Wanting to become a physio?
Although we don't offer work experience, the following information might be helpful.
You should take a look at the CSP website https://www.csp.org.uk/
This is the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy - if you are in an interview they would expect you to be familiar with the CSP
The other organisation is the HCPC https://www.hcpc-uk.org/
This is the official organisation responsible for the registration of most NHS professions. The HCPC protects the title of Physiotherapy which means that only people who have completed a recognised course in physiotherapy, complete regular professional development and work to specific high standards can call themselves a physiotherapist in the UK.
The general rule of thumb for Physio interviews is - NOT TO TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT YOUR LOVE OF SPORT. Sport makes up only a very small percentage of the types of clients you encounter in the NHS.
Physiotherapy is broadly divided into three core sections
A good Physiotherapist will maintain their skills in these three areas, as they apply to every client in one way or another.
Musculoskeletal can be subdivided into Orthopaedics such as hip replacements and repair following a fracture, it also includes all the rheumatic/arthritic conditions - sports are a part of this and so is pain management.
Neurology is the management of Strokes, Head injuries, Spinal cord injuries, and a long list of neurological conditions.
Respiratory tends to fall into two categories medical and surgical - medical includes management of illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis, whereas it is also important to manage respiratory issues following surgery, which can restrict air entry and so clearance of secretions is essential - physiotherapists working in this field will often work in Intensive care.
It is important in an interview that you can demonstrate an understanding of real day-to-day issues, of being old, or injured.
Try doing the washing up, with one hand tied to your side, or writing and doing everyday tasks with your non-dominant hand, it is important to appreciate both the frustration and anxiety this can cause.
Look for work experience in residential homes for the elderly; in an interview, if you say you have helped elderly people to engage with jigsaws and puzzles - this will demonstrate your caring side, and appreciation of the limitations of old age, both physically and mentally, whilst also understanding the challenges associated with reduced stamina, and different peoples willingness to engage...
Universities look at your school grades, but once you are at the interview stage, they are interested in you as a person: What other life-building activities have you been involved with? Duke of Edinburgh, voluntary work, courses outside of school such as learning the basics in sign language or showing an interest in some of the different cultures that make up our society... there are so many activities that make you stand out from the other 1000+ applicants!
When I first applied for Physiotherapy I was disappointed not to get in at Bath University - that was until I found out that they had 3000 applicants for 30 places... things have no doubt changed in 20 years.
There are also other professions that are similar to Physiotherapy in pay and level of qualification, such as Occupational therapy, Radiology, Speech and language, Dieticians and Social work; these are all known as Allied healthcare professions and are registered by the HCPC.
Some students prefer to go down the route of Sports therapy and then do a Master's in Physiotherapy; Sports science is also an interesting option.
Likewise, it is worth talking to the universities offering Masters's programs as they may accept other degrees, but this will vary a lot so go to open days and ask.
The hardest part of Physiotherapy is getting on the course... It has become so popular, and I think the reason is that it offers such diversity, in where you work, the types of clients you work with, and the different organisations that employ Physiotherapists. I enjoy being a Physiotherapist, each day offers new challenges and it is often very rewarding.
Good luck with your career choice, and studies and I hope the above has been useful
Patrick Hyde MSc MCSP