Exploring the Discourse Community of Physiotherapists

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Currently, being student of Occupational Therapists Assistant and Physiotherapists Assistant at Fleming college, I am writing this description for the students willing to join the physiotherapy discourse community. What is the history of physiotherapy community? What are its principal mechanisms of intercommunication? What kind of terminology does it have? This report will explore these and associated queries, drawing on my thoughtful observation and study of this community. I will accomplish with four recommendations on the significant steps a novice can take to become a fruitful member of the physiotherapy community.


Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that helps clients to re-establish, sustain and increase their strength, function, and movement. Physiotherapists are also known as movement specialists and have in-depth knowledge of how the human body works. After pursuing the program at university, they appear for Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) and gets Registered physiotherapist after clearing it successfully. Physiotherapist do have assistants that helps in conducting therapeutic interventions. Physiotherapist’s Assistant (PTA) is not the registered label, but they have pursued the 2-year diploma program at college. Assistant works under the physiotherapists license.

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Research and Analysis

Physiotherapists community fulfils all six characteristics that a discourse community should have, as described by john swales. According to swales, a “discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals” (COMM202 - Communications II, 2019 para. 1). Physiotherapists focus is to gain maximum possible functional capacity of the client. Physio’s emphasis is on regaining the movements by exercise program. The common goal of all physiotherapists is to perform movements within the available range by not overstretching the muscles which can lead to serious injuries. The minimum set of goals are to make client independent and can carry out activities of daily living (ADLs). Patient’s satisfaction is the aim of every physiotherapist and they achieve this goal by providing results of the physical therapy treatment. Swales also notes that “a discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among their members” (COMM202 - Communications II, 2019 para. 2). Physiotherapists and their assistants communicate in medical terminology. For describing the movements like front, raise, lower, outward, invert, inward, rotate back, above, below, side, turn, bend we use the words like flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, external rotation, dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, eversion, protraction, retraction, elevation, depression and circumduction. When physiotherapist communicate with the patients, they used the laymen terms as described about, but when communicating internally we use the specific words for specific action or movement. This is to maintain accuracy while communicating about client’s status to other professionals. Swales stated “a discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise (COMM202 - Communications II, 2019). Mittal Sanishwara is head of physiotherapy department at SAL multi-speciality hospital. She has pursued Master of physiotherapy with specialization in cardiopulmonary conditions. She has experience of 20 years in this field with great leadership qualities. In an email conversation with her she explained, “I have been regularly participating in workshops and variety of training programs to keep up with new researches in the field” (M. Sanishwara, personal communication, February 1, 2020). Interns are the beginners in the field and are on placement under the observation of Physiotherapist at different hospitals and long-term care facilities. MPT are the masters in the field with specialization in orthopedic, cardiopulmonary or neurological conditions.

Conclusions and Recommendations

As revealed above, the physiotherapy community has its own set of exclusive goals, verbal communication through medical terminologies, and threshold levels of members. Grounded on my descriptions, education and knowledge, I would recommend the ensuing four moves for becoming successful as a physiotherapy professional in the area of health care:

  1. Be a good listener because as a professional we need to assess numerous clients on daily basis. For diagnosing the correct condition, we must listen each of clients complains and make decision accordingly.
  2. Gain the mandatory education at university and make yourself a competent professional to clear the high standard PCE license test.
  3. Professionalism is an integral part of health care system. Learn to be disciplined and punctual.
  4. Keep oneself healthy and fit. We need to be physically strong and should have good body mechanics to prevent ourselves from the injuries when treating clients.

Overall, new technologies and trends continues to open up with researches made in medical field. To become a successful physiotherapist, you need to be active, hardworking, dedicated and ready to receive knowledge anytime. Over a period, your advancement from beginner to proficient within this discourse community will depend on your competency and devotion in the field.


  1. Templeman, B. (2020). In Depth: Six Characteristics of Discourse Communities. Retrieved from Fleming College my Campus Portal.
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Exploring the Discourse Community of Physiotherapists. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/exploring-the-discourse-community-of-physiotherapists/
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