Health services, in general, undoubtedly is an aspect of human endeavor, which comes with a lot of responsibilities and commitment as well as professionalism. Specifically and with respect to human physiotherapy, much emphasis is laid on personality, skills, expertise, and professional training. Because physiotherapists work on human health by ensuring that they restore body disorders, this makes their job more challenging and sensitive. It is therefore essential that—would be—physiotherapists should understand the professional and personality requirements of the profession and how best to handle their clients.
Who is a physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a professional who helps to restore dysfunctional body systems as it affects the brain and nervous system; the bones, joints and body tissues; the heart and blood circulation as well as the respiratory system. Also, physiotherapists help in the rehabilitation process of those who suffer physical problems caused by injury, illness, surgery, or aging.
In addition, physiotherapists are health professionals who assess and treat people with a wide range of physical problems which impact on their general body movement and functioning.
How to become a physiotherapist
To become a physiotherapist, an individual must do and have the following:
1. Be educated and well trained:
This implies that for anyone aspiring to become a professional physiotherapist, he or she must be admitted into a reputable university or institution of higher learning to earn a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT). The duration of the program is usually 3 to 4 years after which the aspiring candidate can go for a month of compulsory training. After successful training, a physiotherapist can practice at state-owned hospitals or set up a private firm or go for higher specialized courses such as Community Physiotherapy (M.PT), Neuro-physiotherapy (M.P.T), M.P.T (sport), etc.
It is also essential that a physiotherapist registers with the respective medical councils to become an affiliate member before he or she can practice.
2. Personality and skills:
Apart from educational requirements, a good physiotherapist must have the following skills and personality traits:
- a) Interest in anatomy and physiology:
To become a good physiotherapist, one must take an interest in understanding the body structure (anatomy) and body chemistry (physiology) and the way they work together to support the functioning of the body. An interest in human anatomy and physiology position someone to become a good physiotherapist.
b) Excellent communication skills:
Communication is crucial in getting a task done or in achieving the desired outcome between two or more people. Communication can be written or unwritten, spoken or gesticulated; or through signs and symbols. A good communication skill, most notably through body movement or gesture, will help someone to be an excellent communicator. For instance, a good physiotherapist will decode a feeling of comfort (relieve) or pain in his or her client through facial expression, body movement, or body disposition. He or she also knows when a client approves or disapproves his or her methods.
Therapy can sometimes take a long duration to be completed, especially when a client had suffered a severe injury illness or recuperating from an intense surgical operation. To this end, patience is crucial in order to restore such a person (client) to normalcy. So, patience is key to becoming a good physiotherapist because a professional can be bombarded with many complaints and therapy sessions at restoring the full health of his or her client. Most employers of physiotherapists such as Pillars of wellness often lookout for this attribute in applicants before giving them the job
To become a physiotherapist, one must be able to work in a team (with others). Physiotherapists are not doctors neither do they prescribe, administer drugs nor give an injection, but they assess patients based on information collected by doctors and other specialists to create a treatment program which may include body exercise, manual therapy, ultrasound therapy, etc.
e) Problem- solving skills:
Possessing problem-solving skills will help mold anyone into becoming a good physiotherapist. These skills take into consideration specific steps that need to be taken to address a patient’s problem (health challenges). These are: defining the issue of the client, generating alternatives to the problem, evaluating and selecting the best option or solution to the problem, and implementation of the approved resolution.
f) Empathy and firmness:
To become a good physiotherapist, one must be able to put himself or herself into the position of the patient in order to show care. Also, exhibiting some level of firmness or control is necessary for administering therapy. When empathy has overtaken professionalism (firmness and control), patient or client may not get the desired result.
g) Good relationship:
A good relationship with a patient and family members will engender trust and openness. This can further bring more information to assist a patient for quick recovery. Therefore, keeping a good relationship is key to becoming a physiotherapist.
h) Time and pressure management:
Understanding time management also helps one to become a physiotherapist. Therapy sessions have a time frame. One must be conscious of the time allotted to each session and the time to take a break (rest). Also, the ability to work under pressure by remaining comport helps to become a good physiotherapist.
In conclusion, to become a physiotherapist, the educational qualification and training, as well as the personality, must be put into consideration. This is because the profession requires enormous responsibility and tenacity.