Laura Flaxman, 2008

Laura Flaxman (2008) left The Abbey to study Physiotherapy at St George’s Hospital, London.

  1. When did you leave The Abbey and what are you doing now?

I left The Abbey in summer 2008 after completing my A levels. I went to study Physiotherapy at St Georges University, London and have now been a qualified Physiotherapist for nearly 10 years. Clinically, 

I am a Highly Specialist Paediatric Respiratory Physiotherapist at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. The Evelina is part of Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust which is one of the largest NHS trusts in the country and regularly regarded as one of the best. 

In my clinical role I treat children (from birth to aged 16) with a variety of acute respiratory, cardiac and neurological conditions, primarily in children’s intensive care. 

Working in intensive care has been a little different this last year – we have been wearing additional PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect us from COVID-19 and having specialised in children’s care for the last 7 years, I have had to treat adults again, as the Children’s Hospital made space for unwell adults as our two adult hospitals were so overwhelmed. 

I am currently on a non-clinical secondment, working within the hospital’s Service Improvement Team. My role is very varied, from coaching and advising clinicians on how to make small changes to their service to improve efficiency and utilise their time to treat more patients, to working with the transformation team, planning a new hospital building and modelling how our services should look in the future. 

Whilst on secondment, I have periodically returned to intensive care to assist with the COVID-19 response, but as the number of patients critically unwell in hospital reduces, the Service Improvement Team are now able focus on the future; how we return to a pre-pandemic state and how we ensure all those who have had appointments and operations cancelled are seen, and receive the care they need. The pandemic has also in some ways catapulted the NHS forward a few years, in terms of utilising virtual appointments and meetings. 

It is a really exciting time to work in hospital transformation, and I look forward to the next few years of recovery post-pandemic and the improvement of the services we provide.  


  1. What do you miss the most about The Abbey?

I miss seeing my friends on a daily basis. I am incredibly lucky that some of my Abbey friends are still some of my closest friends today, despite us leaving nearly 13 years ago! I also miss participating in so much sport. 

I was Sports Captain in Sixth Form and until about five years ago I was still competing in trampolining at a national level. Being in the schools trampoline and gymnastic squads allowed me to socialise with other students in different year groups, which was a huge added bonus of being in a sports squad. 


  1. What would you say is your biggest achievement? 

For me, my biggest personal achievement was getting my first senior physiotherapy role working in paediatrics. I knew that I wanted to be a paediatric physiotherapist since I was at school, so when I was successful in this role I felt that I had accomplished what I had been working towards for so long. 

However, this was now over seven years ago. It is really important to set yourself goals, but to then set new goals to keep challenging yourself.


  1. What advice would you give to current students? 

I feel very passionate that medicine is not the only healthcare career. Whilst I was at The Abbey medicine was spoken about a lot but I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor. 

I found it hard to gain solid career advice, and I also had no idea that a physiotherapy career could result in my current role, working completely non-clinically, advising staff on improving their services and working on such large scale hospital transformation programmes. 

I would advise anyone who is interested in healthcare to challenge the status quo, and research other career pathways, as there are just so many. 

The Abbey’s alumnae network provides you with a wealth of experience at your fingertips, and you should take any opportunity available to you to discuss potential career options.