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The Prospects for Physiotherapist Assistant Career

If you enjoy working with people and the idea of helping someone gets back on their feet after an accident or illness excites you, then you may be ideal for a career as a physiotherapist assistant.

What Does A Physiotherapist Assistant Do?

The physiotherapist assistant (typically referred to in the United States as the physical therapy assistant) works with a trained and licensed physiotherapist to implement a plan of care.

Typically, the physiotherapist will see the patient first and establish treatment goals and a plan of care. The plan of care consists of different kinds of exercises aimed at helping patients regain their mobility.

It is up to the assistant to ensure that the plan of care is followed closely and to work with the patient to complete the prescribed exercises or interventions. He/her always works under the close supervision of the physiotherapist.

Physiotherapist assistants may also help physiotherapists by setting up and taking down exercise equipment, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, and getting patients ready for treatments.

Where Does A Physiotherapist Assistant Work?

They may work in many different health care settings including hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. In some instances, they may make visits to home patients.

What Training Does A Physiotherapist Assistant Need?

Training varies depending on location. In the United States, an assistant usually holds an associates degree as a physical therapy assistant. In the UK, there are no specific guidelines and most training occurs on the job, although applicants are ideally expected to have a solid background in science and mathematics.

What Kind Of Person Would Make A Good Physiotherapist Assistant?

No two people are alike, of course, but in general the ideal physiotherapist assistant candidate has excellent people skills and is able to work with many different types of clients.

He/her makes a living persuading people to do things that may feel frightening, uncomfortable, or even flat out painful. Therefore, the physiotherapist assistant needs imagination, intelligence, and an ability to engage even the most challenging patients.

The physiotherapist assistant also requires good communication skills so he or she can act as a liaison between the patient and the primary physiotherapist.

Finally, since the assistant is the person who has the most "hands on" contact with the patient, he or she needs to be observant. Does the patient seem more tired or uncomfortable than usual? Is his or her skin cold and clammy? Does a patient who normally follows requests suddenly not seem to understand what he/her is saying? All of these factors are valuable observations that the health care team needs to know about.

If you are interested in a career as a physiotherapist assistant, start looking for opportunities in the "help wanted" section of your local newspaper. This may be exactly the job you've been waiting to find!


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