Celebrating our support workers - meet Karen Foster

Karen Foster, a healthcare support worker at WHH. Image shows her from the waist up, turned slightly towards the camera. She is wearing a blue tunic uniform

Published 23 November 2022

Karen Foster swapped from animals to people to pursue a career in the NHS – and hasn’t looked back.

Once a veterinary nurse, she is now on course to become a qualified physiotherapist, and is in her second year of a physiotherapy apprenticeship.

As a therapy support worker at the William Harvey Hospital, she works with outpatients to prepare them for surgery or help them regain mobility afterwards, or carries out treatment plans prepared by qualified physios.

She said: “No day is the same, and no patient is the same – I love the variety of this role.

“I wanted a job that had more career prospects than veterinary nursing, and after doing a degree in sports therapy I was looking around and when I saw the job description for a therapy support worker it sounded perfect.

“It’s a complete mixture, from helping people with arthritis manage their condition, to working in the gym with patients who have had surgery to help them get back to where they want to be.”

Karen can perform therapeutic ultrasound treatments or massage therapy, and works independently or with a qualified physiotherapist.

She said: “Some of my fellow sports therapy students went on to do a masters in physiotherapy but I wanted to be sure that was what I wanted to do before I committed to more study.

“This role has shown me how rewarding it can be so I decided to do the apprenticeship route.

“It is a bit of a juggle to fit in studying as well as working but I get time to attend university and my colleagues are very supportive. I know it will be worth it in the end!”

For more information on the support worker roles available with East Kent Hospitals, visit https://www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/work-here/latest-vacancies/