Physiotherapist

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Physiotherapists assess, treat and prevent disorders in human movement caused by injury and disease. Physiotherapists identify and treat disorders affecting movement in order to maximise a Future Growth Very Strong patient's mobility and physical independence. Physiotherapists may treat a wide range of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. In addition to treating existing injuries or disorders, physiotherapists may also educate clients on the best way to carry out physical activities in order to minimise the chances of causing injury.

ANZSCO ID & description:
2525: Assesses, treats and prevents disorders in human movement caused by injury or disease. Registration or licensing is required.

Alternative names: Physical Therapist

Specialisations: Further into their career, physiotherapists can choose to practice in specific areas such as muscle and skeletal conditions, women's health, aged care, chest conditions, occupational health and safety, sports injuries, babies and young children, problems of the nervous system and spinal injuries, administration, education or research:

  • Aquatic Physiotherapist,
  • Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapist,
  • Cardiothoracic Physiotherapist,
  • Continence and Women's Health Physiotherapist,
  • Gerentological Physiotherapist,
  • Maori Physiotherapist (NZ), Physio at Sporting event
  • Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist,
  • Neurological Physiotherapist,
  • Occupational Health Physiotherapist,
  • Paediatric Physiotherapist,
  • Sports Physiotherapist

 

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A physiotherapist needs:

  • a high level of physical fitness

  • good communication skills

  • patience

  • to be supportive and firm with patients

  • good problem solving skills

At work
(Source: Canberra Physiotherapy Centre)

Duties and Tasks

Physiotherapists may perform the following tasks:

  • assess the physical condition of patients to diagnose problems and plan appropriate treatment

  • use a range of techniques to strengthen and stretch muscles and joints to improve patient mobility (such as massage, hydrotherapy, breathing and relaxation techniques)

  • perform spinal and peripheral joint mobilisation and manipulation

  • use equipment such as heat packs, exercise equipment, ice packs, ultrasound and electrotherapy to ease pain, reduce swelling and improve range of movement

  • re-train patients to walk or to use devices such as walking frames, splints, crutches and wheelchairs

  • educate patients, their families and the community to prevent injury and disability and to lead healthy lifestyles

  • plan and implement community fitness programs

  • maintain patient records.

 

Working conditions

Many physiotherapists work in hospitals or physiotherapy clinics, though some may visit clients at their homes or workplace. Professional sporting teams also employ physiotherapists, though entry to these positions is highly competitive.

Most physiotherapists work regular hours during the week. Those working with sporting teams will have to work during the team's training sessions and games, which usually means working evenings and weekends. Physiotherapists may work as part of a health care team, independently in private practice, within the school system or as industry consultants.


Tools and technologies

Physiotherapists use a wide range of equipment when treating patients, including strapping tape, heat packs, gym equipment and mobility aids. Some treatments also require more specialised tools, such as hydrotherapy pools, ultrasound and electrotherapeutic equipment.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become physiotherapist you must complete a recognised degree in physiotherapy and be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.

​To work as a physiotherapist in Australia, you must obtain professional registration with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, and hold a current Working with Children Check.

Employment Opportunities

Continued strong growth is expected in employment prospects for physiotherapists. Demand for physiotherapy services continues to grow across hospitals, medical clinics, private practice, sporting and work rehabilitation and aged care centres. An aging population is stimulating demand. Automation does not yet present a significant threat.

The scope to work flexible hours may also appeal to some people.

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Paramedic

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physio

Optometrist

Special Care Worker

Medical Practitioner

Chiropractor

Ophthalmologist

Audiologist

Podiatrist

Medical Imaging Technologist

  Speech Pathologist

Occupational Therapist

Natural Therapist

SES Officer

Art Therapist

Dermatologist

Psychiatrist

Plastic or Reconstructive Surgeon

acupuncturist

Osteopath

Paediatrician