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Occupation Details

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Physiotherapist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
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Job Training
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Job Zone Examples
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€33k > 59 
Physiotherapist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€33 - 59 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
HSE.ie

Last Updated: April, 2014

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
9%
Occupational Category

Physiotherapists

Also included in this category:

Physiotherapists; physiotherapy practitioners

Number Employed:

3,200

Part time workers: 26%
Aged over 55: 5%
Male / Female: 24 / 76%
Non-Nationals: 6%
With Third Level: 98%
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At a Glance... header image

Treats patients recovering from illness or injury using massage and exercise.


The Work header image

Physiotherapists work with people with sport injuries or accident injuries. They work to rebuild the muscle and strengthen limbs. A doctor usually refers clients to the physiotherapist, who then assesses their capabilities and decides on the most appropriate treatment. Initial assessment is made using referral notes and consulting the patients.  
 
Where necessary, other health care specialists, such as occupational therapists are also consulted. Physiotherapists then use physical tests, such as measuring the range of movement and the girth of limbs to determine muscle wastage.  
 
Physiotherapists treat a wide range of different people with a variety of needs. Patients may be amputees, stroke patients, children with severe disabilities, pre- or post-operative patients, or those with psychiatric problems. Some, such as intensive care patients, are very ill, while others suffer from minor injuries.  
 
Exercises may be devised and taught to develop balance, strengthen weak muscles or help patients to relax.  
 
Physiotherapists may also select aids, such as crutches or wheelchairs, and teach patients how to use them.  
 
Although most clients are seen on an individual basis, group therapy can be useful in teaching them how to overcome or prevent common problems such as weakness in the knees, ankles and back.  
 
Health education and the prevention of injury and illness are increasingly important. For example, highlighting relaxation techniques and developing exercise programmes for pregnant women is something that a physiotherapist might do. They also specialise in areas such as manipulation, sports injuries, intellectual disability, research and education.

 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.

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Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.

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Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.

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Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.

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Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.

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Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.

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Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.

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Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.

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Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.

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Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Assisting and Caring for Others:  Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

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Handling and Moving Objects:  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Documenting/Recording Information:  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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Thinking Creatively:  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

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Performing for or Working Directly with the Public:  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Medicine and Dentistry:  Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

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Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Psychology:  Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

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Therapy and Counseling:  Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

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Biology:  Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Social Perceptiveness:   Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Service Orientation:   Actively looking for ways to help people.

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Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Instructing:   Teaching others how to do something.

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Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Good interpersonal and communication skills are required for this job. You need to be patient, sympathetic and firm, in order to help clients who may be anxious or frightened and reluctant to perform difficult or painful exercises.  
 
You must be able to encourage, reassure and persuade patients of the ultimate benefits of their treatment. You'll need to be skilled in listening, explaining and report writing.  Time managment skills are also required to manage a busy appointment schedule.
 
Ideally, you should be physically fit and have an interest in science and physical education.


Entry Routesheader image

To become a Chartered Physiotherapist you must:

1. Complete a recognised three or four year undergraduate university degree course (or a 2 year accelerated entry to practice MSc) which includes at a minimum 1,000 hours of clinical practice

2. Be accepted as a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

3. Undertake continuous professional development.

 

Undergraduate route

B.Sc. in Physiotherapy Degree Programmes (4-year Level 8) are available to school leavers at:

  • Trinity College Dublin (TR053) 
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RC004) 
  • University of Limerick (LM100) and
  • University College Dublin (DN420)

FE/QQI Route

Coláiste Íde offer a Pre-University Physiotherapy course at QQI/FETAC Level-6.

Postgraduate Route 

There is one postgraduate entry course in Ireland - the 2-year MSc.Physiotherapy (pre-registration) at UCD. Minimum 2.1 primary degree in a relevant subject area is required for entry. Graduates of this programme are eligible to apply for membership of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.

Note for Irish physiotherapy students studying outside the Republic of Ireland

Irish physiotherapy students studying outside the Republic of Ireland should be aware that they find it extremely difficult to obtain a clinical placement in an Irish public health facility as part of their undergraduate training. Please note that the following is HSE policy:

Priority for Placements of undergraduate physiotherapists in Irish Public Health System PROTOCOL Priority will be given for students in the following agreed courses:

  • BSc in Occupational Therapy – TCD, NUIG, UCC
  • MSc in Occupational Therapy – UL
  • BSc in Physiotherapy – UCD, TCD, RCSI, UL
  • BSc in Speech and Language Therapy – TCD, NUIG, UCC
  • MSc in Speech and Language Therapy – UL

Consideration requires to be given to the following:

a. Irish citizens studying outside the Republic of Ireland

b. Additional courses

c. Northern Ireland and UK students

d. Other EU and international requests”

Source: Ruaidhri O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists Royal College of Surgeons. March 2016

Physiotherapist v Physical Therapist

Confusion sometimes arises, especially for students trying to choose college courses, between the occupation and professional titles of 'physiotherapist' and 'physical therapist'. In most other countries the terms are interchangeable, however, in Ireland they refer to two different levels of qualification and clinical expertise.

According to The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, the professional body representing physiotherapists in Ireland,  Chartered Physiotherapists have a four-year full-time degree and 1,000 hours of clinical placement in public health services as part of that degree programme and also have expertise in musculoskeletal, cardio-respiratory and neurological conditions. In Ireland, a Physical Therapist does not have training in neurological conditions and work outside the public health system. There are also varied levels of training. In general, their clinical practice is limited to musculoskeletal conditions.

CORU, the Health and Social Care Professional Council which is the State organisation that manages the official register of healthcare professionals is currently in the process of setting up the register for physiotherapists in Ireland, and will have to decide whether both physiotherapists and physical therapists will be included and, if so, what the minimum educational qualifications and clinical experience for the profession will be.

 

Last Updated: March, 2016


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Physiotherapist - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Physiotherapist - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Physiotherapist - from:  GradIreland
Go..Physiotherapy Assistant - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

bullet

Organisation: Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists
  Address: Royal College of Surgeons, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 402 2148
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

bullet

Organisation: Health Service Executive (HSE)
  Address: Dr Steevens' Hospital, Steevens Lane, Dublin, 8
  Tel: 01 635 2000
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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