June 8, 2020, by Emily Bateman
Alumni Spotlight: Kerstine Herbert
The University of Nottingham alumni community stands at over 280,000 worldwide. Many of these graduates were involved in sport or studied sports-related degrees during their time at Nottingham, and their experiences have had a lasting impact on their careers and personal lives.
As part of our University of Nottingham Sport alumni profile series, we caught up with alumna, Kerstine Herbert (Physiotherapy BSc Hons, 2014), founder of KHPhysiotherapy.
In this blog, Kerstine shares her journey to becoming a physiotherapist and her advice around staying physically and mentally fit during this challenging time.
My Nottingham story
“My first dabble at university was in 1993 at Derby. After that, I applied to join the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and, in 1999, I became a full-time fire fighter. I had my daughter in 2003 and started training for qualifications in sports massage and sport and injury rehabilitation. In 2009, I left the Fire Service to take up a 12-hour shift as a band 2 Rehabilitation Assistant. A huge gamble, but it paid off – I worked up to a band 3, gaining more hours, and started to look at going back to university to study physiotherapy.
“I started at Nottingham in 2011, aged 36 as a single mum of a 7-year-old. It was probably the most stressful time of my life – placements were tough and the quantity of learning was heavy going. Despite this, I loved the course and made it through to graduation.
“After graduating, I worked within a respiratory team, then for a couple of private physio companies doing musculoskeletal (MSK) work and really enjoyed the challenges that MSK brings. However, I found the conveyor belt of physio hard to handle – at one company I was seeing people every 20 mins and I knew I wasn’t offering the service I wanted to.
“I had set up a room at my house, so started seeing my own private patients. Then found my current space and in 2017 I opened my doors. I knew I wanted to offer patients a calm, friendly environment and give them the time to explain their issues without feeling rushed.
“Since 2011, I have been a regular runner (suffering from my fair share of injuries) and this has helped me evolve my business to specialise in running-related injuries. I was able to specialise in something I loved and, due to my life experiences, I can empathise with patients from all walks of life. University gave me a great foundation to become a physio – treating an injury is relatively easy, but treating the whole person is a lot more complicated, and I pride myself on having a holistic approach to physiotherapy.”
“Due to Covid-19, on Friday 20th March 2020 I closed my clinic. The local council has given grants to small businesses, so that has helped me out for the next few months, but it’s been a very upsetting time. I’ve had to quickly bring my business online and started offering virtual assessments, a physio-based workout every morning and a runners conditioning session twice a week to help people stay active during lockdown.
“None of us have ever experienced anything like this virus. Preventing the spread is vital and we can all do our bit by staying at home. NHS staff have always been there quietly doing their duty and I hope after this the government recognises their commitment.
“A few weeks ago, I set my friend, Mark, and I the challenge of doing 21 duathlons. He’s disabled and almost became housebound when the gym shut. I lent him a static bike and we set a goal of running 19km a day for me and cycling for 19 mins for him, raising £400 for the NHS (read more). I also did a 75km run around the local cricket club at the end of my garden, raising another £700 for local charities (read more).”
My words of advice
“Exercise is clinically proven to be beneficial for both mental and physical health. These are stressful times and stress can have devastating effects on even the most robust of individuals. Keeping active is a way of coping with the stress and gives you time outside in the fresh air to clear your head and reset things.
“Seek advice! Now is an ideal time to deal with injuries with no events on the horizon. Go back to basics and work on building a strong foundation – focusing on endurance, range of movement, balance and movement control.
“Focus on your goals – I knew very early on what sort of physio I wanted to be and I knew my life experience brought an added element. A shoulder is just a joint, but it belongs to an individual with fears, stresses, and a history. Focus on what you are passionate about, work hard and learn the basics. The real learning begins when you get your first job.”
Many thanks to Kerstine for sharing her experiences with us. If you’re a Nottingham graduate and you’d like to share your story with our community, contact our Sports and Alumni Relations Officer, Emily Bateman, at Emily.Bateman@nottingham.ac.uk – we’d love to hear from you!
Visit the new online Health and Wellbeing hub from University of Nottingham Sport to access a range of workouts and wellbeing guidance to help you stay fit and healthy from your home.