Typical Workday for a Physical Therapist

Many physical therapists go into the profession because they learned that PTs have more one-on-one time with patients than do other healthcare providers. And, while most PTs truly enjoy this aspect of their calling, they also spend a great deal of time in a task most find tedious — paperwork.

Many PTs say they spend about 80 percent of their time each day in patient care, with the remaining 20 percent focused on administration (mostly paperwork: progress reports and insurance claims). In addition, in order to finish the paperwork, many PTs will bring the work home, or complete it during lunch and other breaks.

As for treating patients,  PTs typically evaluate and assess patients who have been injured or who are experiencing chronic physical limitations, often caused by aging or illness.

A PT will determine a treatment plan based on a patient’s individual needs and abilities and will thoroughly explain to the patient what the patient’s r responsibility is in his or her rehabilitation. A large portion of a PT’s job is to teach patients what they must do themselves in order to have a successful recovery. In other words, physical therapists don’t “fix” a patient’s limitations; a PT guides and helps a patient do so him- or herself.

Becoming emotionally attached to patients is practically inevitable due to the fact that PTs spend a great amount of time with patients, sometimes several times a week, and sometimes for months or even years. PTs should develop a tough skin as they are dealing with people who are in pain, angry or depressed (often all three at the same time) and who undoubtedly take some of their frustration out on the PT.

PTs also may specialize in different areas, such as elder care (a growing field as the United States’ population ages), pediatrics and neonatal care. A PT also may specialize in neurodevelopment therapy and sports therapy. Some therapists prefer to work with acute injuries, while others prefer to help patients with chronic conditions; some PTs will even move between specialties and types throughout their careers.

Physical therapy work can be physically demanding. PTs often lift patients and move stiff limbs. A lot of time can be spent standing, crouching and also bending. Patient progress also often is measured in very small increments; PTs must understand there are different levels of success, which can help them keep their own emotions level and calm.

If you’re a licensed physical therapist interested in taking your much-needed skills to rehab centers around the country, contact Centra Healthcare Solutions. We have many openings for PTs at medical and rehab facilities around the country eager to have you arrive to help serve their patients. Contact us today!


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