Career Development

What Does a Physiotherapist Do?

Find out what a physiotherapist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment of physical injuries and conditions. They commonly work with patients to help them recover from injury or disease, manage pain, or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Physiotherapists may also be involved in prevention efforts by educating patients on how to avoid future injuries or illnesses. This might include exercise recommendations, tips for proper posture, etc.

Physiotherapist Job Duties

Physiotherapists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Conducting assessments of patients’ medical conditions and functional abilities, including psychological evaluations where appropriate
  • Providing treatment to patients with injuries or conditions that affect their musculoskeletal system, such as sprains, strains, fractures, arthritis, or back pain
  • Participating in interdisciplinary treatment plans that include doctors and other health care professionals
  • Creating specific exercise programs designed to improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination
  • Educating patients on how to manage their pain and prevent future injuries
  • Conducting diagnosis and treatment planning based on evaluation of patient’s medical history, physical examination findings, diagnostic imaging results and other diagnostic studies
  • Performing diagnostic tests such as X-rays, electrocardiograms, electromyograms (EMGs), nerve conduction tests, and others as needed
  • Teaching patients exercises that can be performed at home or during office visits to improve strength and range of motion
  • Preparing detailed reports on patient care plans and progress to other medical professionals

Physiotherapist Salary & Outlook

The salary of a physiotherapist can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of patients they treat.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $207,000 ($99.52/hour)

The employment of physiotherapists is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

The number of older people is increasing, and many of these individuals will require the services of a physiotherapist. As people age, they are more likely to have conditions that limit their mobility, such as arthritis or a stroke. Physiotherapists will be needed to treat these patients and help them remain mobile and independent.

Physiotherapist Job Requirements

A physiotherapist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: To become a physiotherapist, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in a variety of fields, including kinesiology, physical therapy, exercise science, biology and anatomy.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, you must complete a master’s degree program in physiotherapy. This program takes two years to complete and includes coursework and supervised clinical practice.

Training & Experience: Physiotherapists receive most of their training through their education and clinical experience. They must complete a certain number of hours of clinical experience to earn their degree. They must also complete a certain number of hours of clinical experience to earn their license.

Physiotherapists can also receive on-the-job training in their roles. They can learn more about the specific needs of their patients and the best ways to treat them.

Certifications & Licenses: Physiotherapists must obtain a license before being allowed to practice their profession in their state. The granting of this license depends on the successful completion of a state-administered licensure examination.

In most states, the exam required for licensure is the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Physiotherapist Skills

Physiotherapists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another important skill for a physiotherapist. They often work with patients to develop treatment plans and explain the treatment process. They also communicate with other medical professionals to ensure their patients receive the best care.

Physical stamina: Physiotherapists often work long hours, including weekends and holidays, and they often lift and move patients to adjust them or move them to different positions. They also often stand for long periods of time and walk or run to patients’ homes or other locations.

Manual dexterity: Manual dexterity is the ability to use your hands to perform tasks. This is an important skill for physiotherapists because they often use their hands to manipulate and treat patients. For example, they may use their hands to apply pressure to a patient’s back to help relieve pain.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify the source of a patient’s pain and develop a treatment plan to alleviate it. This can include identifying the root cause of a patient’s pain, such as a muscle injury, and developing a treatment plan to help them recover. You can also use problem-solving skills to find creative ways to help patients who have limited mobility. For example, you may use pillows or other tools to help a patient stretch their muscles.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. This is an important skill for physiotherapists, as they often work with patients who are in pain or discomfort. Empathy allows a physiotherapist to understand and share their patient’s feelings, which can help them better understand their patient’s needs and develop treatment plans that address those needs.

Physiotherapist Work Environment

Most physiotherapists work in private clinics, hospitals, and extended care facilities. They may also work in patients’ homes, schools, or workplaces. They usually work full time, but some work part time. Many physiotherapists work evenings and weekends to accommodate their patients’ schedules. Some physiotherapists are on call, which means they may have to work at odd hours, on weekends, and on holidays. The work can be physically demanding, and physiotherapists may have to lift and move patients who are unable to walk. They may also have to stoop, kneel, crouch, and reach to provide treatment.

Physiotherapist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how physiotherapists work. Physiotherapists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of Chronic Conditions

The rise of chronic conditions is a trend that is having a significant impact on the health care industry. As more and more people are living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, they will need ongoing care to manage their symptoms.

This means that physiotherapists will need to be able to provide services that help patients manage their symptoms and stay healthy. They will also need to be able to work with other professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to create a plan for patient care.

More Focus on Preventative Care

As healthcare costs continue to rise, more and more emphasis is being placed on preventive care. This means that physiotherapists will need to focus on helping patients prevent injuries and illnesses before they occur.

By developing programs that focus on prevention, physiotherapists can help patients stay healthy and avoid costly medical treatments in the future. In addition, this trend may lead to an increase in demand for physiotherapy services, which could be beneficial for those who are looking to start or expand their own business.

Patient-Centered Care Becomes More Important

Patient-centered care has become increasingly important in recent years as patients have become more informed about their options. Physiotherapists can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in patient-centered care and providing high-quality care that meets the needs of each individual patient.

In order to be successful in this environment, physiotherapists will need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and understand what they are looking for in terms of treatment. They will also need to be able to adapt their treatment plans based on the needs of each patient.

How to Become a Physiotherapist

A physiotherapist career path can be tailored to meet your personal and professional goals. As a physiotherapist, you may choose to specialize in one area of practice or work with a variety of patients. You may also choose to work in private practice, hospitals, clinics, or other settings.

No matter which direction you take, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in your field. This can be done by reading journals and attending conferences and workshops. You should also network with other professionals in your field to learn about their experiences and methods.

Related: How to Write a Physiotherapist Resume

Advancement Prospects

As a physiotherapist, you will have opportunities to move into management and education roles. You could also move into private practice, either working alone or with other physiotherapists.

With further study and training, you could become a physiotherapy lecturer or clinical educator in a tertiary institution. You could also move into research, either conducting your own research projects or working as part of a team.

If you are interested in management, you could become a physiotherapy unit manager, a clinical services manager, or a practice manager. You could also move into private practice, either working alone or with other physiotherapists.

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