Physiotherapist Sarah Verity has worked at Bradford Teaching Hospitals since 1994, and now works with amputee patients.

Sarah originally began training as a student nurse in 1984, but had to leave the course before she graduated due to a family emergency.

A decade later, after starting a family, she joined Bradford Teaching Hospitals as a therapy assistant. And in 2000, she made the decision to train as a physio.

Sarah, who lives in Wilsden, has since become a Senior Physiotherapist, and plays a key role in rehabilitating amputee patients treated at our hospitals.

“After qualifying as a Senior Physiotherapist I wanted to specialise in amputees because my granddad was an amputee.

“I now work with the vascular therapy team to improve patients’ mobility and function after vascular surgery, and with patients with prosthetic limbs.

“I absolutely love my job! It’s the best job in the world because the feeling of achievement when you help someone with a false limb walk again when they thought they would never be able to do anything is incredible!

“Often after an amputation people think their life is over. So when you get the opportunity to reverse that and help someone function properly it’s amazing.

Emotional event

“An amputation is a very emotional event so we need to get them home sooner. We talk to them before the operation so that we can get home right when they return after the operation, and we will often get them to meet one of our volunteers who have been through the rehab programme too.”

Working as a physiotherapist requires good communication skills as it’s important to build a good rapport with patients at what can be a difficult time in their lives.

“Patients often feel very vulnerable. We help them to learn how to get out of bed and once they are back at home they come back to us for physio once a week.

“We need to put in as much support as we can for them. Patients can ring us at any time at any time they like, even if they have been discharged.

“We also have a support group called ‘Out on a Limb’, which provides an assistance fund for changes to the home such as ramps and stairlifts for both Bradford and Airedale amputees.”

Sarah added her job was a long way from being ‘all doom and gloom’.

Physiotherapist Sarah Verity

“It’s not always about sadness and misery. If you have had a leg ulcer for many years it dominates your life, so for some people an amputation is a new start and a new life and allows them to go wherever they want. The patient gets a leg that works and it’s our role to teach them how to use it!”

Grandmother-of-three Sarah sees six amputation patients a day for rehab.

“I work in the gym every morning and we teach them how to walk with a prosthesis and give them strengthening and balancing exercises. During their time in the gym they will also have a drink and chat to a volunteer who has already been through the same procedure too.”

Sarah is not interested in working anywhere other than Bradford.

“I was born in Bradford, educated here, and have spent my working life here. I know the people. I want to work her because I like the diverseness of the community. I can be working alongside a Spanish nurse and then with a Lithuanian therapy assistant. I can even say a few words in Urdu, Slovakian and Spanish. Working in Bradford is challenging but it’s important to be able to develop a rapport with people. But that’s why I like it here – there is always a new challenge. It’s never humdrum!

“The people I work with are very dynamic and very caring. I could not work with a better team. And I could not be in any other job that would make me as happy.”