Nursing is a much-respected profession in the UK, nurses have a valuable role in delivering front-line care for patients. But with nurses facing long hours, the pressures of the NHS crisis and real-term pay cuts, is it time to consider osteopathy as an alternative career?
Here are 10 reasons osteopathy could offer a rewarding alternative to a future in nursing.
- Making a difference to people’s lives. For the majority of nurses, their key motivation is their desire to help others. Osteopaths do this every day, working with their patients to aid recovery from injury, help them manage long-term conditions, and to improve their overall wellbeing and quality of life.
- Time to care. Osteopaths are fortunate to have the luxury of time with their patients. Most will see patients one-to-one, with standard appointments lasting around 30-45 minutes. And as most patients self-refer, patients can access osteopathy as, when and for as long as it is beneficial to them.
- Patients as individuals. Key to osteopathy is the importance of treating the patient as an individual and not just the injury or condition. Osteopaths spend time getting to know their patients so that they can understand their unique set of circumstances and other factors which may be playing a part in their conditions. Osteopaths then use this knowledge to deliver a bespoke treatment plan in partnership with the patient.
- An allied health profession. Osteopathy is an allied health profession recognised by the NHS. It is also gaining an increasing profile around the world, and the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) has official relations status with the World Health Organisation.
- A regulated form of healthcare. Like nursing, in the UK osteopaths must be registered with the profession's regulatory body, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Osteopaths must undertake regular professional development and comply with professional standards, so the general public can have confidence in the treatment they provide.
- Opportunities to specialise. While lots of osteopaths work with a wide variety of patients, some choose to specialise. Specialists may focus on work with young patients, professional sports people, patients with specific chronic conditions or even animals. Your career can evolve with time and change direction with your interests.
- Career freedom. The majority of osteopaths are self-employed, offering the ultimate freedom to dictate your own hours and to shape your career around other commitments and interests. Whether you’re employed by a practice or your own boss, you can create a pattern of working to suit you, and you’ll never have to do long shifts (unless you really want to).
- Earning power. Osteopaths have great earning potential and what you earn is largely up to you, based on where and how often you want to work, how much work you put in, what patients you want to see and what rates you decide to charge.
The average income for an osteopath in the UK is £46,500, with 10% earning in excess of £100K (Institute of Osteopathy 2014 census)
- Great employability rates. Once qualified and registered with the General Osteopathic Council graduate osteopaths can begin their professional careers straight away. Many receive multiple job offers before they even graduate, while others choose to set up in business on their own or with fellow graduates, and some choose to take their skills to begin careers in other parts of the world.
97% of recent graduate osteopaths are in employment, with an average starting income of £24,500 per year (Institute of Osteopathy 2017 census)
- An opportunity to travel the world. With the exception of the US, UK qualified osteopaths can practice in countries all over the world, subject to local regulations, including most of Europe, Australia and South America.