A physiotherapist works with a variety of patients from varying ages with difficulties resulting from illness, injury, disability or ageing, to improve their movement and ability to carry out every day tasks.
The role involves helping children, the elderly, women before or after pregnancy, stroke patients and athletes in a range of locations from a hospital ward, nursing home, a community setting or a football pitch.
Physiotherapists carry out assessments, develop bespoke plans and treat patients. They provide advice on how to avoid injury, and promote health and wellbeing.
Duties may include:
- Diagnosing, assessing and treating patients’ physical conditions
- Developing treatment programmes
- Organising physical exercise sessions
- Providing massages
- Supervising specialist therapies such as hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and aromatherapy
- Writing patient notes and reports and collect statistics
- Involving and educate parents and carers
- Keeping up to date with the latest professional advancements
- Liaising with other healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses and social workers
Desirable skills and attributes are:
- Be caring, compassionate and professional
- Be legally responsible and accountable
- Good time management
- Ability to build rapport
- Good physical health and fitness
- Interpersonal and teamworking skills
- The ability to work under pressure and manage your time
- A real interest in anatomy and physiology
Qualifications and experience needed:
To practice as a physiotherapist you must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and to achieve this you need to complete an undergraduate or accelerated postgraduate degree course (you will need top GCSE’s and A-levels to get onto the course).
You can also undertake an accredited postgraduate qualification if you already have a 2:1 degree in a biology or sports science subject.
Employers want to see a real interest from you, so it could be useful to get voluntary or paid experience in a health or care setting. You could also try visiting a local physiotherapy department and asking to shadow a physiotherapist to get see if you would enjoy it.
Opportunities for career progression might involve moving into private clinical practice. You may begin by working in different departments and following this initial clinical experience you may choose to specialise in a particular area such as critical care or with a specific group of patients, for example the elderly or children.