BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy
Help patients back to optimal levels of fitness with this SST-accredited degree. Learn from clinically active staff and gain real-world experience with placements in a range of settings.
BSc (Hons) Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science
I am a health and wellbeing coach for the non-profit organisation Help and Care, which works in partnership with the NHS to deliver free health services to the public.
My job is to help clients suffering from chronic health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and arthritis, to self-manage their conditions and take more control of their lives. I help clients identify what is important to them and facilitate setting SMART targets, which can vary from person to person. Examples include eating more vegetables, or becoming more active.
The role encompasses a person-centred approach, which is the concept of the client having control over their healthcare decisions, a vision that is growing in the current health climate. Therefore, there will be a continued push for social prescribing roles such as mine, as the NHS looks for more cost-effective ways of providing healthcare, one of which is patient self-management.
My understanding of ‘motivational interviewing’ – which I learned during the Public Health and Health Promotion modules at university – helped me to secure my current job because my employers needed somebody who understood that clients already have the solutions to their problems and just need help discovering what they are. The fantastic in-house initiatives – such as Solent Nutrition and the exercise rehabilitation scheme – gave me this experience, so when I was interviewed for my job, I really did feel that I was the complete package and interviewed with confidence.
It's not just the content learned during my course that helped me get a job, but also my new ability to identify valid information from invalid. We live in a world where anybody can be anybody on social media, for example, without there being any regulation of their content. Solent University taught me to identify which individuals and organisations are to be trusted, so that we can direct clients to the right services and information that is most suitable for them.
Solent is a very modern and friendly place to study, with a real focus on employability, alongside academic success. My lecturers were always approachable and encouraged a critical eye, which made our relationships interesting and fun. Southampton as a city is great because almost everything is in walking distance. There is a vibrant city centre with buzzing nightlife, while only being a short walk from green spaces such as the parks and the common.
My advice to anyone considering a career in healthcare is to listen. The people we work with really do have their own solutions; and although we may know everything there is to know about diet, exercise and lifestyle, this will only be useful if it applies to their specific situation, which we will only understand if we listen to their story!
I now plan to gain more experience and pursue a career in public health by gathering a portfolio of evidence in order to become a registered public health practitioner with the UKPHR. I’m excited about my future and have my Solent health, nutrition and exercise science course to thank for getting me off to a great start.