Insights:

  1. Physiotherapy (Paramedical profession) gives immense satisfaction in helping people with physical limitations and impairments and contributing to get them back to their normal or near-normal state.
  2. It demands high knowledge of anatomy. One should have a good grip in prescribing different exercises and applying various techniques and modalities in achieving positive results from the patients.
  3. As any medical profession, it also demands you to update yourself with the latest techniques and developments within the medical field.
  4. West Indies Cricket team used my services from 2013 to 2015.
  5. Physiotherapy clinic could be established at a low cost in comparison to a proper medical center. The income and rewards are far better as the investment is low.
  6. The visa procedure and work permit scenario are not as complicated in Jamaica as it is in the USA.

Profile Details

Name – Satya Gogineni

Profession – Physical Therapist

Age – 39

Gender – Female

City – Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies

Industry – Healthcare

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. I went to NSM Public school and did my pre-degree at Siddartha Mahila Kalasala, Vijayawada. Then I received my Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from SRM College of Physiotherapy, Chennai.

My father was a Railway Contractor. My mother worked for State Endowments department. She took voluntary retirement to take care of her children.

I have an elder sister, who pursued her engineering and settled in Hyderabad. My brother works for a private organization at Vijayawada. I grew up in a joint family, where I enjoyed the love of both my paternal and maternal grandmothers. My husband is also a physiotherapist, who works for Jamaica state government hospital facility. He also runs his own consultancy in Kingston city.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

I give credit to my mother for my physical well-being and successful career. She always believed in the adage “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. My Mom always dreamt of giving her children a good education. She wanted to see me stand on my own to support myself and my family.

My second mentor is my husband, who is also a Physical therapist. He is not only my soul mate but also a very good friend. He taught me to be independent and confident in what I do.

Apart from them, I have a few Jamaican friends whose association made me understand the ‘Universal Brotherhood’ in its true sense.

Please give us a summary of your career.

Soon after my graduation, I started as a Consultant Physical Therapist at Vajrala Sivakumar Neuro Center, Vijayawada. Later, along with my future life partner, I established our own consultancy “Gogineni Physiotherapy clinic” at Vijayawada in 2000. I also simultaneously worked as Chief Consultant Physiotherapist at St. Anns Hospital & Royal Orthopedic Hospital, Vijayawada till 2005.

Then, we moved to Jamaica, the most populated West Indies Island. I operated as Sr. Physical Therapist at Spanish Town Hospital, Jamaica till 2008.

From 2008 to till date, I have been the Chief Consultant Physiotherapist at Oasis Healthcare, Spanish Town, Jamaica. I am also a Visiting Physiotherapist at Parkington Healthcare, Kingston since 2011. I have also given my services to the West Indies Cricket team for two consecutive years 2013 to 2015.

Which institutes are best becoming a Physical Therapist?

We have several medical colleges which offer this course across our country. Down south, SRM University, Chennai, Sri Ramachandra Medical University, Chennai, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Apollo Physiotherapy College, Hyderabad, Madras Medical College, Chennai are very popular.

In North India, Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai offer the best training.

The University of Alabama, Birmingham, George Mason University, US, La Trobe University, Australia, and University of East Anglia UEA are some of the top-notch institutes to pursue this course.

How much does it cost to become a physical therapist?

In India, this course typically costs an average of INR 1,30,000/- to 1,60,000/- per annum. Whereas, to study abroad one has to pay approximately 10 lakhs to 12 lakhs INR per annum. Unfortunately, Indian institutes do not offer any scholarships, which could help students to earn a part of their fee.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in physical therapy?

Jobs are available in any multi-specialty hospital or in all other specialty hospitals such as Ortho, Neuro, Cardio, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Sports Rehab & Cancer hospitals.

One can also start as Asst. Professor in Physiotherapy colleges.

Physiotherapists are now into Physical fitness and sports training; operating their own fitness centers and clinics. A good physiotherapy clinic could be established at a low cost in comparison to a proper medical center.

The income and rewards are far better as the investment is low. One can also start their career offering call services attending the patients at their own residences which do not exactly need any establishment at all.

What is the range of salary one can expect as a Physical Therapist?

Starting out — Rs. 30,000 to 40,000 (In India) or 3000 USD per month in developed countries.

5 years of experience — Rs. 40,000 to 60,000 (India) or 4000–5000 USD per month in developed countries.

10 years of experience — Rs. 50,000 to 1,00,000 (India) or 7000 to 8000 USD per month in developed countries.

15 years of experience — Rs. 60,000 to 1,20,000 (India) or 9000 USD per month and above in developed countries.

20+ years of experience — Rs. 1,00,000 and above (India) or 12,000 USD per month and above in developed countries.

The remuneration depends on the hospital or the facility you work for. The increase in the remuneration with the experience changes on how well one can spread their wings into the field.

Why did you choose Jamaica instead of the USA which offers better opportunities for physical therapy practice?

We had applied to both US and West Indies institutes for employment. We received a very welcoming response from Jamaica with better incentives and perks. The visa procedure and work permit scenario are not as complicated in Jamaica as it is in the USA.

Please describe your work.

My typical work day starts at 7:30 or 8:00 AM. The hours of work vary on my appointments each day.

I work an average of 10 to 12 hours Monday through Saturday. There are days when I have to do house calls (I don’t do it very often) and end up finishing my day at 9:00 pm.

Sometimes, I attend conferences and medical camps held at The University of West Indies, The Government College, Kingston and also deliver a few guest lectures to the undergrad students.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider becoming a physical therapist?

My job gives me the most satisfaction when I see a person who had walked into my office in terrible pain or unable to walk and walks out (pain-free) after a few days with smiles of gratitude.

Out of experience all through these years, I will say that no high pay can beat the achievement that I make being a Physical Therapist. I don’t want to compare my professional income with any others too. I believe in being passionate about what you do. When someone does what they love, income always flows in to keep the person happy enough.

What are some of the challenges faced by physical therapists?

In my field of work, I get to meet persons with different behavior, disparate social and cultural backgrounds, with various problems related to their current health problems.

It is very common that all of us get upset during our illness especially when we become physically unfit. The temperament of the patients is quite aggressive and also pessimistic. Being a Physical therapist one should be able to assess their client in all these aspects and motivate, inspire and push them to get better which is quite challenging.

What are the relevant technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

Technology these days has been opening up into every profession in the world. Physical Therapy is no less spared that way. Computerisation of the patient’s documents (files), electronic prescriptions and in fact we send our prescribed exercises through emails now. One should have a thorough knowledge of the latest developments to keep themselves at par with the fellow professionals and the swift world. It is also important that one should know to create videos showing a few exercises, to serve the client online.

What kind of person would be happy as a physical therapist?

A very kind, passionate and service oriented is well suited to this profession. You should be ready to work extra hours and take unscheduled calls at times. If you are self-employment, then you need to work at odd hours.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned.

It’s been almost 20 years I’m in this profession. I have traveled across the seas from my home country and survived well and am proud of what I have achieved through these years. No other choice would have been ideal for me other than Physical Therapy. Had I been admitted to the medicine course, I would have been a doctor with some specialization. So I would be with the medical field anyhow.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

Do what you love and love what you do. Always take your profession and career seriously and follow the professional ethics.


You may also like to read our conversation with Physiotherapist Dr. Angelina Dias here