AHPs are healthcare specialists that provide treatment and help rehabilitate patients; spending their careers helping others live the fullest lives possible. They work directly with patients, where they can and really see the difference they make to people’s everyday lives – relieving their pain and helping them stay independent. The Allied Health Professions comprise of:
- Art therapists
- Drama therapists
- Music therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Operating department practitioners
- Prosthetists and orthotists
- Therapeutic radiographers
- Diagnostic radiographers
- Speech and language therapists.
Healthcare specialists enjoy great pay, regular working hours, varied and interesting work, and lots of ways to specialise and advance. The best thing is - they are in short supply, so finding a job is easy!
You may be thinking of pursuing a career in healthcare but be unsure exactly what some of these jobs entail, that’s why we have focussed on four health professions. Read on for more details on becoming an orthoptists, therapeutic radiographer, podiatrist, prosthetist and orthotist.
Orthoptists specialise in diagnosing and managing eye conditions, in a wide age range of patients, that largely affect eye movements, visual development or the way the eyes work together.
Orthoptics is an exciting and varied career. It offers you the chance to make a difference, a high degree of flexibility and excellent employment prospects. You’ll work with patients every day to help improve their care and their lives.
Orthoptists investigate, diagnose and treat defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movement. For example, they may deal with:
- misalignment of the eyes (strabismus or squint)
- double vision (diplopia)
- reduced vision (amblyopia)
You’ll see a huge variety of patients and help them with many different issues as an orthoptist. Some examples of things you might work on include:
- assessing the vision of babies and small children including children with special needs
- ensuring speedy rehabilitation of patients who have suffered stroke or brain injuries
- diagnosing and monitoring long term eye conditions such as glaucoma
As a Podiatrist, you will work with people’s feet and legs. You'll diagnose and treat abnormalities and offer professional advice on care of feet and legs to prevent foot problems. In the NHS, you'll see many patients at high risk of amputation, such as those suffering from arthritis or diabetes.
You’ll see a huge variety of patients and help them with many different issues as podiatrist. Some examples of things you might work on include:
- helping children with lower limb pain or problems walking
- helping diabetes sufferers with circulation problems who may be at risk of amputation
- helping people with sports injuries and dancers whose long hours of rehearsing and performing put stress on their feet causing injury
Therapeutic radiographers use doses of x-rays and other ionising radiation to treat medical conditions - mainly cancer and tumours. You will work to high levels of accuracy to help ensure the patient's tumour or cancer receives exactly the right dose of radiation, at the same time as ensuring the surrounding normal tissues receive the lowest possible dose.
You’ll be making a difference every day, working closely with patients and helping them with many different issues as therapeutic radiographer. Some examples of things you might work on include:
- using doses of x-rays and other ionising radiation to treat medical conditions - mainly cancer and tumours
- helping cancer patients along their journey from the initial referral clinic, where they give pre-treatment information, through the planning process, treatment and eventually post-treatment review
Prosthetist and Orthotists
Prosthetists provide an artificial replacement for patients who are missing a limb. Orthotists provide a range of aids to correct problems or deformities in people’s nerves, muscles or bones.
As a prosthetis your aim is to design and create prostheses which match as closely as possible the missing limb. As an orthotist, you'll provide splints, braces and special footwear (orthotics).
An important part of the work is assessing the patient and understanding what they want and need their prosthesis to help them achieve. For example, some prostheses are designed for particular sports.
Once the prosthesis is made, you'll fit it. You may need to make adjustments to ensure the patient’s comfort and best possible performance. You'll spend time helping patients get used to using the new prosthetic.
You'll work with people of all ages who may have
- been born with a limb missing
- lost a limb in an accident or during military service
- had a limb amputated as a result of a condition such as diabetes
As an orthotist your aim is to aid movement, correct deformity and relieve discomfort. This involves assessing the patient’s needs.
You'll treat people of all ages with a wide range of conditions, including
- cerebral palsy
- spina bifida
Both prosthetists and orthotists use up to date digital imaging techniques, CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided modelling).
It’s now clear to see that there are a range of roles as an allied health professional that you might not have considered. Why not explore further and find out more about allied health professions.
If you are interested in a career in the allied health professions and want to find out more or if you’re from a school or careers service and would like to request a visit from our outreach team, please get in touch with the I See The Difference team at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website for more information