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5 things I wanted to know before becoming a physical therapist

Misconceptions about physical therapy

The vast majority of young colleagues before they start training as physiotherapists do not really have a clear idea of what a physiotherapist does, where you can get a job and what this job will look like ultimately.

The sphere of work of physiotherapists is very extensive and complex and it is necessary to understand well in which direction you want to be educated and in which subspecialization of physiotherapy you ultimately want to work. 

In this blog we will write about the 5 most common misconceptions that we personally had and that we noticed that most young colleagues have when they are just starting their education as physiotherapists. 

Questionnaire
a physical therapist is not a masseur.

1. Physiotherapist is a masseur

This is certainly the most common misconception that colleagues who have not yet started official physical therapist education have. 

This is also a big misconception that the vast majority of patients have because they are not sufficiently educated about the sphere of work of physiotherapists as medical professionals. 

We would honestly say that massage is not actually part of the job as a physiotherapist, but part of the job of an educated masseuse. Physiotherapists often do this part of the job because it is the easiest way to earn money and the easiest way to attract clients. 

A physiotherapist is not a masseuse and a physiotherapist's job description is definitely not a massage! 

2. It is easy to find a job as a physiotherapist

This may have been true a long time ago, but today it is far from the truth. 

You will primarily have a problem finding a traineeship, as a large part of colleagues today have, and consequently you will have a problem getting a physical therapist license because you have not completed the traineeship. 

Physiotherapists are definitely lacking in hospitals and similar institutions, but the fact is that budgets in state institutions are extremely small and physiotherapists are not seen as essential staff that need to be in adequate numbers. 

Nowadays, a job as a physiotherapist is definitely not easy to get. 

best physiotherapist in Zagreb
Physiotherapist in sport

3. Sports clubs are paying well

We believe that a good part of young physiotherapists imagine themselves in famous football, basketball, handball and similar clubs and national teams and see this job as something glamorous and luxurious that will provide you for a lifetime. 

This is unfortunately far from the truth and these are also parts of the profession that are very often extremely underpaid and anything but exclusive and glamorous. 

The vast majority of sports clubs and even national teams view physiotherapists as a necessary evil and pay them the minimum they need to keep them at the club because most of them must legally have physiotherapists or athletes want them. 

Of course, there are exceptions here, such as big sports clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City, which are very difficult to break into, and in order to ever work for them, a lot of things have to match up in your career. 

A job in a sports club is in most cases NOT well paid and not as glamorous as you imagine.

4. At the hospital, they'll appreciate me as an expert

This may be a specific situation for the Republic of Croatia, but we believe that at least in other countries of the former Yugoslavia the situation is very similar because we are in constant contact with our colleagues from these areas. 

Unfortunately, a culture has been created in hospitals in which physiotherapists are seen as a necessary evil and in some cases even errands who perform therapies for doctors that doctors do not want or do not know how to perform independently. 

For this reason, hospitals treat physiotherapists in a very bad way and working in hospitals is an extremely unpleasant experience for most colleagues. 

Of course, physiotherapists in hospitals do a very big job without which rehabilitation would not exist, but we do not believe that we have to explain this to you as a young physiotherapist. 

In the vast majority of cases in hospitals you will not be appreciated as an expert and sometimes you will feel even disrespected. 

physiotherapist in the hospital
Geriatric physiotherapy

5. I'm gonna open my own clinic and get rich

In theory, this is a very good idea, which, unfortunately, is sometimes difficult to achieve in practice. 

Primarily, in order to open your clinic, you must have extensive previous experience in physiotherapy assessment or diagnosis, you must have previously examined and rehabilitated a large number of patients, and you must know a wide enough range of diagnostic and rehabilitation techniques to guide the patient through all stages of rehabilitation. 

So it takes years of experience working with patients to make sure that you can perform the physiotherapy assessment and rehabilitation process on your own. 

If you have that experience and open your private clinic with adequate knowledge, there are chances that you will not do marketing well enough so people will not recognize you, you will be in a worse location where you will not be able to attract a lot of clients or simply an independent job will not suit you and will create too much stress. 

Always count on the fact that the vast majority of patients will go to only a few of the best physiotherapists in your town or village. 

It is possible to open your own office, but having a successful office is not easy. 

5 things to know before becoming a physical therapist

1. A physiotherapist is not a masseuse and a physiotherapist's job description is definitely not a massage. 

2. Nowadays, a job as a physiotherapist is definitely not easy to get. 

3. The job at sports clubs in most cases is not well paid and is not as glamorous as you imagine.

4. In the vast majority of cases in hospitals you will not be appreciated as an expert and sometimes you will feel even disrespected. 

5. It is possible to open your own private clinic, but having a successful clinic is not easy. 

Summary
Conclusion

Then how do we proceed?

Primary we would advise you to have realistic expectations regarding the physiotherapy profession and work. 

Secondary but most importantly, we would advise you to educate yourself as quickly as possible and as much as possible! Additional education will increase your value in the market and will enable you to earn significantly more. 

In the Physioverse Academy we bring only the world's best experts with whom you can learn many top techniques in a high quality, fast , and practical way. 

The third thing what we would advise you is to choose well the path of education and work that will bring you the fastest and highest quality results and knowledge. 

Do not go to training techniques that you will never personally apply because you do not work with such patients. 

Also, do not work in institutions where you will regress as an expert and you will not use the maximum of your abilities. 

Next we advise you to read the following article: How to start additional training for physiotherapists?

Bsc. PT. Toni Marić

Bsc. PT. Toni Marić

Tony is a BSc. PT, owner of Ad Sacrum practice and director of Physioverse Academy, has been following elite athletes for years and teaches International courses for physiotherapists and other rehabilitation professionals.

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