Rachel Martin


Determined to overcome her challenges, Rachel Martin, from Great Barr, has successfully pursued her dream career in healthcare despite her vision being impaired because of retinoblastoma – a rare type of eye cancer.

Rachel Martin, a 35-year-old physiotherapist in pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation, has been working at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH) for the past twelve years. Rachel’s main responsibility is to help patients, who have problems with their pelvic floor muscle, to regain the strength of their muscles and therefore avoid further complications in the future.

Rachel became interested in pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation when she saw how effective treatment made such an impact on patients’ lives. She said:

“Since pelvic floor dysfunction is a sensitive topic, many patients feel very emotional when visiting the clinic. However, enabling patients to share their concerns and empowering them to begin to address their individual problems make my job so rewarding.”

Rachel is particularly proud of the service that the Trust is providing. She said the Trust provides a service that is easily accessible to members of the public. Patients can also self-refer themselves to the service by giving them a call via the number 0121 507 2664 to book an appointment with the Pelvic Floor Muscle/Continence clinic. The clinic establishes strong connections with GPs, nurses and local health communities to ensure that information about the service is widely known and patients can easily find help that they need.  Issues which can be helped include female and male incontinence affecting any age group from 18 years+, pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain and painful sexual intercourse.

Explaining why she wanted to become a physiotherapist, Rachel said:

“When I was a child, I always knew that I wanted to become a healthcare professional. However, my impaired vision was quite a huge barrier for a career in healthcare.  Fortunately, when I was being treated for my chest infection when I was young, I had the opportunity to be cared for by an excellent physiotherapist, who inspired me to follow in her steps. I then took a degree in Physiotherapy to qualify as a physiotherapist.

“It is challenging to grow up with a permanent health condition, but I have tried my best not to let it hold me back. I think if there is a will, there is always a way and that is why I always try to succeed. I guess that attitude has guided me to going through my brain tumour surgery in 2012 and recovering from breast cancer in 2013. Living through these critical moments, I have learned to stop worrying about the future and start appreciating every day with my two children and my husband.”

Rachel’s heroes include a number of people, who have made so much difference to her life. Rachel said:

“When I went through treatment for breast cancer, I received excellent care from a number of clinical teams at SWBH, including the Plastic Surgery Department, the Breast Unit and the Oncology team.  They are my true heroes. They made my journey much easier and I am proud of the work that they do every day, and that I work for the same caring Trust.“

Speaking about her plans for the future, Rachel was excited about her intention to promote the clinic more widely and encourage patients to attend.

Outside work, Rachel enjoys spending her time with her family. Home is the centre of her life.  She loves experiencing the world through the perspectives of her children as they inspire her to live more fully. Her family’s support has been the main source of energy that gets her through her obstacles in life.