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Training To Be A Physiotherapist

There is a greater need for increased numbers of physiotherapists now than there has ever been. More and more aspects of people''s health have been shown to be amenable to improvement by physiotherapy interventions, with exercise as the main focus. The range of physiotherapy interventions is very great, covering the whole span of medical specialties from obstetrics and the newborn to the elderly, respiratory to orthopaedics, neurology to pain management. This wide spread allows a very great choice of specialised areas to work in and provides good opportunities for finding a fulfilling career.

The changes in modern living standards and the constant developments in modern medicine have accelerated the changes in physiotherapy as new areas of work have presented themselves, from working with overweight adults and children, promoting exercise in cancer units, setting up exercise programmes for kidney patients on dialysis and in rehabilitation programmes for those with cardiac and pulmonary disease. As these opportunities increase this should be feeding through to the number of training places available and the provision of junior training rotations and suitable senior places for specialisation.

Typically three year degree physiotherapy courses are the main route of entry for physiotherapy students, with physiotherapy schools often placed in schools of health sciences in universities and other higher education establishments. There is a lot of competition for physiotherapy courses so the demand means that high levels of academic qualifications are required. Another route for those who already possess a degree in a relevant and related field is to enter the so-called fast track M.Sc. degrees in physiotherapy as they have studied the anatomy, physiology and exercise required and only need to undertake the relevant number of supervised physiotherapy hours and learning physiotherapy techniques.

The process of applying for physiotherapy courses is not solely related to the level of academic qualifications the applicant may possess, and success in applying may be enhanced by concentrating on several factors to improve the presentation. Having been employed or volunteering in serving the public in some capacity is positive, even better if a health care establishment is involved. The applicant should be able to show a number of coherent choices in their activities and show creativity in what they have done as an individual.

Physiotherapy departments employ assistants to work in a variety of areas and getting a job as one of these can be very beneficial in the application process. These jobs mean that the individual gets relevant hands-on experience and the support and guidance of senior physiotherapy staff. The ability to work in several clinical areas with the specialist physiotherapists allows a realistic view of physiotherapy practice to be formed. This increased the confidence and professionalism of the candidates and gives them a useful record in their CV.

To make the best of the application process the applicant has to pay close attention to managing this and the interview. The customer, it has to be remembered, is the university and they are searching for people with rounded personalities who can both state what they want to achieve and give clear examples of what they have done already to get to their goal. If the panel cannot see a convincing history of achievement and training relevant to the application they may consider that the applicant has not fully considered what they are applying for.

Most physiotherapists work in NHS hospitals with a wide variety of patients with illnesses, pain and disability and others work privately with musculoskeletal conditions. Only a very small number work with sports people and sports injuries and it is wise not to emphasise that in the application. Since 99% of more of physiotherapy is not related to sports at all, a concentration on the desire to pursue a career in sports physiotherapy might make a panel doubt a person''s commitment.

Typical physiotherapy courses concentrate on conditions occurring in the vast majority of people, mostly elderly in health care systems, who have health problems, and any work on sports injuries will be unusual. Junior physiotherapists go through a rotational scheme in their first two or three years so the ability to specialise in sports will take some time.


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