A physiotherapist has landed a job on the same ward at the hospital where she was treated as a child 20 years ago.
Lauren Culley, 22, spent much of her life between the ages of two and 16 years old at Ipswich Hospital after she was diagnosed with hip problems and juvenile arthritis.
Throughout her childhood, Lauren would visit the hospital on a weekly basis for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments.
Lauren said: “It’s a dream come true really, it was so nice so see everybody again.
“I first started coming when I was two years old with congenital dislocation of the hip, CDH.
“When I was seven, I came back with several admissions I had juvenile arthritis, it was quite a tense time for my parents because it was so serious.
“I had quite a lot of time off from school, the doctors were finding it very difficult to control the problems surrounding my arthritis because some medicines weren’t working.
“I would really look forward to going in and seeing the staff at the hospital, because they would try to make the exercises really fun for me.
“All my physio was done at Ipswich, I had hydrotherapy weekly and sometimes physio would be weekly too, for several years until I was 16.
“The staff at the hospital were the best part of what was a dark time for me.”
Lauren completed a university placement year at Ipswich University, where she was randomly allocated during her Physiotherapy degree.
In September this year, she started working back at Ipswich hospital full time.
She said: “I was a student physio and got placed here totally coincidentally, I turned up here and I was like, “Oh my god I know everyone!”
“It’s so lovely to be back and to be on the other end and to give patients the positive experience that I had.
“It was a bit strange when I first came in and I didn’t know if they’d recognise me, but some of them said they did.
“It’s great to have the experience of knowing what it’s like to have physio all the time, I guess I’m just lucky to have to have gone through what it’s actually like.
“With all the time I was having off school, I never thought I would be a physiotherapist, it just shows what you can do.
“The staff here have definitely been my role-models, they’re all so inspiring and knowledgeable- I’d look forward to going to see them when I was younger.
“I just want to give those positive experiences that I had to other people.
“It’s definitely such a family atmosphere, everyone is so tight knit and and would all help each other out.
“I’m just lucky I guess to enjoy my job, I look forward to coming in!”
Senior physiotherapist Charlie Martin, who helped nurse Lauren as a child at Ipswich Hospital said: “We knew Lauren was training to be a physio and were really pleased when she qualified.
“Her success is testament to her drive and determination. She is a real inspiration.”
Lauren, from Ipswich, says that she has no plans to move hospital and is aiming to progress and develop in her experience and be a specialist in her field.