Physiotherapist: job description

Physiotherapist: job description

Physiotherapists use a variety of physical techniques and therapies in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients who are suffering from illnesses and/or injuries.
A structured career path exists within the NHS, and there are also opportunities within the private sector.

What does a physiotherapist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Physiotherapists work with a variety of patients including physically disabled children, women before and after giving birth, athletes, industrial employees, patients who are in hospital or attending clinics and people within the community.

Tasks can include:

  • helping patients recover from accident, illness or injury
  • organising physical exercise sessions
  • providing massages
  • supervising specialist therapies such as hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and aromatherapy
  • collecting statistics
  • writing reports
  • liaising with professionals such as doctors and nurses
  • providing education and advice about exercise and movement
  • keeping up to date with the latest advancements in the profession

There are good opportunities for promotion: a structured career path exists within the NHS, and openings commonly occur within the private sector. Alternatively physiotherapists can specialise or move into teaching, research and managerial positions.

Typical employers of physiotherapists

  • Private/sports clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Community centres
  • Charities
  • Industrial organisations
  • Special schools
  • Local and professional sports clubs and centres

Relevant experience gained via voluntary work, placements or through employment as a physiotherapy assistant is very beneficial. Jobs are advertised in national newspapers and specialist publications such as Frontline, Physiotherapy Journal and their respective websites.

Qualifications and training required

To qualify as a state registered physiotherapist you will need an NHS approved physiotherapy degree and registered membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

For non-physiotherapy graduates a degree in life or sports sciences can be helpful as there is strong competition for postgraduate course places.

Key skills for physiotherapists

  • Good time management
  • The ability to build a rapport with patients from a variety of backgrounds and communicate with their relatives and carers
  • Tolerance and patience
  • Good physical health and fitness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamworking skills