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Duties & Responsibilities of a Physiotherapist

Updated April 17, 2017

Working with patients in need of physical rehabilitation, a physiotherapist performs a variety of tasks to assist in their recovery. A candidate must possess at least a 4-year degree in order to work in this profession. Many employers, however, will only consider those with a graduate level degree. Additionally, those in this profession must be licensed to practice within their state of employment. Career website College Crunch indicated that in 2010, physiotherapists earn a median income of £43,030.

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Patient Assessment

First and foremost, a physiotherapist performs a complete assessment of patient's case. This includes a thorough review of the patient's medical history obtained through medical records and asking questions regarding relevant details about the conditions of injuries. The physiotherapist may also confer with appropriate medical professionals to effectively determine the best possible course of action for rehabilitation.

Additionally, a physiotherapist performs a myriad of tests on the patient. In addition to standard blood work, tests may be run to assess the heart, muscles, nerves and equilibrium. The results of these tests are examined to properly diagnose the issues at hand.

Recovery Plan

Once the assessment is complete and all issues are diagnosed, a physiotherapist develops a complete plan of recovery for the patient. This plan may consist of many activities aimed at rehabilitating the patient.

Exercises and special movement to be performed on a consistent basis may be prescribed, in addition to massage regimes and traction. For specific needs, such as the prescription of medication, a physiotherapist may refer the patient to other professionals in order to ensure that the patient receives all the care that is needed for recovery.


A major component of the job of a physiotherapist is counselling. People embark on physical rehabilitation for a multitude of reasons. Some must regain motor skills following an illness or ailment that causes them to be lost. Others, perhaps victims of accidents, must learn to cope and function with a total loss of certain movements, such is the case with paraplegics. In these instances, patients may become unmotivated and, in some cases, even depressed. It is important for a physiologist to be an excellent counsellor when dealing with these patients, assisting them in working through their emotional issues. Successful rehabilitation requires that a patient be motivated to make improvements. A physiotherapist may even refer patients to mental health professionals in more extreme cases.

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About the Author

KJ Henderson

KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.

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