Physiotherapist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Physiotherapist, or Physical Therapist is a licensed healthcare professional who improves the physical mobility of patients who suffer from illness, injury, disability or ageing. Their duties include providing diagnoses, determining the most effective treatments and educating patients.


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Physiotherapist duties and responsibilities

The type of duties a Physiotherapist performs depends on their area of specialisation and the size of the institution they work for. Those who work in smaller settings, may have a more general scope of duties. Typically, a Physiotherapist’s day-to-day activities include:

  • Meeting with patients to assess what their physical challenges are and deciding on suitable treatment programmes 
  • Monitoring the progress of patients and adjusting or changing treatments as needed
  • Liaising with other healthcare professionals, such as Occupational Therapists and General Practitioners and referring patients as needed
  • Involving the families and caregivers of patients in their treatment programmes and the delivery of care
  • Updating and maintaining accurate patient case notes and reports
  • Staying up to date regarding new physiotherapy technologies and techniques 
  • Supervising and guiding student and junior Physiotherapists 
  • Initiating and participating in evidence-based projects to improve the quality of patient care
  • Complying with government physiotherapy regulations 


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What does a Physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapists assist patients who suffer from a variety of conditions ranging from back pain to Parkinson’s disease to multiple sclerosis. They often specialise in a certain field, such as sports medicine, paediatrics, orthopaedics or women’s health. They help patients regain their strength and function through exercise programmes and manual therapies, such as joint manipulation and mobilisation. They may also apply electrotherapy techniques, when treating patients with pain or musculoskeletal problems. Physiotherapists also look at the patient’s lifestyle, showing them how to improve their health and general well-being by practising better habits.


Physiotherapist skills and qualifications

Apart from technical expertise, a Physiotherapist needs a caring and compassionate nature to provide patients with the necessary care and a genuine concern for the well-being of their patients. A successful Physiotherapist candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills to effectively interact with patients, their families and other healthcare professionals
  • Good teamwork skills,  collaborating with other health professionals
  • Excellent verbal communicating skills to clearly share information with patients and fellow employees
  • Strong active listening skills to accurately understand patients’ issues
  • Good observational skills to correctly evaluate how patients are responding to treatments
  • Strong analytical skills to correctly diagnose conditions and develop effective treatment programs


Physiotherapist experience requirements

The level of experience a Physiotherapist needs depends on the position. Some employers are willing to hire newly qualified Physiotherapists and supply them with on-the-job training. Others may require applicants to have experience in an area of specialisation, such as paediatrics or sports injuries. Depending on the position, candidates may need to show experience in working core rotations or working within a multidisciplinary environment.


Physiotherapist education and training requirements

Candidates must complete a degree programme in physiotherapy that has been approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Candidates who have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as sports science, can opt to complete a postgraduate qualification in physiotherapy. Once a candidate has obtained the necessary qualifications, they need to register with the Health and Care Profession Council (HCPC) before they can practise as Physiotherapists. Candidates can continue to develop their skills by completing professional courses through, for instance, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.


Physiotherapist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Physiotherapist in the UK is £34,598 per year. Salaries vary, depending on factors like location and level of experience.


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Physiotherapist job description FAQs


Which health institutions and organisations benefit from employing Physiotherapists?

Physiotherapists are a valuable asset for a wide range of health facilities and organisations. These include hospices, GP practices, hospitals, sports clinics, professional sports clubs, fitness centres and schools.


What are the hours of Physiotherapists?

The hours of a Physiotherapist depend on where they work. Those who work at GP practices, for instance, typically have regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours. In contrast, those who work in hospitals or hospices may have rotating shift schedules. Physiotherapists who work for professional sports clubs often work over weekends and on evenings or whenever games take place.


What is the difference between a Physiotherapist and a Chiropractor?

Both occupations focus on managing the pain of patients and improving their physical strength and mobility. Despite this overlap, they are distinct professions. A Chiropractor focuses on the proper alignment of bones and joints and works to move a patient’s misaligned bones back into their correct places through manual adjustments. A Physiotherapist, in contrast applies a range of techniques, including muscle exercises and electrotherapy techniques.

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