Rachael Cromar

What was your dream career when you were younger?

I wanted to work in a profession helping disabled children


What subjects did you study at school?

Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, French, Spanish and Modern Studies


Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?

I had a family friend who was a physiotherapist working with disabled children and when I did work experience with her, this inspired me to pursue this career choice. I also spent time in various additional needs schools and this further highlighted to me that I wanted to work in a career helping disabled children.


How have the subjects you studied at school helped you in your career?

Biology was very helpful particularly in first year of university as it gave me a good basic knowledge for many of the topics covered including physiology and pathology. A lot of others on my course had completed advanced higher biology and had actually covered a good bit of the first year course which really helped them in the exams. Studying English helped me a lot with writing coursework at university including my dissertation and within my career as writing notes is a large aspect of my job. Maths helped me develop problem solving skills which again is an essential skill within my role as we need to think on our feet!


Please briefly describe your STEM journey since leaving school.

Physiotherapy Degree. Unfortunately to work within paediatrics you first need two years basic grade experience and therefore initially I worked within a major hospital to go through my basic rotations - this experience enabled me to gain knowledge and skills across a wide range of physiotherapy disciplines and highlighted my interest within surgical/ intensive care/ respiratory. After 2 years I started working at the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments and then worked at the Children’s Hospital in Glasgow. This job wasn’t permanent so I left to get a more secure job in community paediatrics. I really enjoyed working long term with the same children and gained more respiratory experience. I have now been promoted and work across respiratory with adults and children however paediatrics will always have my heart.


What skills do you utilise most in your career? 

Communication, team working, problem solving/clinical reasoning, reflection, peer support/clinical supervision, manual handling.


What advice would you give to any young people considering a STEM career? 

Put yourself forward for as many work/ voluntary experiences you can and speak to as many relevant professionals to help you decide on which career you would like to pursue. Don’t worry if your career is nothing like any of your friends everyone has different skills/personalities/interests. If you aren’t sure what subjects to take keep your options a little more open - for example maths can count as a science so you can then choose another subject that interests you !