What Does a Physiotherapist Do?
A physiotherapist works on helping people to improve their physical health. They work with people who have problems caused by injury, illness, age or disability. They will need to be diagnosed and then treatment needs to be found so that they can be more comfortable and potentially recover. They may use therapeutic exercise, electrotherapy or massage to help patients. They will also advice on how to avoid injury or pain and how to manage conditions that could last a long time. They will work with all ages and all types of people including those that have and a stroke or sports injuries. They may have to make a diagnosis and work together with other health care specialists to give the best help possible. They will have to stay aware of the latest techniques, write up the appropriate paperwork and be kind and compassionate.
You must have registered with the Health & Care Professions Council to be able to practice as a chartered physiotherapist. In order to get this you will need to have an undergraduate degree or accelerated postgraduate degree which they have approved. The degree course lasts three years in England and four years in Scotland and in order to get on it you will need two or three good A-levels including PE and a biological science. At GCSE you will need a minimum of five passes of grade C or above including maths, English language and sciences. To get onto the accelerated postgraduate course you will need a 2:1 in a relevant degree such as psychology, physiology, sports science, behavioural science or biology. For both types of degree there will be a mix of theory and practical training and different course providers have different entry requirements. To do the job though you will need to have good communication skills, team work skills, problem-solving skills, patience, administration skills, encouraging and empathetic approach, and interest in physiology, concern for wellbeing of patients and the ability to manage time well. It is also useful to have work experience and if you do not have this then shadowing a physiotherapist, doing voluntary work in a health care setting or charity voluntary work can be extremely useful.
The salary will depend on whether a physiotherapist works for the NHS or privately. The NHS works in pay bands. A physiotherapist will work between banks 5 and 7 depending on experienced. They will stand in band 5 with pay form £21,909 to £28,462 and then as they become more experienced they could move up to band 6 which is £26,302 to 335,225. The final band is 7 and is reserved for specialists or advanced practitioner which is from £31.383 and £41,272. In London practitioners get paid more and thy may also have help towards the cost of housing. Private sector work is different and has different pay scales. Working hours tend to be 37.5 a week but work may include evenings, weekends and sometimes nights, it will depend on whether they work for the NHS and what their customers need.