Jess Glass

Current Job: 
Senior physiotherapist at Sport Science Physiotherapy Centre (SSPC)

Previous job(s):

  • Physiotherapist at Debbie Grusd aquatherapy practice
  • Junior physiotherapist at Cathy Chambers physiotherapy and Pilates studio
  • Community service physiotherapist at Manguzi Hospital

About your current job:

How did you obtain your current position?

I started working at SSPC as a locum, in 2012, to cover for one of the associate physios who was consulting at a practice in Franschhoek. The following year I worked three days a week and then eventually was employed full-time.

I have also had the privilege of working with the SA women’s hockey team over the past two years.

What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?

I think being very involved with various sports over the years helps me understand what causes some injuries and I can relate to frustrations with being sidelined from participation.

What are your day-to-day activities?

I assess and treat clients who book to see me; I have to follow up with clients or their parents, doctors, teachers, coaches, etc. on clients’ progress; refer clients’ on to other medical practitioners if needed; consult with colleagues about complicated cases; send emails or make phone calls to clients or doctors.

What are the best and most challenging parts of your job?

The best part is that you never get bored – every client you see is different. Even if five clients have the same injury, each one will differ depending on their age, sport, job, hobbies, etc.

The challenging part is dealing with people (some are lovely, some can be difficult!). On a busy day I will see ten or eleven clients, back-to-back, every 45mins. Physiotherapy work is physically and mentally demanding so by the end of a busy day you are exhausted!

About your time at UCT:

How did your extra-curricular involvement while at UCT add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?

I played first team hockey (indoor and outdoor) during my time at UCT which as I said, helps me understand the demands on sports people and the frustrations that follow an injury. I also coached hockey (a school team and a varsity team) which taught me how to manage different personality types and practice patience and tolerance.

To what extent did you make use of the Careers Service while you were at university?

I did not consult with a Careers Service advisor. Fortunately, with the degree I chose, my career path was clear! I just had to choose which field of physiotherapy I wanted to go into and where I wanted to work.

What many people don’t realise is that physiotherapy is not just about being a physio for the Springboks! There are many different fields of physiotherapy – neurology, respiratory, paediatrics, geriatrics, orthopaedics, animal, aqua-therapy and of course musculoskeletal.

Advice to current students:

How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?

If you are unsure of your understanding in a certain subject, speak to a lecturer and spend some extra time with them chatting about it. We are fortunate enough to have some amazing lecturers at UCT with extensive knowledge and experience so use it!

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?

During your holidays try to shadow different physiotherapists, in different fields, so you can find out where your interests lie.

Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! As a newly qualified physio you are not expected to know everything (but know the basics!) so ask for advice or help rather than misdiagnosing or mistreating a patient.  The medical field is constantly changing and evolving with new treatment techniques being developed so try stay up to date with the latest research in your field.