what is a physiotherapist?

When you are a physiotherapist, you apply various techniques to treat injuries, disorders and diseases. Unlike a doctor who administers medicine and injection, you use physical methods to achieve your goals. Some of the techniques include exercise, massage and manipulation. You aim to improve a person's quality of life after an injury or disease. In some cases, techniques can successfully restore movement, but a physiotherapist also helps ease the pain and effect of dysfunction for permanent injuries.

what does a physiotherapist do?

Aside from working in hospitals, a physiotherapist also assists athletes and sportspeople by helping them through injuries. Physiotherapy is crucial for people of all ages with a range of health conditions. For instance, as a physiotherapist, you can help people with back, neck or shoulder pains to find ways to reduce the pain or exercise to improve the condition.

Physiotherapists assist patients with chronic illnesses and movement problems. People with multiple sclerosis or stroke need assistance to restore mobility. After a heart attack, a physiotherapist helps patients with rehabilitation and advises on the exercises to reduce the chances of reoccurrence of the condition.

Aside from physiotherapy skills, you advise your patients on the activities and habits in their daily lives that can strengthen their bodies and minimise the chance of injuries.

Would working as a physiotherapist suit your passion for helping people? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a physiotherapist role.  

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average salary of a physiotherapist

According to National Careers, the average salary of a physiotherapist ranges from £25,654 to £45,838 per year. The wage bracket differs depending on the employer. For instance, a physiotherapist working through the NHS has a different pay structure than those in private practice. In the NHS, the compensation is determined using the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay bands, and entry-level physiotherapists fall under band 5, with an annual salary between £25,655 and £31,534. Working in advanced practice raises your pay band to 8a, where you earn from £47,126 to £53,219. Aside from salary, your compensation package includes various allowances and benefits.

what factors affect the salary of a physiotherapist?

Your compensation package as a physiotherapist varies based on whether you work in public or private hospitals. Salaries and benefits are fixed for NHS physiotherapists, but private hospitals determine their wages. Most physiotherapists work for NHS and do consultations for private hospitals to boost their income.

Your specialisation can also affect your pay structure significantly. For instance, physiotherapists who specialise in sports injuries earn more compared to those working in care homes. Regardless of your specialisation, your experience level influences your compensation package, and the more experience and skills you have, the higher your income.
 

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types of physiotherapists

Some of the types of physiotherapists include:

  • musculoskeletal physiotherapists: as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, you specialise in treating back pains, arthritis, sprains or injuries related to muscles and bones. Physiotherapists in this field cover a broad range of sports and workplace injuries or reduced mobility issues. The rehabilitation they provide aims to restore balance and motion in injured joints and muscles.
  • neurological physiotherapists: as a neurological physiotherapist, you apply various techniques to minimise the effect of disorders in the nervous system. You deal with patients that have spinal injuries, stroke, brain injury or multiple sclerosis. You can also rehabilitate patients after brain surgery. Your role is to prevent physical deterioration and improve the quality of life for patients with long-term neurological conditions.
  • cardiothoracic physiotherapist: as a cardiothoracic physiotherapist, you assist in rehabilitating patients after a heart attack and restoring their quality of life. You also help them exercise to clear infections in the chest and restore balance.
     
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working as a physiotherapist

Becoming a physiotherapist can open doors to numerous opportunities for advancement. Want to learn more about what you will do daily and your work environment? Then read on.
 

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education and skills

There are different ways to join the physiotherapist career. Some include:

  • university course: you need a degree in biological science, sports science and psychology to become a physiotherapist. The entry requirements for a degree are 2 or 3 A Levels with biology. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy must approve your degree course or the training institution. You can also do a postgraduate degree to specialise in a specific field.
  • apprenticeship: become a physiotherapist through a degree apprenticeship and combine it with on-the-job training. For the apprenticeship, you need 2 to 3 A-Levels, including biology. You will also work at least 30 hours a week.
  • work experience: it is possible to become a physiotherapist by working as an assistant while studying for a degree. Volunteering in a care home or health centre also improves your skills and gives you relevant work experience. Enhanced background checks are often done before work placement since you work with vulnerable adults and children.

skills and competencies

You need the following skills to succeed as a physiotherapist:

  • motor skills: as a physiotherapist, your job is to work with patients and improve their balance and motor skills. That means you need to possess motor skills and understand how they help the muscles. It helps if you are physically fit since most sessions require strength and maximum precision during exercises.
  • communication skills: while your primary role is to work with your hands to perform the therapy techniques, you need to be a good communicator. It is crucial to explain the importance of each exercise and therapy technique. You also need to empathise with your patients and provide advice on improving their quality of life.
  • observation skills: you need observation skills as a physiotherapist to gain valuable information on your patient. With your observation skills, you can evaluate the movement and behaviour of a patient.
  • organisation skills: as a physiotherapist, you should keep track of the appointments and personalise the treatment session for each patient. Organisation skills will help you maintain a schedule for appointments and update patient files.
     
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FAQs

FAQs about working as a physiotherapist.

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