How NOT To Waste Money On Your Physiotherapy CPD Courses

Continuing professional development (cpd) is non-negotiable for physiotherapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and sports therapists. This guide has everything you need to know about how to choose your next physio cpd courses so you can make the best use of your time, money and effort to become the ‘Go-To’ Therapist in your town.

So if you want to:

  • Choose courses that will actually help you fill the leaks in your arsenal that will allow you to progress your career quickly and predictably
  • Break free from prescribing the same exercises to every patient
  • Have the confidence and clarity to make sense of your assessment findings and design a step by step graded exposure treatment plan
  • Use hands-on treatment techniques responsibly without your patient getting reliant on them
  • Bridge the gap from lower-level rehab exercises to higher-level rehab so you can keep your patients progressing every session
  • And have the ‘know-how’ to confidently allow your patient to return to higher-level activities without flaring up

Then keep reading.

The Excitement And Expectations Leaving Your Physio CPD Courses Versus The Reality Of The Day

I’m sure you’ve been there right?

You leave your physio cpd weekend courses (or log off your latest webinar in this day and age) full of excitement and possibilities…

Your mind races to ‘that’ patient that you can’t wait to see the following week to ‘try out’ the latest techniques the tutors teach you on these courses.

You can hardly sleep that night, your mind is racing with all this new information.

You get into work the next day, a little tired from a weekend of learning.

The first patient comes in and you use your new information…

In fact, you find yourself falling into the slippery net of using it with EVERY patient that morning regardless of presentation.

But something strange happens…

That ‘technique’ or ‘exercise’ that worked so well on the other therapists during the weekend hasn’t worked so well on your patients.

After a full day’s caseload, you get a couple of wins but a lot of patients didn’t respond as you’d expected or were told in the course.

It’s midweek and you’ve slowly drifted back into comfortable habits pre-weekend physio cpd course, using an odd bit of the course here or there.

It’s Friday and a few physios you work with ask you to show them what you learned on the course last weekend…

You pause…

You can remember a couple of bits of the course and show those but make a mental note to check your notes as you’ve forgotten 99% of the content covered that weekend.

Now of course not all physio CPD courses are like this but from my experience starting out as a therapist, this was how a lot of my CEU courses went like.

Use it for a few days then go back to old habits…

Some stuff works, then it stops working.

Choosing Instant Gratification Physical Therapy CPD Courses Versus Physiotherapy, Sports Therapist, Chiropractor Or Osteopathy Courses That Will Delay Gratification But Accelerate Your Career

Early in my career, I was guilty of choosing the instant gratification of hands-on treatment courses…

A mistake is focusing too much on manual therapy cpd physiotherapy courses

Then I’d fall into the same trap of using the same 1-2 techniques on every patient…

I’d get a ‘wow’ or a ‘win’ early on and get ‘hooked’ only to find the changes were short term and the symptoms returned again quickly.

This is quite embarrassing as a pro sports physiotherapist as the players can literally walk out of the physio room and come back in again and let you know the pain has returned…

Then I’d go on my next series of professional development courses and the same thing…

I became a physio cpd courses junkie early in my career.

Hopping from cpd courses to cpd courses.

I couldn’t get enough of the instant gratification, looking for that magic bullet course that would solve all my problems and get me the recognition as the ‘Go To’ therapist.

The advantage of working in professional sport as a physiotherapists / physical therapist is that it becomes your own private laboratory.

You can ‘try’ things out on players, grab them for 5 minutes and then see the long term effects of the things you ‘try’ out.

But it also quickly shows up bullsh$t.

Athletes are great at being honest with you.

They won’t appease you to save your feelings as some private practice patients do. They’ll tell you straight if something is helping or not.

It all came to a head for me when I had two players retire on my watch as Munster Rugby Physiotherapist back in 2012.

I tried all the hands-on treatment…

I tried all the strengthening work…

And I knew there must be more to this sports physio game that meets the eye.

I went on a crusade looking for info on the Chartered Society Of Physiotherapy (CSP) website for physiotherapy courses and what location would be best for cpd for physios in Ireland.

There was quite a limited choice for physiotherapists so I travelled to the UK to search for these magic cpd courses that would fill the gaps.

My Experience With My Last Physio CPD Course In London That Changed It All

I have done numerous physiotherapy courses and events in London over the next 2 years to improve my understanding of how to get long-lasting results, improve my skills and give even more value to my patients in every practice.

I’ll never forget the train journey home from my final CPD course in London where I decided enough was enough.

I had spent over £10,000 on four levels of this ‘technique’ based course.

Sure, I got to meet some great physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and sports therapists…

It is always good to review anatomy…

But the course tutor kept promising you next the next advanced level to fix this or that.

The theory had lots of gaps and the application of the evidence-based left questions.

It all came to a head when I brought a player down to see the ‘inventor’ of this technique.

And sure, he improved his range of motion short term…

But by the time we got to the train station, the range of motion was back to where it was previously.

And it was then that I had enough of hopping from cpd to cpd courses.

I reflected on the patient journey and identified what I needed to be world-class at if I wanted to get where I wanted to go in my career.

The 8 Pillars of the ‘Go To’ Therapist were then born…

…and every single year I reflect on each of these pillars and score myself on each to help identify where I need improvements in next…

…and ultimately guide me in choosing where to spend my time, energy, money and effort on next.

A Simple Yet Effective Way To Find Career Accelerating Physio CPD Courses Using The 8 Pillars Of The ‘Go-To’ Therapist

The 8 pillars that help me choose physiotherapy cpd courses that will help me accelerate my career

I asked myself the question…

As chartered physiotherapists, what do we need to be world-class at to give our patients maximum value?

I looked at all the different components and broke them down.

The 8 pillars actually started as 6 but further evolved over the years…

In full transparency, these pillars were instrumental in helping me design my own ‘Go-To’ Therapist Mentorship program and choose to run it as a mentorship program in entirety as opposed to weekend courses.

The pillars or components that we need to be world-class in the real world are:

Subjective Assessment
Objective Assessment
Effective Communication/Explanation
Designing A Treatment Plan
Manual Therapy / Hands-On Treatment
Through A Graded Exposure Load Tolerance
Higher Level Rehab
Strength And Conditioning

*click on each of the pillars to learn more about each pillar.

Every year I sit down (and I also do this with my own physios and sports therapists in my clinic) and we score ourselves out of 10 in each of these pillars.

How I Choose My Next Professional Development Plan From The 8 Pillars

The lowest scoring pillars then help me identify where I next focus on my continuing professional development.

I’ll first schedule a time to look through the evidence base in these pillars to get a better understanding of the evidence and the application of use in the real world.

What are the different components of the cpd subject I need to improve my development?

Then I’d do a quick search and list the leading physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, sports therapists in this field and see what I can learn from them and who is teaching these skills I need in real private practice and pro sport situations.

Have they got a site that I can access a range of articles or videos they may have already done?

There is usually plenty of hidden opportunity to find lots of value and cpd on the web that will save me another trip down to London to attend actual events and save me time and money.

Now Your Turn…

How to choose your next physiotherapy cpd courses

Ask yourself; “Where is the one major opportunity for me to improve my practice this year?”

Score yourself out of 10 in each pillar and let me know your scores in our ‘Go-To’ Physio forum here.

Get Your FREE Copy Of The Amazon #1 Bestseller That Holds The Secret To Confidently Treating Any Patient!

Download a Free ‘ebook’ copy of the 8-Step ‘World Cup’ Treatment Plan that helped my private patients achieve full recovery and made me a ‘go-to’ physio for complex cases…

About The Author

Dave O'Sullivan

Dave O’Sullivan, Chartered Physiotherapist with a master’s in Strength and Conditioning, worked as a sports physio for the Wallabies Rugby Union team (2023 World Cup), England Rugby Union (2019 World Cup) and England Rugby League (2017 World Cup). He built a leading clinic in Huddersfield, UK, and developed a unique step-by-step approach with his own sporting and non sporting patients.

Dave now teaches his methods globally and has helped over 1,000 physiotherapists and other health professionals, giving them confidence and clarity to help patients who have failed traditional approaches.