Making a Difference: Careers in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy
Are you interested in a career in healthcare? Would you like to use your scientific and people skills to improve people’s quality of life? Find out more about two of the fastest-growing professions within health. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists work with individuals, often over extended periods, to improve their quality of life, making them some of the most rewarding professions in healthcare.
What do physiotherapists do?
Physiotherapy “provides services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan”.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy
Physiotherapists work, using a predominantly movement based approach, to maintain health and wellbeing with people of all ages. In the UK Physiotherapists are autonomous practitioners central to managing demands on health and social care systems, preventing ill health and supporting healthier lives.
Physiotherapists use their knowledge of movement and pathology to work with people to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body, such as stroke, back pain, sports injuries, heart disease, asthma or frailty. They work in a diverse range of settings including; hospitals, schools, private clinics, residential homes or sports clubs. Additionally some physiotherapists’ careers take them into management, education or research.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a valued Health and Social Care Profession in the UK and Singapore.
As an Occupational Therapist you will work collaboratively with individuals to help them set and achieve goals to live their lives to the fullest. You will focus on helping them participate in the roles and activities they want to, despite any challenges they might face.
Occupational Therapists work with children and adults of all ages in a range of settings including health organisations, social care, housing, education, prisons, employment services, voluntary organisations, and in private practice. They work with clients with challenges including mental health problems, physical illnesses or disabilities and learning disabilities. Occupation is central to Occupational Therapy, and can include any activity which is meaningful to people including work, leisure activities and even sleep, allowing OTs to have long-lasting and meaningful effects on people’s quality of life.
Studying Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy in the UK
UK healthcare qualifications are recognised and respected around the world. Typically a qualifying bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy has a duration of three years. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy students share learning across the three years of their course, and they benefit from a wide range of learning styles, including lectures, practical classes, small discussion groups, clinical placements and problem solving. Through these teaching methods you’ll learn scientific disciplines including anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and psychology, as well as professional skills including ethics, communication and research methods. The clinical practice elements mean that by graduation, you’ll have gained extensive experience working with patients and professional colleagues, giving you a thorough preparation for starting your practice in these rewarding careers.
About the Author
Chris Manning MSc MCSP is Senior Lecturer in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at St George’s, University of London and Course Director of the university’s physiotherapy programme.