Mia Keane’s Bio – Get to Know Our First Work Experience Student


Meet Mia

Hello, my name is Mia Keane and this week I’ll be doing my work experience placement in McGowan Physio. I’m 16 years old and I’m from Dublin.

Hobbies and Talents

I always like to be busy, so as a result I’ve picked up a number of hobbies over the years! In terms of sports and physical activity, my main activities are ballet and hockey. I have been doing ballet and other forms of dance such as modern and jazz since I was 4 years old. In the 12 years I’ve been doing it I have never quit; it is something I enjoy so much that I could not imagine my weekly routine without it. In terms of hockey however, this was not the case.

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I used to despise it in primary school, but over the years, the sport has grown on me. I have made some of my best friends through hockey and since starting secondary school I have experienced the benefits of playing a team sport, such as how to motivate yourself and others and how to become a more reliable person. On a more musical side, I love to play the piano, and this year I’ll do my Grade 8 exam! I like to sing in choirs as well, and listen to different genres and styles of music in my free time. I have been in Irish Girl Guides since I was eight, and I love having a support group outside of school with whom I can camp, go on hikes with and have a cup of tea. And finally, I am an avid member of my school’s Green Schools committee, as I think it is so important to save the environment and to try to inspire people to make a positive change.

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Work Experience at McGowan Physio

I wanted to do my Transition Year work experience in McGowan Physio for a number of reasons. First of all, I have always had a great interest in the area of healthcare, as I think I would suit a job where I could help and talk to people every day. I found out I had scoliosis at the age of 13 and since then I have been a patient of Niamh. Niamh knows everything there is to know in her field and has such a kind and caring nature when dealing with patients, that I began to consider doing physiotherapy in the future, because she is the sort of person I look up to! Furthermore, the atmosphere of McGowan Physio is always so welcoming and positive, so that is another reason why I decided to ask to do my work experience there. I thought it would be a nice environment to work in no matter what I’m doing, and I have to say I was shocked and so happy when I got the placement!

Lots to Learn

I am looking forward to my work experience placement so much, and hopefully I will be able to gain some new knowledge and experience the working world. I would like to learn more about how Niamh and Garett got into doing physio, what they do on a daily basis, how Niamh runs her own business, and about the problems they see and how they treat them. Overall, I would like to gain a better understanding of the world of physio, not just from a patient’s side, in order to see if it is something I should consider for the future or something I should avoid!

As I mentioned earlier, I first came to Niamh when I was 13, over zoom to begin with! I had been going to another physio to get exercises for a persistent sore ankle that I had for a number of years, when one day she pointed out that I had a curve in my spine. I remember crying all the way home as the thought of having scoliosis was just so scary.

However, as soon as I met Niamh, Pat Kiely, Ciarnaid and every other lovely person that I have met throughout my journey, I knew that it was not something to be afraid of, and that I always had supports and a friendly face to look towards! In April 2020, I started the Schroth method of specialized scoliosis physiotherapy with Niamh and looking back I remember having to do maybe 6 exercises times nine every day!

At that stage I still had mild to moderate idiopathic scoliosis, but I was still growing a lot, so it was worth doing that many exercises in order to prevent the curves getting worse. Over the years, the curves got better, and they got worse; at one stage one of the curves reached nearly 40 degrees. However, the exercises worked miracles for me, completely correcting my spine when doing them, and making my prominent ribcage and shoulder blade stick out less. Niamh has even coached me on how to stand in the best way in order to lengthen out my spine in the best way possible!

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In March 2021, I started wearing my Rigo-Chauneû brace 23 hours a day, which I found very challenging, but Niamh was always there to support and guide me and change up my exercises to suit my ever-changing curves. The brace worked wonders for me, and my spine became significantly “straighter” (anyone with scoliosis knows that word can be very misleading with rotation and all!), but I was very happy with the results. From December 2021, I started to wear the brace only at night, and gradually wean off my exercises, as a variety of scans and x-rays showed that I had stopped growing. Niamh helped me to make the transition easily, and even gave me an exercise programme to improve my arm strength in my weaker side due to my curves! As of September 2022, I don’t have to wear my brace anymore, and don’t have to do any exercises; only if my back is sore. I can’t believe how far I’ve come and I’m so glad I have been able to avoid any surgery, and I have to say it’s all thanks to Niamh and all the other amazing people in the scoliosis field in Ireland!

Excited to Start

To conclude, I want to thank Niamh, Niamh and Garett again for agreeing to put up with me for the week for my work experience, and I hope this bio might have inspired some of you to search for a work experience placement in Transition Year in an area you have a great interest in!