Clinical Physiology Roles

The major responsibility of a Clinical Physiologist is to test the body’s internal functioning for different diseases or conditions. Clinical Physiologists are at the frontline in the treatment of multiple diseases, illnesses, and disorders. They undertake specific tests using complex technology, which is used to examine and diagnose problems in patients. 

In this type of job, you will have direct patient contact and have excellent interpersonal skills to reassure potentially nervous patients.

There are different specialties within Clinical Physiology:

Cardiac Physiologists – Cardiac Physiologists specialise in different ways to examine and take images of the heart to enable diagnosis.

In this type of job, you’re likely to carry out tests including echocardiograms, which use sound waves to build a picture of the heart, and electrocardiograms (ECGs), which test the electrical activity of the heart. You’ll also operate Holter monitors (essentially 24-hour ECGs) and conduct blood pressure measurement and tilt table tests.

Neurophysiologist – Neurophysiologists specialise in the function of the nervous system and are involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of neurological disorders. They work within a multidisciplinary team and often carry out their tests in intensive care settings or operating theatres.

In this job, you will be likely to carry out tests using electrodes on the surface of the patient’s skin. These tests include Electroencephalography (EEG), which monitors the electrical signals produced in the brain; Evoked Potentials, which monitors brainwaves to assess how well the patient’s eyes work; and Nerve Conduction Tests which measure nerve signals. You will also carry out Electromyography (EMG) tests, where a small needle is inserted through the patient’s skin into their muscle and measures the electrical activity within the muscle. You will be involved in diagnosing multiple neurological disorders such as Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Motor Neurone Disease, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Respiratory Physiologists – Respiratory Physiologists specialise in delivering diagnostic tests and treatment for patients with breathing problems and lung disorders. They will also see patients from different specialties as they are a vital part of assessing whether a patient is fit for surgery or other treatments.

In this role, you will assess the patient’s lung functions to explore any difficulties in breathing and investigate any abnormal chest x-rays or sleep disorders. Tests will likely include spirometry, lung volumes, respiratory gas exchange, allergy testing, blood gases, breathing during sleep, response to exercise, and response to treatment. The results of these tests help to diagnose lung diseases and identify appropriate treatment.