A physician specialising in rehabilitation medicine is primarily concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients who have incurred a physical disability. Patients they would work with include those born with congenital conditions and those who have incurred their condition through a trauma, such as a car crash. This would mean that they may have to deal with amputees or people with spinal injuries. The care, treatment and general medical practice would always be the same to help the patient recover from or cope better with their condition.

Other patient injuries they may deal with include strokes, neurological diseases and spinal cord injuries. This is a speciality that was predominantly created to treat patients of working age in order to rehabilitate them. However, there is still much support and medical assistance for people of older age, with apparatus such as wheel chairs and prosthetics relevant for all ages. Such specialists would be based in general hospitals, care centres and specialist recovery centres. There would be little need to be on call for any medical emergencies.

Work activities

Typical work activities a rehabilitation physician would need to carry out include:

  • Help people to understand their condition and that through hard work they can get still live a full life.
  • This is a hands-on approach speciality and would require individuals who can work closely with people over long periods of time.
  • Work with patients who have conditions such as brain injuries, spinal injuries and amputee victims.
  • There is the possibility to conduct research in your own time.
  • You would work with a range of medical professionals, including nurses and prosthetists.
  • Work with people of working age, but also children and older people.
  • Work with people who have suffered traumas or who may have congenital conditions.
  • You would need to continue studying in order to learn of any advances in medical diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

Essential skills

  • Attention to detail.
  • Real desire to help people get better.
  • Commitment to your profession and patients as you will be working with people over a long period of time.
  • Ability to work as an individual and as part of a team of medical professionals.
  • Clinical thinking.
  • Extensive knowledge of the medical discipline.
  • Understanding of all disabilities.
  • Able to cater for individual patients needs.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Able to carry out administrative duties.