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Physiotherapists across the country help to treat people with physical problems by focusing on improving physical movement. As well as being a hugely rewarding profession there are a variety of work opportunities.

Rokhsaneh Tehrany is a qualified Physiotherapist and is currently studying for her PHD. She talks with Resume Surgeon and shares an insight into the industry and some career advice.

How Did You Become a Physiotherapist?

I went to University in the UK and did a degree in Biomedical Science and then after University I started looking at conversion courses. Because I already had a science based degree I was able to sign on for a two year course (without this it would have been three years.) I studied the Msc Physiotherapy Pre-Registration course to finally become a Physio.

Was It Different To What You Thought?

Like many people I thought it involved massage and sports based treatments, but it is very different to that. There are so many areas that people don’t realise and the course was completely different to what I expected. Physiotherapists play a big part in intensive care and helping respiratory patients. I have worked with people who find it hard to clear their lungs and who can’t cough or swallow. That obviously impairs their breathing so the job of the Physio is to help with chest clearance. Physiotherapists also help neurological patients and people who have had strokes. Physio is all about helping people to get back to their everyday lives and it’s done via a number of ways – improving flexibility, muscle and movement.

What’s The Best Part of the Training?

I get huge satisfaction from being autonomous. I loved that after weeks of doing placements I could see and assess a patient independently. People do get better after Physio treatment and they are very grateful for it so it’s also nice to know you’re making a difference.

Are There Other Ways To Progress In The Industry?

After University the general route is to work in a hospital as a Junior (Band 5). You then usually work on rotation in a number of different sectors i.e. respiratory, neurological, orthopaedic. You usually spend 4 months in each and after two years you can apply for a more senior role (Band 6). You need experience in all of these areas before you can do that. Band 8 is a managerial position where you manage a team of Physios. You can go down the private route of opening your own practice or you could also go down the research route to do a Masters or PHD.

Why Would You Go Down The Research Route?

Physiotherapy is very physical and this is less hands on and it’s good to have ion your CV. Physio treatments are all based on research evidence so if you work in research you are at the core discovering new methods.

Is There a Lot of Progression In The Industry?

I think it is what you make it. There is a lot of talk on the new of job cuts within the NHS and Graduates finding it difficult to find work but I have yet to see that. I would say don’t be put off by this as there are plenty of progression opportunities – whether it’s working full time or working through a Locum (part-time) agency.

What Personality Do You Need To Succeed?

You need to be prepared to work long hours and to deal with stressful situations especially if you are working in a hospital. You can be expected to work weekends and evenings so you need to be dedicated and flexible. I also think you need to be compassionate and patient as sometimes you will be working with a variety of personalities and patients.

What’s The Worst Part of The Job?

It can be very tiring both physically and mentally. It’s demanding but I thrive on that so it depends on the individual.

Can You Share Some Career Advice?

I would say to anyone wanting to work in this industry to do their research and ensure they actually want to be a Physiotherapist. Most courses require work experience but I would say get this anyway as it will give you an insight into working life. Have an idea of where you want to go and never give up.

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