Confident in what our profession has to offer

Increasing numbers of healthcare workers offering exercise interventions, physios should be confident in what we offer, says Rachael Wadlow

Rachael Wadlow
Rachael Wadlow CSP professional adviser

For many physios – and not just those who have advanced training – exercise interventions can feel like a core part of what we do and are known for. Some of the most striking images from the recent industrial action in England included physio staff on picket lines doing lunges and squats.

We know that demand for exercise interventions as part of rehab is growing, predominantly because of growth in patients with multiple long-term conditions. Correspondingly, over the last few years there has been an increase in highly qualified exercise professionals aside from the physiotherapy workforce who are well-placed to offer exercise interventions to meet this demand.

Being in a workplace where this is happening can feel contentious when professional boundaries start to be blurred, skillsets increasingly overlap, and our protected status as registered physios can feel threatened.

As physios, we should have confidence in the status our protected title brings to act as rehab leaders

We bring a breadth of knowledge across disciplines to multi-professional rehab teams – yes, we have training in exercise but so much more besides.

Our skills extend to managing complexity and multiple conditions, spotting signs of serious pathology, applying our knowledge of pathology and being comfortable having oversight of a patient’s overall needs. Other exercise professionals delivering interventions as part of a rehab plan can be valuable collaborators, not competitors. Find out more.

In the independent sector, there has often been more opportunity for physios to work with exercise professionals in teams where everyone has a distinct role with overlapping competencies. These settings are pioneering a positive team approach with distinct roles for each professional and better understanding of each different profession.

As the presence of professionals offering exercise interventions aside from physios continues to grow in the NHS, we all need to be confident in what we can offer in working positively and securely to deliver rehab to our patients and knowing when to bring other professionals in to deliver exercise interventions. 

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