• 20 August 2021
  • 8 min read

What Does A Physiotherapist Do?

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 304
"Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through exercise and movement, manual therapy, education and advice."

Having worked as a Specialist Physiotherapist, India Gooderham examines the role of a Physiotherapist, exploring the career opportunities and duties of the role.

Topics covered in this article

What Is Physiotherapy?

What Does A Physiotherapist Do?

How Does Physiotherapy Work?

Why Is Physiotherapy Important?

What Kind Of Symptoms Does Physiotherapy Treat?

What Are The Main Duties Of A Physiotherapist?

Which Other Healthcare Staff Are Involved In The Care Of Someone Being Treated By A Physiotherapist?

What Are The Kinds Of Different Settings And Places Of Practice Physios Work In?

What Are The Typical Physiotherapist Jobs In The NHS?

Are There Physiotherapist Jobs In The Private Sector That Are Unavailable In The NHS?

What Are The Career Opportunities In Physiotherapy?

A Brief History Of The Role Of The Physiotherapist

Brief Outline Of A Day In The Life Of A Physiotherapist

What Is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, this includes the patient’s lifestyle choices.

A key focus in Physiotherapy is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment.

Nursing & Care Jobs at Nurses.co.uk

Progress Your Career. Search 1000s of Nursing & Care Jobs

Search Jobs

What Does A Physiotherapist Do?

Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through exercise and movement, manual therapy, education and advice.

How Does Physiotherapy Work?

Physiotherapy is a degree-based healthcare profession.

Professional Physiotherapists have studied in human anatomy and physiology in great depth, as well as numerous modalities and educational skills and tools to help people recover from / and manage acute and long-term conditions.

Why Is Physiotherapy Important?

Physiotherapy can help people to improve their health by restoring movement and function to the body after injury, illness, disability or pain.

Physiotherapy can also help people to manage long-term conditions and disabilities.

What Kind Of Symptoms Does Physiotherapy Treat?

Physiotherapists treat and support people with a huge variety of conditions and symptoms.

Physiotherapy is usually split up into system-specific specialities;

• Neurological (e.g., Stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, MND)

• Neuromusculoskeletal (e.g. back and knee pain, post-op orthopaedic rehab)

• Cardiovascular (e.g., heart disease)

• Respiratory (e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis).

This is not an exhaustive list of specialities; Physiotherapists can also choose to work in specialities such as palliative care, women’s health or chronic pain for example.

What Are The Main Duties Of A Physiotherapist?

Duties of a Physiotherapist

• Working with patients with a variety of conditions, sometimes over a period of weeks or months.

• Diagnosing, assessing and treating problems.

• Encouraging exercise and movement.

• Advising patients on leading a healthy lifestyle.

• Keeping reports on patients and their progress.

Which Other Healthcare Staff Are Involved In The Care Of Someone Being Treated By A Physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists work within the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and this is usually a strong unit of professionals, particularly when working on the wards of a hospital.

The other professionals include Occupational Therapists, Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapists.

Often-times a Physiotherapist will work alongside other professionals in treating patients and there will be regular MDT meetings where each patient’s treatment plan will be reviewed and discussed.

This combination of professional skills and expertise means that a patient gets treated holistically and to a high standard of care.

For the professionals working within the MDT there is so much opportunity for knowledge and skill sharing which is great for continuing professional development and team-working.

What Are The Kinds Of Different Settings And Places Of Practice Physios Work In?

Physiotherapists can work across a number of settings these include;

The community (i.e. in patient homes), in-patient facilities (i.e. on hospital wards) or in out-patient settings (i.e Physiotherapy departments where people can be treated for musculoskeletal conditions such as knee, neck or back pain).

Working in the community, Physiotherapists play a key role visiting people in their own homes, this can reduce the need for hospital admissions and also empower people to manage their own conditions.

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Do you have any questions for India?

Post your questions & comments below

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Conditions managed in the community include elderly care, neurological rehab etc (e.g. falls rehab, stroke rehab).

In the hospital environment Physiotherapists play an important role in assisting the discharge of patient’s home.

Physiotherapists can help ensure people are mobile and fit enough to return home safely.

What Are The Typical Physiotherapist Jobs In The NHS?

After completing a degree in Physiotherapy, it is common that graduates will aim to work in a variety of different specialities over the first couple of years (previously called ‘rotations’), this offers the opportunity to practice and embed skills learnt during their training and it also offers insight into the variety of different Physio roles.

After this in-house experience, Physiotherapists often choose an area of specialism they enjoy and then can perhaps choose a fixed position.

See our available Physiotherapist roles here.

Are There Physiotherapist Jobs In The Private Sector That Are Unavailable In The NHS?

Most of the different specialities you will find in the NHS will also be available in the private sector.

What Are The Career Opportunities In Physiotherapy?

There are so many career opportunities and varying directions one can choose to take with this professional qualification.

It’s an amazing grounding in health and well-being and the western medical model.

Here are just a few of the possible career opportunities;

• Consultant Physiotherapist in any of the afore mentioned specialities

• Volunteer or paid work in an NGO

• Ergonomic Care Advisor

• Physiotherapist in schools for children with special needs

• Physiotherapist in Old Age Residential Homes

• Sports Physiotherapists along with Sports Associations, Sports Team, individually hired physiotherapists by elite athletes

• Private Practitioners running Private Physiotherapy Practice

• Lecturer

• Clinical Researcher

A Brief History Of The Role Of The Physiotherapist

Physicians like Hippocrates and Galenus, are believed to have been the first practitioners of physiotherapy, advocating modalities such as massage, hydrotherapy and manual therapies.

This was happening as far back as 460 B.C!

In the eighteenth century there was the development of orthopedics, machines like the ‘Gymnasticon’ were developed to treatconditions such as gout and similar diseases by systematic exercise of the joints, similar to later developments in physiotherapy.

Brief Outline Of A Day In The Life Of A Physiotherapist

So, my most recent Physiotherapy role was as a Specialist Palliative Care (end-of-life care) Physio in a hospice setting.

Here is a typical day;

Start at 8am - Prepare for the day checking on diary/ emails etc.

9am - MDT meeting on the In-patient unit – here all of the healthcare team met to discuss the current in-patients and their individual treatment plans.

10 - 1pm – working on the ward treating patients, during this time I would be completing a variety of different tasks such as assessing a patient’s mobility, providing mobility aids and exercises.

Working with patients struggling with respiratory symptoms such a breathlessness, supporting them with techniques and advice to help manage this uncomfortable symptom.

1 - 1.30 - LUNCH

1.30 - 4 - Home visits or working from the Out-patient clinic – Mobility assessments and treatment, oncology acupuncture or running groups such as breathlessness or fatigue management groups.

4 - 4.30 Catch up on note writing.

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Do you have any questions for India?

Post your questions & comments below

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

About the author

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist

India Gooderham’s background is as a Specialist Physiotherapist working in oncology and palliative care in the UK. She is now working as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and Cancer Yoga teacher and is founder of ‘Gentle Recovery’, an online rehabilitation and wellness platform for people affected by cancer. Her mission is to serve, educate and empower people at any stage of their cancer journey through exercise, yoga and wellness online programmes and 1-2-1 online coaching.

See all of our RGN jobs

6790 jobs currently available

Search Jobs

Care Professionals Helping One Another

We pay people like you to contribute, so that everyone can share. Learn & never miss out on updates & career advice. Join to support our mission.

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist

About the author

  • India Gooderham
    Cancer Exercise Specialist

India Gooderham’s background is as a Specialist Physiotherapist working in oncology and palliative care in the UK. She is now working as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and Cancer Yoga teacher and is founder of ‘Gentle Recovery’, an online rehabilitation and wellness platform for people affected by cancer. Her mission is to serve, educate and empower people at any stage of their cancer journey through exercise, yoga and wellness online programmes and 1-2-1 online coaching.

  • 0 Comments
Want to get involved in the discussion
Sign In Join