out. There were a lot of questions that came up and I looked online and found that the University has a policy for students who find themselves pregnant.

"The policy is very accommodating and modern in its outlook and is very focused on providing whatever support that student may need, whether it's to take a year out, suspend their studies or carry on studying whilst providing childcare."

It feels like everyone wants you to succeed and everyone wants you to be the best that you can be. It's not like they're trying to hold your hand through the whole thing, but they will still do whatever they can do to get the best out of you.

This is Bradford

...this is where I grow

It’s a big thing (to come back into education). There is so much of a focus these days on ‘don’t rock the boat’ and if you’ve got a good deal somewhere, don’t risk it or put that into jeopardy by going back into education. Whilst I could’ve probably trundled away quite happily in my job for ever and ever, I know at some point it would have probably drove me absolutely nuts and it was already sort of starting to.

I’m really lucky in that my mum didn’t start university until she was 35, so I was already five when she started. She then went on to do two Master’s and a PhD and has lived in academia ever since and found some really rewarding work in that time. There is so much opportunity nowadays to make things work around your life.

Right now, I see myself going into a mental healthcare setting, whether that’s working at a specialist hospital or specialist clinic. I potentially see myself looking to work abroad in somewhere like Canada or New Zealand. Ireland has some really interesting trauma centres and trauma clinics, so I could certainly see myself abroad.

Maeve Butler, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy