Why Carry Out Work Experience?

For those keen to study Physiotherapy at University (undergraduate or postgraduate), gaining relevant observational work experience will hugely help your application. Admission tutors are looking for evidence of your understanding of Physiotherapy. That might include the different settings Physiotherapists work in, how we communicate within a multi-disciplinary team, and common conditions we might see. It is important to reflect upon these experiences, asking yourself what did I learn, did it make me think differently about Physiotherapy, is this the right profession for me?

What Type of Experience Can You Offer?

At Head 2 Toe Physio, we offer a limited amount of observational work experience opportunities (patient’s consent required) for those interested in studying Physiotherapy. In the past we have taken mainly A-Level students, from local schools (including state schools like Ashcombe, Priory and Howard of Effingham, as well as private schools like Freemans, Epsom College and St John’s ).

However, most recently we have had Emily, a qualified NHS Physiotherapist. She joined me to get an insight into our Physio practice and see what our private practice is all about. To understand more about what observational work experience is like at Head 2 Toe Physio, Emily has put together some key pointers.

A Qualified Physio’s Experience

“I have worked in the NHS for just over 2 years, completing rotational work at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Epsom and St Helier. I shadowed Evie as I am very keen to advance my career and progress within musculoskeletal Physiotherapy. I also wanted to understand how private Physiotherapy can differ from the Physiotherapy I have experienced within the NHS. This might include differences in appointment duration, appointment frequency, use of hands on treatment and gym based exercise prescription. Observing other Physiotherapists in any setting is a valuable learning tool, particularly skilled Physiotherapists like Evie.

When I shadowed Evie, I observed a range of assessments and treatments for different conditions like mechanical lower back pain, tennis elbow and greater trochanteric pain syndrome, which she explained and discussed thoroughly with patients. Treatments used included advice, education, joint mobilisations, sports massage and soft tissue techniques, some use of electrotherapy as well as exercise prescription.

The whole experience has been extremely valuable. The shadowing experience has encouraged me to continue to be open minded, see the clinical value in the use of hands on treatment in my NHS work, specifically soft tissue and joint techniques designed to aid short term pain relief and increase adherence to exercise programmes.”

What’s It Like For The Clinical Supervisor?

All our Physiotherapists at Head2Toe Physio are encouraged to get involved with placements and observational days. The important thing to remember is that we were all once in the same boat. We were all at one time, looking for some clinical observation work, to help inspire us and confirm that we were making the right University degree choices.

We also get some great questions thrown at us. It allows us to reflect on our clinical practice, Why do we do the things that we do? What’s the clinical reasoning behind what we do and what’s the evidence for it?

Thankfully, at Head2Toe, as a long established, popular clinic, we are all incredibly busy most of the time. There is often the feeling that spending time with students is taking us away from our patients, but to be honest, many of our patients love the experience too. They’re normally more than happy to give a patients experience to the student and hopefully inspire one of the next generation of motivated, inquisitive Physiotherapists.

Look out for us at local school careers fairs, looking to answer your questions and encourage as many suitable candidates to get started on a great professional journey!


All our Physiotherapists are highly qualified, experienced, with a variety of post graduate specialisations. If you or anyone you know, would like to have a physiotherapy assessment with the team at Dorking , Leatherhead or Crawley , book online here or contact us here.

Blog post guest written by Evie Spreadbury, Physiotherapist, edited by Sam Bowden Head Physio, Dorking, & Leatherhead Clinics.


Application tips and work experience (no date) The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Available at: https://www.csp.org.uk/careers-jobs/become-physiotherapist/application-tips-work-experience (Accessed: 01 November 2023).