One of the most frequently asked questions I get from pre uni students is regarding physiotherapy university interviews. Be sure to check out all the resources on the site but remember they won’t expect you to know in depth knowledge on each subject (thats what uni is for) but they want to make sure your know that this is what you want to do ! Here’s a few little pointers….
- It might be a good idea to have a read and see where you fit into those values.
- Are you professional? Prove it. Turn up on time, in smart clothes and well prepared. Arrive way before your interview time to make sure you’re are not stressed or nervous and so that if disaster strikes or the traffic isn’t moving it doesn’t matter because you have left generous time).
- Remember they want you to be the right candidate all you need to do is show them who you are and why you would be suitable. Finding examples of how you fit into these values will help show that you are committed to becoming a great physiotherapist.
A likely question may be what qualities do you have and why do you think they will make you a good physiotherapist? Things like:
- Time keeping is important because you will have to be highly organized to ensure you see all your patients in a day.
- Being compassionate is important and understanding a patients needs to enable you address these.
- Being open to all cultures, backgrounds and listening to each patients story and adopting yourself to different settings a responding to change.
- Having strong communication skills to enable you to help people understand new information and retain it.
- If you are unsure if an example is suitable post it on our forum to share with others and get ideas.
As you are probably becoming familiar with already, you should try to evidence all claims. Ie If you try to show that you could fit into the values by demonstrating times when you have ‘upheld someone’s dignity’ or showed one of those qualities try to think of a time when you perhaps helped a friends, grandparent and explain it. Physiotherapists do a lot of reflection on practice to continue to evaluate our behaviour and develop as clinicians and continue to learn and improve. Learning these skills will benefit you throughout your career so try to reflect on situations you have been involve in, highlighting things you have done well and things that perhaps you could have handled slightly differently to allow adaptation and improve on your behaviour should the situation arise again.
2. Knowledge of the varied areas of physiotherapy. They don’t expect you to know about conditions and treatments in depth they just want to know that you have researched physiotherapy thoroughly so that you know that you are making the right choice in your career and that you truly want to do it. It is good to understand the three core areas of physiotherapy cardiorespiratory, neurology and musculoskeletal. The general public still have an ancient view that physiotherapists only do massage and run onto sports fields. This is only the tip of the ice berg in how much physiotherapists are involved with the public and I would l suggest that if you want to be a sports physio don’t over play this aspect so that those interviewing you get the idea that you are serious about all aspects of the profession.
Cardiorespiratory will involve helping people with conditions related to the heart and lungs. This may mean listening to their chest to establish whether you may help to assist them to clear sputum to establish good oxygen transfer. It may mean teaching breathing exercises to someone with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
Neurology looks at helping those with conditions which involve the nervous system ie the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves (nerves away from the spine). This may involve helping people who have acquired brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis.
Musculoskeletal refers to conditions that effect the ‘muscle’ and ‘skeletal systems which can include most things people normally associate physio’s with such as sports injuries, neck pain, back pain, etc.
3. Smile and relax! Most physios are a chilled, friendly bunch and this makes the job a lot easier. First impressions are everything and showing your positive attitude and ability to work hard will be key in your success as a physio therefore are always good things to show.
4. Try and find some unique about yourself that is interesting. Communication is an integral part of physiotherapy and a skill that can be learned with hard work. Try to speak coherently and take your time when answering questions. They will be interviewing a lot of people and first impressions are important to make sure you stand out in the crowd but for the right reasons. A smile may be enough (people generally like happy, enthusiastic people!) Think about your appearance. A fantastic book which has helped me in my career is by Dan Siegel (Mindsight) which talks about the brain and how it works at such a complex levels its hard to comprehend. First impressions are subconscious as well as conscious and are based on feelings and past experiences therefore its best to be polite and to offer the best ‘cleanest’ first impression possible! When you qualify you are restricted on jewellery and piercings due to infection control (bacteria can transfer via metal) so these should be left out for job interviews (following your degree) in case they ask you to complete a practical element.
5. Plan and prepare some questions and practice with a friend/ parent. Then when you come to answer questions in the interview you can reply confidently.
- Give an example of problems that you might come across in performing your job as a physio, and how you would overcome them.
- Tell me about yourself
- Tell me about your interests and hobbies
- Why do you want to be a physiotherapist?