Physiotherapist jobs(Also known as Physical Therapist)
Physiotherapists treat patients suffering from musculo-skeletal disorders caused by disease, ageing or injury. Physiotherapists treat patients with physical disorders. As this encompasses a huge range of illnesses and patient types, Physiotherapists tend to specialise in one of a number of particular areas. These range from very specialised Chest Physiotherapy where the build up of secretions are removed from the lungs of those suffering from pulmonary disorders such a cystic fibrosis, to Sport Physiotherapy which treats injuries incurred while engaging in sport. The main tools of the trade are the techniques that a Physiotherapist learns during his training. Soft-tissue manipulation, massage, joint release, acupuncture, movement re-education and stretching are all applied on a case by case basis, depending on the patient in question. In terms of specialist equipment, T.E.N.S. machines and ultrasound are the most common, used to release fibrous knots of scar tissue deep within the muscle and reduce harmful inflammation in joints. For increased mobility various types of traction can be applied to the neck, back and limbs. Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture is a relatively new practice used in the management of pain and inflammation.
- A recently qualified Physiotherapist working for the NHS can expect to start on a salary of around £19,000 to £24,000.
- Physiotherapists working in busy private clinics as specialists, and commonly Sports Physiotherapists, earn around £26,000 - £38,000 per annum.
- Highly qualified specialists and team leaders can earn up to £52,000 per annum.
ResponsibilitiesA Physiotherapist's daily tasks may include any or all of the following:
- Meeting patients and making a clinical assessment based on a combination of factors such as range of movements, age, case-history, patient feedback and response to specialist assessment techniques.
- Treating patients using a variety of specific techniques such as join manipulation and soft tissue massage.
- Educating patients as to beneficial exercises to be performed in their own time.
- Teaching patients how to use movement aids such as callipers and walking sticks.
- Writing up detailed notes for the purposes of handover to other specialists or GPs and keeping patients' records up to date.
- Using specialist equipment such as T.E.N.S. machines to treat patient symptoms.
QualificationsIn order to work as a Physiotherapist in the UK you must complete an HPC (Health Professions Council) accredited three or four year university based degree leading to a BSc in Physiotherapy. You will need at least five GCSE grades A to C including Maths, English and science subjects and a minimum of four AS or three A levels at grade C or above, including biological science. Once graduated from university you are free to register with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.
SkillsPhysiotherapists work primarily with sick people in need of care, and as such there is a special set of personal attributes that are required to do the job. Things that will set you in good stead are:
- A genuine desire to help other people.
- A patient and understanding nature.
- Ability to connect with a huge range of people, from the elderly to children, the very sick and the mentally ill.
- Hands-on approach to solving problems.
- Good standard of personal fitness - manual work is the backbone of a Physiotherapist's job.
- A vested interest in human anatomy and sports science.
Working ConditionsThe elderly, children, those with learning difficulties and particular syndromes or diseases all exhibit a different set of problems and require a different approach to rehabilitation and care. As such a Physiotherapist works in a range of settings including hospitals and private clinics. Whatever the setting, NHS hospital, or private clinic, a Physiotherapist will operate from a treatment room. A Physiotherapist's treatment room will almost always contain a desk for taking notes and performing administrative tasks and a couch, or table for patients to lie or sit upon during treatment. Treatment tables are portable and available in lightweight models to allow for treatment in the community, at sporting events etc. The hours worked are usually based on a shift rotation with an early shift, perhaps 7am - 3pm and a late shift 12 noon - 8pm in order to see patients who work full time.
ExperienceAny experience you can get working with the elderly or needy, in charity placements for example, will help in your university application. It would also give you a taste of working with dependant individuals and whether or not you may find that a rewarding career choice.
EmployersThe NHS is the single biggest employer of Physiotherapists in the UK. After this the private health care sector including private clinics, sports centres and sports clinics employ many Physiotherapists.
Career ProgressionApart from university graduates, Physiotherapy Assistants can complete further training to become fully qualified Physiotherapists. There is also the option to do a conversion degree for graduates holding a high 2:1 in another biological sciences discipline. Throughout their careers all Physiotherapists are expected to keep up to date on the latest advances in Sports Science and medicine as part of their CPD - Continuing Personal Development. Experienced Physiotherapists can earn more money by taking on greater levels of responsibility and becoming team leaders or moving into managerial positions. Alternatively investing in the ownership or part-ownership of a private clinic could be a route to higher income.
Kim Saha, 29 years old, is a Chartered Physiotherapist currently working in a private sports clinic. She also works part-time on an appointment basis with the UK Olympic track and field athletes. While studying at University Kim competed in the pole vault at national level. Kim has been working as a Physiotherapist for 8 years.