- This job allows you to start earning a decent income right after finishing your bachelors or masters.
- You can easily maintain a work-life balance by tailoring it to your needs since the duration and number of hours/days you want to work are largely up to you.
- Whereas other professions are facing saturation, physiotherapy is just starting to expand and has a lot of untapped potentials. In addition, it offers you a wide variety of fields to specialize in as nearly all medical branches require physiotherapists.
- One of the primary challenges a physiotherapist faces when working in a hospital is that they are under the authority of other doctors; which is why having an independent practice is always preferable since that allows you to collaborate with doctors and have clients of your own.
- Being a physiotherapist entails manual labor like sitting down on the ground and working with patients first hand, it’s not a white-collar job where you can simply sit and write prescriptions; as such the wellbeing of the patients should come before your professional pride. Many newcomers don’t like getting their hands dirty and therefore aren’t happy in this profession.
- Also, this is not a field where more years of experience means a commensurate growth in income.
Name – Dr. Angelina Dias
Profession – Physiotherapist
Age – 38
Gender – Female
City – Nagpur
Industry – Healthcare
Please tell us something about yourself.
I was born and raised in Bangalore. My mother was a nurse and father a businessman. I have two elder brothers, one of them is a lab technologist and the other one works for Bausch and Lomb.
Who all had the most influence on you and how?
Although I got a seat in MBBS, I didn’t want to blindly jump into that so, I did a lot of research, see what the scope for the future was and concluded that doing MBBS or dentistry would require a long time. This was also the time when I lost my father, so I wanted to work in a very systematic way meaning that I wanted to earn fast and at the same time have a professional skill that ensured I wasn’t dependent on anyone or any particular company. Physiotherapy fulfilled all these criteria for me and that’s how I got into it.
Please give us a summary of your career, chronologically, including organization names and your role/designation.
After finishing my bachelors of physiotherapy from Kempegowda Institute of Science, I started my own private practice. Since that didn’t really pick up at that time, I then moved to Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Nagpur for two years. Then I joined Raisoni College where I taught for five years. After that, I was with Wockhardt Hospital for 10 years after which I once again decided to open up my private practice where I’m currently working.
Which institutes are best for the education/training of physiotherapy?
Since I’m from south India, I know more about colleges on this side of the country. Kempegowda Institute of Sciences is a good college for physiotherapy. Then there is Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, which is considered to be one of the best. Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore is another good one.
What are the costs associated with the education/training of physiotherapy?
In my days since I went to semi-government college, it did not cost much, it came down to around INR 7000/- per annum, but keep in mind this was 15–17 years back.
What are the typical entry-level jobs in physiotherapy?
One option is having your independent practice right from the get-go or you can be a freelancer and go to different hospitals. You can also choose to do home-services, work in a specific hospital, you can even teach in a college albeit now it has become compulsory that you need to do your PG if you want to teach. This was not a restriction earlier. But suffice to say there are a great many options for beginners.
What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?
For someone who’s just starting, the salary varies depending on your location/city; metropolitan cities usually have relatively higher income prospects.
For people who earn more than 80,000 INR per month, they get more into the administrative side of things as well; like they’ll have done masters in hospital administration or something similar so it’s not just physiotherapy anymore. Also, this is not a field where more years of experience means a commensurate growth in income.
Please describe your work as a physiotherapist.
I work 6 days a week, with Sundays off. My workdays are bifurcated into morning and evening sessions; I have my morning sessions where I see patients from 10 to 2 and then the evening sessions from 5–8pm.
What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider a career in physiotherapy?
People are starting to appreciate the importance of rehab and physiotherapy a lot more than they used to, so this profession is quite in demand these days.
Specializations in this field like sports physiotherapy are very lucrative.
Also, this job allows you the luxury of quick earning right after your bachelors compared to medical, which require years and years of studying.
The last one would be that while most other professions are almost at their saturation point these days, but when it comes to physiotherapy, you have a plethora of options because it is required everywhere be it neurology, orthopedics, cardiology etc. Physiotherapists are needed in nearly all branches of medicine.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?
One of the biggest challenges in India is that there isn’t sufficient awareness about physical rehab, people tend to think just getting the surgery is enough when that is clearly not the case.
Another practical challenge that physiotherapists face when they work in hospitals is the status quo. There is a very set hierarchy which places physiotherapists at the bottom, they are assumed to work under the doctors and not with them, consequently, there is always some friction when working in an organization and you end up feeling suppressed. This is why most physiotherapists prefer to work independently and collaborate with hospitals and even the doctors seem to respect these physiotherapists more than their in-house ones.
What kind of person would be happy in your career?
In this line of work, you should be extremely humble and prepared to work as a laborer; it’s not the sort of white-collar job where you’re simply sitting and writing out prescriptions. You may have to sit down on the ground with patients and hold their feet or if you’re doing chest physiotherapy and someone throws-up, you have to take care of them in a respectful manner.
The well-being of patients should always take precedence over your pride. I see a lot of beginners, who feel embarrassed to do these things, so you need to have that drive to help people and have a clear idea about where your priorities lie to be good at your job.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
Yes, I did want to be a neurosurgeon, but at the time when I was choosing my profession, I had different priorities. Even now I always say after I’m 40, I’ll do MBBS and take up surgery, so fingers crossed.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
I would tell them that this job has a lot of potentials which has been underestimated by people. If you do come into this line of work, don’t depend on others to employ you. You should rather aim to start your practice.
If you liked this article, you may also like to check out our conversation with Mrs. Satya Gogineni (Indian origin Physical Therapist in Jamaica, West Indies)