Becoming an Allied Health Professional

Becoming an Allied Health Professional

Damien O'Brien
Damien O'Brien
Becoming an Allied Health Professional

I am sure many of you might not have heard of the Allied Health Professionals (AHP), maybe you might have seen them working in a hospital or at the clinic or even rushing up and down the A&E department.

We had the chance to attend the webinars from the ‘I See The Difference’ team, which is part of the Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) programme. The SIHED programme is a £3 million, three-year initiative to help raise awareness of allied health disciplines.

So who are the Allied Health Professionals you might ask.

There are 15 different types of AHPs which are :

  • Art therapist
  • Diagnostic radiographers
  • Dietitian
  • Drama therapist
  • Music therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Orthoptics
  • Operating Department Practitioner
  • Osteopath
  • Physiotherapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Prosthetics / Orthotics
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Therapeutic radiographers

AHPs provide system-wide care to assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors. Through adopting a holistic approach to healthcare, AHPs are able to help manage patients’ care throughout the entire course of their lives, from birth to palliative care. Their focus is on prevention and improvement of health and wellbeing, in order to maximise the potential for individuals to live full and active lives within their family circles, social networks, education/training and the workplace. There is currently a significant shortage of AHPs especially in orthoptics, therapeutic radiographers, podiatrists, and in the area of prosthetics and orthotics.

Let’s look at one of these roles in a little more detail. A therapeutic radiographer treats and cares for people with cancer, offering support while using highly advanced technology to target and destroy cancer cells with radiation. The role includes looking after patients, their families and carers during radiotherapy – answering questions, prescribing treatment for any side-effects and offering emotional support and a friendly presence. The treatment itself involves scanning patients, planning dosages with the help of complex software and using highly advanced equipment to deliver the treatment. It’s a therapeutic radiographer’s job to make sure the right quantity of radiation hits the target area – and as little as possible hits the patient’s healthy cells.

The ‘I See The Difference’ team has a very helpful website,helping you to find out the courses that might interest you plus it also helps with finding out which universities might do the course that you might be interested in. Typically an AHP course lasts for three years, and you can start working for the NHS. Later, you could also open up your clinic, if you are, for example, a podiatrist. This could also be a great backup plan for medicine if you are considering working as a healthcare professional.

Please have a look!

Written by: Vanshita Mishra 12 Ash

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