Wanted: a pair of healing hands

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 12:00am

Requirements: A physiotherapist has to talk to a lot of patients every day to find out what they need and provide suitable therapy, so good communication skills are essential.

It is also important to be observant because most initial diagnoses are made by observing a patient's movements.

Physiotherapists also need to be physically fit to help the patients exercise and demonstrate correct posture.

Qualifications: The only Hong Kong institution currently offering a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy is Polytechnic University.

Luckily, graduates with a physiotherapy degree from overseas universities are also recognised in Hong Kong.

Average salary: Physiotherapist salaries start at around HK$15,000 to HK$20,000. Senior therapists can make around HK$60,000 to HK$70,000.

Work prospects: The main duty of a physiotherapist is to help patients recover from physical injuries. A wide variety of patients see physiotherapists, from elderly people with weakening muscles to athletes who suffer from sports-related injuries.

A physiotherapist should learn about a patient's lifestyle to understand how the injury occurred, and then work with the patient to prevent it happening again in the future.

He or she must teach patients how to exercise correctly and how to move their bodies to prevent further injuries.

Patients usually see a physiotherapist a number of times while they are recovering, and the therapist will closely monitor each stage of their recovery.

Physiotherapists work mainly in the clinic with their patients. But there are also out-of-office duties like following a sports team to provide on-field treatment and going into offices to assess whether the working environment is healthy for employees, and provide consultations and recommendations.

Long-term prospects: As a physiotherapist becomes more experienced, he or she will become more involved in management and administrative duties and less involved with patients.

Some physiotherapists go on to open their own clinics or to lectures in universities.

Where to apply: Hospital Authority, elderly homes and private clinics.