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Physiotherapists help and treat people of all ages with physical problems caused by illness, accident or ageing.
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession which sees human movement as central to the health and well-being of individuals. Physiotherapists identify and maximise movement potential through health promotion, preventive healthcare, treatment and rehabilitation.
The core skills used by physiotherapists include manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and the application of electro-physical modalities. Physiotherapists also have an appreciation of psychological, cultural and social factors which influence their clients.
The following are just a few of the areas physiotherapists work:
- intensive care
- women's health
- care of the elderly
- stroke patients
- mental illness
- learning difficulties
- occupational health
- terminally ill
Many physiotherapists work within hospitals. Here they are needed in virtually every department, from general out-patients to intensive care, where round-the-clock chest physiotherapy can be vital to keep unconscious patients breathing.
Hospitals often have physiotherapy gyms, hydrotherapy and high-tech equipment so that specialist therapy can be carried out.
Today's physiotherapist is just as likely to work in the local community as within a hospital. There is also a need for physiotherapists in many other places.
These places are:
- special schools
- the private sector (for example, private practice)
- leisure & sport
In fact wherever people are at risk of injury from their occupation or activity.
Nowadays, more and more physiotherapists work outside the hospital setting, in the community where a growing number are employed by GP fundholders. Treatment and advice for patients and carers take place in their own homes, in nursing homes or day centres, in schools and in health centres.
Being a physiotherapist in any setting is all about teamwork. As well as being able to build up a rapport with your patients, it is equally important to maintain communication with their relatives or carers as well as other healthcare professionals
Physiotherapy is a ''hands on'', physical career in every sense. The personal qualities needed for this rewarding role are tolerance, patience and compassion, you will also need to be level-headed, practical and have good communication skills.
You will need five GCSEs (or equivalent), and usually three A’ levels including at least one science. You will normally need good to high grades. Alternatives to A levels are also considered, such as an approved access course, VCE and Scottish qualifications. It is essential to check the entry requirements of the university/universities to which you wish to apply.
Training consists of a recognised three or four year university-based course leading to a BSc in physiotherapy. You would then be eligible for registration, which is essential to working as a physiotherapist in the NHS.
Once you had some clinical experience you could specialise in any one of a range of areas, such as orthopaedics, obstetrics or working with older people. Or you could go into research or teaching, or gain promotion to a more senior physiotherapy post. You could also move into health service management.
Funding support for students on physiotherapy courses
Eligible students who are accepted onto approved courses will usually have their tuition fees paid in full and may receive financial support in the form of a bursary.
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