I have a confession to make. When I was accepted into physiotherapy over 25 years ago, I had no idea what they did. I also have to confess that physiotherapy at the time was my consolation prize for not getting into medicine after trying a couple of times to better my Year 12 score. I’m embarrassed to say I really didn’t want to be there.
Read further to find out that getting into physiotherapy was one of the best accidental life decisions I have ever made.
I was 19 years old and while excited to finally be out of the stifling, micro-managed environment of high-school, University was extremely daunting. I was amongst some of the smartest young adults in my cohort and these people were driven to succeed. The sheer volume of information we learnt every week was overwhelming and I have to admit at times, I struggled to keep up. Thankfully a wonderful family friend who was also a physio lecturer at the University of South Australia kept me on track, reminding me how much I would “spread my wings” once I graduated.
I never realised how many things a physio can help with, from the more well-known avenues of sports and musculoskeletal injuries to the less obvious, like cardio-respiratory and neurological conditions, paediatrics and women’s health. We covered it all over the four year period. We studied full time and it was not unusual to spend 35-40 contact hours at lectures, tutorials and practicals, not to mention the endless hours spent practising like crazy every technique we needed to perform to pass exams and competently treat our patients.
My mentor was right. I fell in love with my career as a physio almost as soon as I graduated and still remain so, after 21 years of practice. My passion for physio these days extends beyond the walls of our ever-growing private practice, Physio Pilates Proactive, as I have enjoyed being part of the South Australian Branch Council of our professional body, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA). I am also on an Advisory Panel for undergraduates at the University of South Australia (talk about full circle!) as well as belonging to the APA’s New Graduate and Physiotherapy Business Australia committees.
To maintain my skill level, knowledge of up-to-date research and physiotherapy registration, I am required to undertake a minimum of 20 hours per year of professional development. I don’t know many physios who would do less than 50; with courses, online training programs, journal reading, case study discussion, lecture evenings, in-service presentations and even social media pages (there are some great, highly reputable ones out there!), the list is endless. Physiotherapists are one of the most respected health professions amongst our peers due to our high level of training, safety standards and stringent registration requirements. On top of this, the current ATAR score sits around 98 meaning you are getting some of the highest academic students from high-school graduating every year.
Added to this package are our communication skills and setting a good example. Physios are generally a social bunch who enjoy meeting new people, are genuinely empathetic to our patients’ conditions and feel passionate about helping them. We also tend to practise what we preach, “walking the walk” and leading relatively healthy lives (we might enjoy the odd wine and some chocolate from time to time!).
In a sea of healthcare choices, it can sometimes be hard to discern the best type of treatment for an injury, condition or simply wanting to improve your general health. There are many less qualified individuals who will happily take your money offering unrealistic outcomes, under delivering on their promises or at worst, exacerbating your problem. I urge you to check out a brilliant website, https://choose.physio/ which thoroughly encapsulates all that we can do. You may be surprised about how many things we are qualified to treat and our profession is underpinned by a strong background of evidence-based practice.
I choose physio and I hope you do too!
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