Physiotherapist: job description
Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques and therapies in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients who are affected by physical problems caused by illness, disability, injury or ageing.
A structured career path exists within the NHS, and there are also opportunities within the private sector.
Physiotherapists work with a variety of patients including physically disabled children, women before and after giving birth, athletes, 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 therapeutic physical exercise sessions
- providing massages
- using specialist techniques such as electrotherapy and ultrasound
- 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.
- Private/sports clinics
- Nursing homes
- Community centres
- Industrial organisations
- Special schools
- Mental health and learning disability services
- Local and professional sports clubs and centres
Relevant experience gained via voluntary work, placements or through employment as a physiotherapy support worker or assistant is very beneficial. Jobs are advertised on the websites of NHS trusts and on NHS Jobs , on the website of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy , and in specialist publications such as Frontline, Physiotherapy Journal (along with their respective websites).
To qualify as a state registered physiotherapist you will need to take a physiotherapy degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will then need to register with the HCPC.
Full-time physiotherapy degrees typically take three years. There are also some two-year accelerated physiotherapy degrees suitable for those who already have a degree in a relevant subject, such as sports or life science.
To get onto a physiotherapy degree course you usually need two or three A levels, including a biological science and/or PE, along with five GSCE passes including English, maths and at least one science, or equivalent qualifications.
- 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