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Mum’s career change after son is diagnosed with cerebral palsy

20 July 2015

Rachel Atkinson

Ellen Welsby swaps role as a dental nurse for a physiotherapist because of care given to Thomas

A Bolton mother who was inspired to change career path after seeing the care her disabled son received has graduated with a physiotherapy degree from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Ellen Welsby’s seven-year-old son Thomas suffers from cerebral palsy and requires regular care and support from medical professionals. It was this first-hand experience which made her swap from a life as a dental nurse to a physiotherapist.

The former Bolton Community College student said: “It was my son's care that first sparked my interest in physiotherapy. It was seeing the positive effects that his treatment had on his quality of life which inspired me to want to do the same for others.

“I have always enjoyed working with people as I previously working as a dental nurse in a local practice but as soon as my son was old enough to begin full-time education I decided it was time to enrol on the college access course which would enable me to apply to do a physiotherapy degree." 

“It was seeing the positive effects that his treatment had on his quality of life which inspired me to want to do the same for others.”

Ellen donned her academic cap and gown this week and took to the stage of Preston’s Guild Hall to receive her 2:1 degree.

The 27-year-old said: “I feel over the moon to be graduating and I’m very proud of myself. Caring for Thomas means it’s been somewhat difficult at times to keep up with my studies but I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and my tutors. They’ve been really understanding.”

She added: “The thing I have enjoyed the most is the opportunity to learn in a practical way, spending time with real patients and staff in a variety of clinical settings has really prepared me to do my job well.”

Now she is very excited to be starting her new chapter in her working life as she has secured a physiotherapist position for East Lancashire Health Trust.