Karlien Hauman, physiotherapist

By admin
12 March 2014

So what does it take to become a physiotherapist?

Name and surname

Karlien Hauman (31)

Where did you study?

University of Stellenbosch

What did you study and for how long?

BSc Physiotherapy. Four years plus one year compulsory community service.

Where are you from?

Cape Town

Why did you choose physiotherapy?

I’m not sure; I didn't want to do anything else! I went to a physiotherapist myself with some sporting injuries while still at school. I suppose that’s where I picked up on the idea and I never looked back.

How long have you been working in this field?

Nine years (including community service)

What are the perks and downfalls of this career?

It’s a broad field – in other words, once you've finished your studies there are different areas you can choose to specialise in. You can find what suits you, what you enjoy and then continue to learn and grow in that specific speciality.

You're constantly dealing with people – you meet different people with different personalities and you generally always assist them in bettering their quality of life. The job satisfaction is therefore quite high and your days will be interesting. There’s the option of working for yourself and mostly the start-up is easier than for other businesses.  If you choose to go this route there’s also a lot of freedom – you can set your own times and so forth.

On the downside it’s physically hard work.  You’ll stand most of the day, often have to do some heavy lifting and also, obviously, a lot of work with your hands. There are business opportunities, but usually physios aren't out there to make money and you'll have to work hard and probably have people working for you in order to build a big business.

It’s a continuous learning process (although this can be seen as a pro too).  You’ll never know everything and will have to be willing to keep at it.

Which personality traits would suit this career?

Being a good listener, sociable, patient, disciplined and motivated.

Generally speaking how good is remuneration?

That’s hard to say because it will vary from an entry-level (community service) position to working for somebody (commission based) to having your own practice and finally to having other physiotherapists working for you.

  What advice do you have for prospective physiotherapists? Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. People often think it’s a glamorous job because of what they see on the sports field. Visit the following types of physiotherapy practices:

  • A private outpatient-based practice (usually sport, rehabilitation and orthopaedics).
  • A private hospital-based practice (post-operative rehabilitation, ICU and high-care, lung and heart rehabilitation).
  • A neuro practice (treatment of strokes, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and so forth).
  • A school for the disabled with a physio department (treatment of cerebral palsy and developmental delays).
  • A government-based physiotherapy department in a government hospital/clinic (because this is where you’ll be working during your studies and community service).

What subjects do you need to study physiotherapy?

Biology, science and maths.

How would you rate job satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10?


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