Careers in Physiotherapy
alias physical therapy, one of the fastest-growing allied area of medicine, is
the system of treatment of disease and disability using physical exercises. It
is the most important rehabilitative service needed in a community and a vital
therapeutic supplement of the medical profession, integral to the treatment of
Physiotherapy may be defined as a science that seeks to improve movement
dysfunction, promote optimal health and functions of the human body.
Physiotherapy helps in optimal functioning of the body. It involves the
assessment, maintenance, restoration of the physical function and performance of
the body and is strongly recommended for people with degenerative disorders, the
physically challenged, sportspeople and those suffering from arthritis and
neurological disorders. This preventive and remedial procedure is very often
used as a supplement with oral medicines. It could also include heat radiation,
water therapy, massages, diathermy, traction and other procedures.
Physiotherapists are as essential as doctors in helping recover and rehabilitate
a patient from a state of incapacity, due to genetic defect or the result of an
accident or an illness. They must have a thorough knowledge of the human anatomy
and the way the bones, muscles and nerves move. Physiotherapists treat a wide
range of ailments, so specialisati
on is possible in areas such as pediatrics,
geriatrics, orthopedics, sports physical therapy, neurology, clinical
electrophysiologic and cardiopulmonary therapy.
The job of a physiotherapist, which is preventive, restorative and
rehabilitative, is challenging but lucrative at the same time. They are
qualified to perform a history and physical examination, conduct assessments to
determine a diagnosis process, select appropriate physical therapy interventions
to treat the dysfunction, and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.
Physiotherapists use various therapeutic intervention techniques to treat a
patient. Some of the them are Manual Therapy, TENS (Transcutaneous electrical
nerve stimulation used to control pain), Ultrasound Technique, Electrical Muscle
Stimulation, Manipulation, Acupuncture etc. Although the work of a
physiotherapist may tend to be physically very strenuous as it involves
physically lifting and supporting patients, their profession brings with it much
satisfaction, since it involves relieving patients of pain and helping them
recover from specific physical ailments.
Students with a science background can opt
for a career in physiotherapy. To become a practicing physiotherapist or be
employed as a professional in a hospital or clinic, one should have a B.Sc.
degree or a diploma in physiotherapy. One could also go in for postgraduation.
The basic eligibility for courses in
physiotherapy is 10+2 passed or equivalent examination with physics, chemistry,
biology and English. At least 50% of marks should be secured in each of these
subjects. Age limit for the candidates is 17 years.
Selection: The admission to
institutes is through entrance examination. There is a Common Entrance Test (CET)
for the course in Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT). Admission is based mainly on
Durations: There are both
degree level and short-term courses available in physiotherapy but all of them
may not be recognised by the government. Degree level courses in physiotherapy
generally range from 3 to 4 years while short-term courses may be between 3
months to a year. For a Degree Level course, the last six months involves an
internship period at a hospital.
The courses are designed to give the
students a basic understanding of the human body, based on medical sciences,
training in understanding the procedures for therapy and the related skill
training. The course contents include anatomy, physiology, pathology,
pharmacology, psychology, medical and surgical conditions, biomechanics,
kineseology, disability prevention, rehabilitation and other subjects. A major
part of the course work is practical in nature including an internship period
where students work under the supervision of professionals at various hospitals
Excellent interpersonal skills are necessary for the job of a physiotherapist
because it is very people oriented. To be a good physiotherapist, one needs an
above average analytical and logical reasoning skill, scientific reasoning and
problem solving skill, ability to memorize and recall scientific facts, manual
dexterity and physical stamina to work long hours, patience and understanding of
people, a sympathetic approach towards the patients, a keen desire to help
people live their normal lives, must be level headed to deal with emergencies in
work conditions, strength of mind and purpose, team spirit, good observation
power, ability to instill confidence and courage in patients. These attributes
together with a thorough knowledge of the human anatomy are the makings of a
successful physiotherapist. The work demands an organised and systematic way of
working. Working as per the directions of doctors, keeping record of the work
done and technical precision are important in the profession.
Job Prospects and Career Options
Employment opportunities for
physiotherapists are tremendous as it is a career where the demand exceeds
supply. A physiotherapist could be employed in the rehabilitation departments,
municipal corporations and private bodies. Their demand in medical institutions
is increasing since physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of
patients with muscular and cerebral problems. Like all other medical and
paramedical professionals, physiotherapists can work in hospitals, orthopaedic
departments, rehabilitation centres for the handicapped, schools for the
mentally retarded and physically disabled children, health institutions and
defense medical establishments. Physiotherapists can also opt for teaching,
while those with adequate capital can establish private clinics of their own.
The demand for physiotherapists in the
country as well as abroad is immense. They are in great demand in USA, Canada
The initial remuneration of physiotherapists
in government hospitals varies between Rs. 3000 to 5000. But the private
hospitals offer a relatively better package. Most well-run private hospitals
offer a starting salary around Rs 7,500 which could go up to Rs 10,000 per
month. The remuneration for established private practitioners can be almost Rs
20,000 to 40,000 per month.
Some hospitals also pay the physiotherapists
according to the number of patients he/she sees. Most physiotherapists, after
gaining an experience of around five years, could start their own practices, in
which case, they charge according to the number of hours given to individual
patients, usually around Rs. 250 to 400 per sitting.