Physiotherapists across the country help to treat people with physical problems by focusing on improving physical movement. As well as being a hugely rewarding profession there are a variety of opportunities – from working within the NHS to starting your own business.
Rokhsaneh Tehrany is a qualified Physiotherapist and is currently studying for her PHD. She talks with Jobulo and shares an insight into the industry and some career advice.
How Did You Become a Physiotherapist?
I went to University and did a degree in Biomedical Science and then after University I started looking at conversion courses. Because I already had a science based degree I was able to sign on for a two year course (without this it would have been three years.) I went to Southampton University and studied the Msc Physiotherapy Pre-Registration course to finally become a Physio.
Was It Different To What You Thought?
Like many people I thought Physiotherapy involved massage and sports based treatments, but it is very different to that. There are so many areas that people don’t realise and the course was completely different to what I expected. Physiotherapists play a big part in intensive care and helping respiratory patients. For example, Physiotherapists play a key role in the care of patients with respiratory diseases in intensive care and the community setting, where aiding with chest clearance and optimizing breathing is fundamental in the care of these patients. Neurology is another area where the role of a Physiotherapist is key, particularly in the rehabilitation of patients who have had strokes or other brain injuries, where physiotherapy is concerned with restoring mobility and limb function.
What’s The Best Part of the Training?
I get huge satisfaction from being autonomous. I loved that after weeks of doing placements I could see and assess a patient independently. People do get better after Physio treatment and they are very grateful for it so it’s also nice to know you’re making a difference.
Are There Other Ways To Progress In The Industry?
After University the general route is to work in a hospital in the NHS as a Junior (Band 5). You then usually work in a variety of rotations for example respiratory, neurology, orthopaedics, outpatients, pediatrics and rehabilitation. You usually spend 4 months completing each rotation before you can apply for a more senior role (Band 6 and above). Asides from working in the NHS, Physiotherapists are also found in the private sector, in clinics and health centres, where Physios can either open and manage their own clinic or work for someone else. While the role of a Physiotherapist means being involved with clinical practice, Physiotherapists also play a key role in medical research, in industry and academia.
Why Would You Go Down The Research Route?
Physiotherapy is very physical and this is less hands on and it’s good to have on your CV. All NHS treatments are based on evidence based practice so if you work in research you are at the core of validating new treatments.
Is There a Lot of Progression In The Industry?
I think it is what you make it. There is a lot of talk in the news of job cuts within the NHS. While this is true, Physiotherapists benefit from the fact that they are flexible in their role and can work in either the public, private or academic sector. I would therefore say there are plenty of progression opportunities – whether it’s working full time or working through a Locum (part-time) agency.
What Kind of Personality Do You Need To Succeed?
You need to be prepared to work long hours and to deal with stressful situations especially if you are working in a hospital. You can be expected to work weekends and evenings so you need to be dedicated and flexible. I also think you need to be compassionate and patient as sometimes you will be working with a variety of personalities and patients.
What’s The Hardest Part of The Job?
It can be very tiring both physically and mentally. It’s demanding but I thrive on that so it depends on the individual.
Can You Share Some Career Advice?
I would say to anyone wanting to work in this industry to do their research and ensure they actually want to be a Physiotherapist. Most courses require work experience but I would say get this anyway as it will give you an insight into working life. Have an idea of where you want to go and never give up.