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Physiotherapy Assistant career guide

If you’re interested in helping people and alleviating pains caused by injuries, then a career as a physiotherapist could be waiting for you.

Safeera Sarjoo
05th April 2016
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What is a physiotherapy assistant?

Physiotherapy assistants help to rehabilitate people who have suffered physical problems caused by injury. They can be found working in a range of settings within the local community. This includes health centres, nursing homes, day centres, schools, private clinics and voluntary organisations and charities. In some cases, physiotherapy assistants can treat patients in their own homes too.

Their work is not only limited with physiotherapists. Other professionals that work with physiotherapy assistants include occupational therapists, orthopaedic surgeons, prosthetics and nurses.

Physiotherapy assistants work and help people that have illnesses and disabilities, so a caring and supportive nature is incredibly important in this career. You will be expected to encourage patients to complete their treatment and you will need to be sensitive and tolerant in the most testing times.  

What are their responsibilities?

Working alongside professionals, physiotherapy assistants have key tasks such as

  • Taking patients to therapy treatments
  •  Writing up patient records
  •  Setting up equipment
  •  Consulting with doctors
  •  Keeping the department tidy
  • Some administration work
  • Assisting clients during their sessions

What are some of the characteristics that suit this role?

As there is some level of administration involved within this line of work, physiotherapy assistants are expected to have good organisational and communication skills. They should also be able to explain treatments to patients clearly.

Other traits and characteristics that would suit this role includes:

  • Being cheerful and optimistic
  • Being sensitive
  • Demonstrating good communication and listening skills
  • Giving support and reassurance when patients are having any difficulties
  • Showing an understanding and remaining patient
  • Showing a genuine concern for the wellbeing of patients
  • Working as part of a team and on your own
  • A keen interest in physical education and health
  • Putting up equipment

Entry requirements and Training

Although there are no set entry requirements for this job, employers will expect you to have good numeracy and literacy. Some may require you to have good GCSE’s in English, Maths and Science. Relevant work experience can prove to be very helpful such as working within the health and social care sector or having shown experience within a personal care role.

You should also show some understanding in areas such as anatomy, massage and physiology.

There are colleges that offer BTECs, NVQs and even Diplomas in Health and Social Care, which can help improve your chances of finding a job. There is also the option of an Apprenticeship, which can provide you with the experience you need to apply for physiotherapy assistant and other clinical support roles.

Training is on the job and you may be encouraged to work towards higher qualifications, which involve picking options relevant to your work duties.

With the right qualifications and experience there is room for progression and you could be working as a senior physiotherapy support worker or a team leader supervising the work of other physiotherapy assistants. With the right qualifications needed for entry to university, you could study and train to become a qualified physiotherapist.

If you can see yourself lending a helping hand to patients and feel that a physiotherapy assistant could be the ideal job for you, Training and Courses offer a number of courses to get your new career started. 

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