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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 way we live now and the advances made in modern medicine have allowed the scope of physiotherapy to increase greatly and physiotherapists now work with obesity problems in adults and children, in cancer rehabilitation, in the rehabilitation of kidney dialysis patients and in both cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programmes. The increasing opportunities for physiotherapy intervention in health systems should be reflected in the large numbers of training places and need for jobs with training rotations with the possibility of later specialisation.

Physiotherapy students take three year degree physiotherapy courses which are all now based in centres of higher education such as universities. As the competition is strong to achieve places the educational requirements at A level are high. This is the most common route of entry to physiotherapy courses in the UK, although there are a few fast-track M.Sc. courses taking two years for those applicants who have already completed a degree in a closely relevant area. They will have covered much of the basic science of physiology and exercise so must concentrate on getting the practice of physiotherapy correct, putting in the clinical hours and learning the techniques necessary.

The academic qualifications required for entry into physiotherapy courses are not the only criteria worth considering as there are many other aspects which could increase the likelihood of a successful application. Volunteering to serve the public or being employed in such a capacity can be helpful, whilst working in a health care related job would be even more relevant. If applicants can show that they have made conscious choices and individual creativity in their activities they are more likely to be considered.

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.

Most health conditions which present to physiotherapists in normal practice are nothing to do with sports and are predominantly the health problems of elderly people who present the great majority of consultations. It will be some years before a physiotherapist can normally concentrate on the treatment of sports injuries as most physiotherapists go through a rotational system over the first few years.

Jonathan Blood Smyth, editor of the Physiotherapy Site, writes articles about Physiotherapists, physiotherapy, physiotherapists in London, back pain, orthopaedic conditions, neck pain and injury management. Jonathan is a superintendant physiotherapist at an NHS hospital in the South-West of the UK

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written by Jonathan Blood Smyth \\ tags: alternative medicine, , physical fitness, physiotherapists, physiotherapy,

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