If you’re at the start of your career, looking to pick a direction, and the studies, qualifications and training that go along with it, you have a broad, blank canvas in front you. Writers are oppressed by an empty page, but a 14, 16 or 19 year old has a whole empty biography ahead of them. It can be liberating: when you realise the true spread of possibilities in front of you. On the other hand it can be oppressive. You can read pages of descriptions, salary expectations and ‘how to get into this career’ pieces, but what you really want to know is ‘what’s it like?’ Will you be happy? Is it like you imagine or does it have some secret drawbacks you only learn when you’re actually doing the job and it’s too late?
Today we’re putting physiotherapy jobs under this microscope so you can understand physiotherapy as a discipline and as a lived experience make a decision you are comfortable with.
Training to be a physio is much less onerous than training to be a doctor, so it’s an opportunity to be a part of the medical establishment without submitting to an expensive, decades long training process.
Physiotherapy is a profession that’s protected by the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council). This means that you have to do the research and make sure you find either a BA or a MA in physiotherapy that is endorsed by the HCPC they won’t allow you to register once you’ve graduated. On the other hand, that does mean your degree is important, and has value: as well as protecting the profession it acts a charter mark guaranteeing your studies will be worthwhile as long as you put the effort in.
Many physiotherapists work for the NHS, at least to begin with. Even if you plan to go private, specialising in sports for example, the NHS is a good starting place that will help you gain a lot of experience very quickly.
Phyios are one of those specialists who are needed in all departments of a hospital. You’re going to be very in demand, and this means you get to make a practical difference to a lot of people every day. This is one of the most important things about work as a physiotherapist: you make a real difference. So a typical day could start with working on a geriatric word, helping to relieve muscle stress and deterioration for the bedbound, before moving down and helping people with chronic pain learn exercises to help them enjoy the best quality of life they can.