Physiotherapy, also known as Physical Therapy, is a branch of medicine dedicated to the repair and restoration of physical mobility of patients that have suffered some form of physical trauma. Physiotherapists use extensive knowledge of human anatomy as well as special tools and aids (e.g. bars, balls, and other exercise machines) in order to create series of repetitive movements aimed towards alleviating pain and mobility restrictions derived from injuries and illnesses.
The vast majority of Physiotherapists work in hospitals, clinics, and other health centres dedicated to this specialty. However, like many branches of Medicine, Physiotherapy has its own subcategories, which vary depending on the source of the trauma and the different types of treatment that are required for each. Some specializations available include Sports, Geriatric, Orthopedic, and Neurologic Physiotherapy. Therefore, it is common for specialized Physiotherapists to work in close proximity to their usual patients, in sports clubs or retirement homes, for example. Self-employment is also a common form of work for professionals in this field.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Physiotherapists are required to complete.
- Designing and implementing a treatment plan for individual patients aimed towards alleviating pains and restoring their physical mobility:
- Reading and analyzing Physician referrals in order to assign the best treatment;
- performing an initial evaluation of the patient’s mobility;
- designing a treatment program that may last weeks in order to rehabilitate the patient;
- assisting patients to perform different forms of exercise designed to help them regain mobility;
- instructing patients and their families on exercises and routines that can be done at home in order to improve results;
- keeping records of their patients’ improvements, prognosis, and goals achieved;
- conferring with medical professionals in order to assess the therapy’s progress and redesign programs when needed; and
- discharging patients once treatment has reached the expected goals.
- Keeping up-to-date with the latest techniques, achievements, and treatments in Physiotherapy:
- Attending and holding professional seminars, conferences, and congresses with other professionals of their field in order to share new methods and treatments.
- Receiving new patients and analyzing their medical history in order to design an appropriate treatment plan.
- Providing treatment to patients following a pre-established program and Physician instructions or recommendations.
- Keeping track and records of patients’ treatments, improvement, and prognosis.
- Evaluating the progress of each patient until the treatment plan is fulfilled.
The average Physiotherapist salary in Canada is $64,938 per year or $33 per hour. This is around 2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $45,000 while most experienced workers make up to $91,000. These results are based on 465 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication, and counselling skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a comforting and transparent environment with patients and their relatives, providing answers to their questions and addressing their concerns;
- being able to convey clear instructions to patients regarding their treatments; and
- displaying strong customer service skills, setting high standards of patient care and safety, treating every patient with dignity and respect.
- Strong sense of empathy, compassion, and altruism:
- Demonstrating sensitivity to individual needs of patients; and
- displaying an inherent ability to make others feel cared about.
- High levels of manual dexterity, motor coordination, and physical strength:
- Displaying exceptional attention to detail and good hand skills, having outstanding hand-eye coordination;
- possessing enough physical strength to lift and carry patients when necessary; and
- assisting and often carrying patients with low or limited mobility.
- Exceptional professionalism and strong work ethic.
- Great sense of dedication, commitment, responsibility and reliability.
In order to become a Physiotherapist, aspirants must complete a specialized college or university program in Physical Therapy. These programs are available in several accredited academic institutions throughout the country and are usually four to five years long. Once completed, aspirants must then pass the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE), which is offered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) to eligible applicants that have completed college or university level education and which is a requisite to obtain their licence.
Besides licensing, registration is mandatory for all Physiotherapists in Canada. Each province and territory has their own governing body in charge of regulating the activities of all professionals of this area. A list of the provincial and territorial regulators can be found here.
Applicants from Quebec do not need to take the PCE in order to be registered, as all Physiotherapeutic activities in Quebec are regulated by the Ordre Professionnel de la Physiothérapie du Québec or (OPPQ). The OPPQ has its own requirements for prospective Physiotherapists to obtain their licence and registration. Professionals registered in the OPPQ may also practise their profession in any other province or territory. The requirements to obtain a licence by the OPPQ can be found here.