Massaging a patient to improve flexibility
Physiotherapists assess, treat and prevent disorders in human movement caused by injury and disease.
Duties and Tasks
Physiotherapists may perform the following tasks:
- assess the physical condition of patients to diagnose problems and plan appropriate treatment
- use a range of techniques to strengthen and stretch muscles and joints to improve patient mobility (such as massage, hydrotherapy, breathing and relaxation techniques)
- perform spinal and peripheral joint mobilisation and manipulation
- use equipment such as heat packs, exercise equipment, ice packs, ultrasound and electrotherapy to ease pain, reduce swelling and improve range of movement
- retrain patients to walk or to use devices such as walking frames, splints, crutches and wheelchairs
- educate patients, their families and the community to prevent injury and disability and to lead healthy lifestyles
- plan and implement community fitness programs
- maintain patient records.
Further into their career, physiotherapists can choose to practise in specific areas such as muscle and skeletal conditions, women's health, aged care, chest conditions, occupational health and safety, sports injuries, babies and young children, problems of the nervous system and spinal injuries, administration, education or research.
School subjects that include some aspect of physical education provide a useful background to these jobs. In some cases a physical education subject is a pre-requisite for entry to courses that provide the training for the job.
School subjects that include some aspect of PHYSICS provide a useful background to these jobs. In some cases a physics-related subject is a pre-requisite for entry to courses that provide the training for the job.
Use of precision or semi-precision tools or instruments or deft hand movements are required for these occupations. Included are jobs where poor co-ordination or incomplete use of hands or fingers may make tasks dangerous or difficult to undertake.
These jobs require you to be able to see clearly to examine items close-up. It covers jobs where poor vision e.g. tunnel vision, could make the work place unsafe or the job difficult to undertake, e.g. draftsperson working with detailed drawings; checkout operator reading dockets; work requiring good hand-eye co-ordination for working with precision or semi-precision tools.
Workers performing these jobs would usually be expected to spend more than three-quarters of their day indoors, in an office, factory or other enclosed area protected from the weather.
The main duties and tasks involved in these jobs require daily physical exertion, such as bending and twisting, lifting, climbing, pulling, pushing, carrying or other effort where physical fitness is required. People with heart, back or other conditions who should avoid physical strain may wish to avoid these jobs.
These jobs require moderate or better reading and writing skills. Workers may be expected to prepare, understand or act on written materials, such as letters or reports. People may wish to avoid these jobs if their reading or writing English skills are limited to a small range of words or phrases and symbols. Jobs remaining may still require very basic reading or writing skills.
Included are jobs providing health care diagnosis and treatment, such as general medicine, pharmacy, optometry, radiography, speech therapy, dental health, etc. Also covered are community and welfare services, such as social work, family and children services, and counselling, and personal services such as hairdressing and funeral services.
These jobs involve WORKING WITH IDEAS to investigate or seek solutions to scientific, technical, social or other issues. Activities include observing, researching, analysing and interpreting results. The ability to develop theories, apply logic and explore abstract ideas in a specialist area of knowledge is important.
These jobs involve WORKING WITH PEOPLE, to help, inform, teach or treat them. Activities include discussing personal issues, listening to people's problems, and providing advice, instruction, information or treatment to meet their needs.
These jobs involve WORKING WITH THINGS, using the hands, or special tools or equipment to make, fix, install or adjust them. Activities include doing practical and physical tasks, and may require an understanding of how equipment or machinery works.
Jobs in this group usually require completion of a recognised Bachelor Degree, or extensive relevant experience. Some jobs also require post-graduate study, such as a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master Degree.
Physiotherapists may work as part of a healthcare team, independently in private practice, within the school system or as industry consultants.
- genuine interest in people
- good health
- able to cope with the physical demands of the job
- problem-solving skills
- good communication skills.
Working on a patient's balance and posture
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