March 17, 2014, by Anne S

10 things I wish someone had told me before I started studying Physiotherapy

Blaithin Hadjisophocleous shares her wisdom from studying Physiotherapy.

My last visit home was my last holiday as a Physiotherapy student. Sat at the dining table with my family, I thought about how, two and a half years later, they now have a better idea of what physiotherapy is all about – they have stopped asking me for massages and started to ask for my professional opinion and advice on all sorts of aches and pains they have. The truth is, they’re not the only ones who misunderstand the concept of Physiotherapy – it was definitely not what I expected when starting this degree.

The good, the bad, and everything in between – here’s what I wish someone had told me three years ago:

  1. There’s more to Physiotherapy than sport and massaging rugby players – the truth is this doesn’t even scratch the surface.
  2. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of work you will be faced with in first year, never mind the daily 9am lectures… But the amount of practical work and innovative learning styles will keep you intrigued from the start until the very end of the day.
  3. Placements can be hard both physically and emotionally but you will meet some of the most inspiring, fascinating people and by the end of the shift you’ll be longing to tell your friends all about your working day!
  4. Bring fancy dress outfits.
  5. You WILL have to deal with cadavers.
  6. Anatomy is literally learning a completely new language.
  7. Practising physio on your classmates hardly simulates real patients. Don’t panic if you don’t get it right first time round – most of what you learn comes from clinical placements.
  8. The majority of exams are oral, so study in groups and revise by repeating it all out loud.
  9. You will become a hypochondriac and believe you are coming down with every disease in the book – don’t worry, it’s normal!
  10. You will become the health professional of the house and be expected to be able to answer questions concerning every mysterious illness and successfully treat all sorts of aches and pains.

So hang in there! The hard work and dedication pays off in the end when you’re finally part of such a rewarding, innovative and compassionate profession as physiotherapy.

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