Researchers carried a very interesting survey out amongst fresh physio graduates, exploring their reactions on seeing experts practice! The commonest theme which emerged was- “THERE’S SO MUCH TO IT!”
Perspective, precision and perfection are essential in every profession, especially so in healthcare, as they expect you to solve all your client’s problems. Any practicing physiotherapist can tell you exactly how much knowledge and reflection goes into designing a single exercise program. A physiotherapist’s prescription can never be static, it has to be modified to suit a client’s ever-changing demand! What makes us able to provide this is- Conceptual knowledge, Practical skills and people skills! It is what makes a practitioner, an EXPERT!
A fresh physio graduate, although full of enthusiasm; is still the proverbial ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none! Undergraduate level physiotherapy education is just an introduction, an entry point into this very dynamic, expanding and advancing field! And though perhaps that experience is the ultimate way to become an ‘expert’; a very important stepping stone is post-graduation or specialization.
We do not debate the need for specialization is never debated in fields the way it is in physiotherapy… It might be hard to recognize the value of investing some more years into education, when it doesn’t automatically translate into increased monetary gains. But, in the long run, the advantages offer cannot emphasize the advantages offered by specialization enough!!
The most obvious advantage of pursuing post-graduation is focused practice under the guidance of experts! Some more time to hone your skills and practice your craft under supervision will never go waste!
Research in education shows that the fundamental difference between an expert and novice is the expert’s ability to recall patterns and assign meaning to seemingly unconnected data. This is the key to making a successful diagnosis! In a field like physiotherapy, it’s not just enough to teach a set of exercises to your client. It is a continuous reasoning process, where unconnected bits of information have to form a pattern somewhere in your mind.
Physiotherapy specialization programs require intense research and clinical practice of your chosen branch. This focused attention to one subject is just not present in undergraduate programs, and that is where the game changes for specialist practitioners! They have displayed that neuro-physiotherapists show a more intuitive approach for diagnosing while musculoskeletal physios lean towards information analysis to come to a diagnosis. Focused practice in a certain area makes you involuntarily follow such patterns, which closely resemble experts!!
The need for quality post-graduate education is indisputable if you want to go down the researcher or academician path! In a field with ever expanding horizons, the need to know more and learn more will never diminish.
As a physio who considers doing a PT Masters the best decision ever; I feel that a PG program is the perfect bridge for a smooth transition from a student to a professional!
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a well-known concept in psychology of cognitive bias. In simple, brutal terms it talks about the inability of people to realize their lack of ability! So, if you feel that you know all there is to know; recognize that it is the right time to apply for continuing education courses!
There’s indeed so much more to it.
Thank you for taking time out to read this article. It is going to be a part of a bigger genre where we explore physiotherapy from a practical and management aspect. We cannot cover all the sports because of time restrictions, but if you guys liked the article and want us to break it down for each (or any requested) sport, mention it in the comments below. The figures are not validated by research(unless stated/cited otherwise), albeit are based on author’s personal knowledge and practical experiences in team management.