Physiotherapy is a well-established healthcare profession concerned with human function and movement and maximising potential.
Physiotherapists train through the NHS and graduate with a BSc (Hons) degree after 3 years of study which includes at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical experience. The study also includes a piece of research as a dissertation.
After graduation, it is usual to complete a junior rotation in the NHS which covers the three main aspects of physiotherapy – musculoskeletal, respiratory and neurology. This may include working on a stroke ward, on an elderly rehabilitation ward and in musculoskeletal outpatients. Experience may also include orthopaedics, working in ITU and paediatrics. On qualification, physiotherapists become members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and are regulated by Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Working in the NHS involves being part of a multi-disciplinarian team, so physiotherapists have experience working with doctors, consultants, nurses and occupational therapists. This gives them broad experience in various medical conditions and types of patients and helps them develop effective communication skills before they specialise.
Physiotherapy is a very dynamic and rewarding profession. A tenet of being a physiotherapist is Continuous Professional Development (CPD) which involves further post graduate qualifications and keeping a breast of developments and research in the profession to ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients. Physiotherapists are therefore required to provide evidence-based practice.
There is a growing trend for physiotherapists to work in the community in the NHS to support patients following discharge from hospital and help prevent re-admission. Similarly, physiotherapists are also increasingly working in GP surgeries to help GPs with common musculoskeletal conditions such as lower back pain.
Physiotherapists may choose to later go into private practice and to study further for a MSc or PhD. Through this they may become Extended Scope Practioners (ESPs) and may add skills such as injection therapy, being able to prescribe medications and perform ultrasound scans.
Physiotherapists may also go into professional sport such as football which requires further post graduate study and experience.
Physiotherapists use a wide range of treatment techniques such as joint mobilisations, massage, acupuncture, trigger point release, stretching, taping and exercise therapy. But a key element is also educational so that patients can understand their condition and know how to self-manage outside the clinic.
At YOU Massage and Therapy Centre – Southampton – we offer a wide range of services such as Massage and Osteopathy – we recommend you see our Southampton Physiotherapist for injury management and prevention.