A Career as a Chartered Physiotherapist
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If you have an interest in a career in physiotherapy, it is important to
be aware that professional sport is only one area that chartered physiotherapists
practice. Most chartered physiotherapists work as part of a healthcare
team in different situations, such as:
- Care of the elderly
Usually in a hospital setting, working to maintain
mobility and independence in older patients who suffer from a range of
age related diseases.
Rehabilitating patients who have had surgery
to their bones and joints. This surgery may be due to trauma or alternatively
an elective procedure for an orthopaedic condition.
Treating children with mental and physical
handicaps such as Cerebral Palsy or Spina Bifida.
- Neurological rehabilitation
Working with patients
who are recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injuries to restore
normal movement and function. Also providing support to patients
with conditions such as Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis to
prevent secondary complications.
- Palliative Care
Working in the community
or in hospices to treat patients with late stage cancer or AIDS.
- Private Practice
Working independently in private practice,
clinics, hospitals, and GP surgeries, treating a wide range of conditions.
- Occupational Health
Larger companies often have their
own medical centre. Chartered physiotherapists treat employees' injuries
and evaluate the work process in order to prevent physical problems due
to repetitive work tasks.
- Mental Health
Helping people with mental illness
through exercise and relaxation techniques aimed at improving
self esteem and confidence.
- Musculoskeletal out patients
or GP practice settings, treating spinal and joint problems,
trauma and sports injuries.
- Women's health
Advising on ante-natal and
post-natal care, exercise and posture, and managing continence
and post-gynaecological operations.
- Intensive care
seriously ill people to maintain joint function and maintain
good respiratory function.
As you can see, there are a wide range of very different specialties within
physiotherapy. The thing that all areas have in common is the use of exercise
and manual skills to improve patient function.
After graduate qualification,
most chartered physiotherapists gain a wide range of experience in these
different clinical areas before specialising in one area. This requires
further post graduate qualifications.
Before you apply for a place on a physiotherapy degree course, it is
important that all students realise they will be required to undertake
clinical placements in a wide range of the above specialities and to demonstrate
basic skills in the core areas of musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and
neurology, prior to qualification.
Following qualification, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
(CSP) recommends newly qualified chartered physiotherapists consolidate
their knowledge by working under the supervision of more experienced
clinicians. Medical insurance companies now stipulate that physiotherapists
must have at least 5 years experience before they will consider them
for recognition. This means that it is likely to take eight years
from commencement of training for a physiotherapist to realise any
ambition they might have to make a full career from private practice.
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