When patients suffer from disabling conditions or injuries, physical therapists are responsible for providing medical treatment services that will help them restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent permanent disabilities.
As valuable healthcare professionals that play a crucial role in the rehabilitation and treatment of patients with fractures, head injuries, arthritis, heart disease, or other medical conditions, physical therapists work closely with patients to restore and promote overall fitness for increased well-being.
Daily Duties for a Physical Therapist:
- Reviewing patients’ medical treatment history and any notes from physicians
- Diagnosing any dysfunctional movements through observation and listening to the patients’ medical concerns
- Establishing a treatment plan with achievable patient goals
- Utilizing exercises, stretches, hands-on therapies, or exercise equipment to help ease patients’ pain and increase their mobility for optimal health
- Assessing the patients’ progress, modifying plans, and trying new treatments whenever needed in the recovery process
- Teaching patients and their families on how to best cope with conditions
- Developing fitness and wellness programs to encourage more active healthy lifestyles
Physical Therapist Job Description
What do physical therapists do? While the daily duties of physical therapists varies greatly by the type of patient and their individualized medical concerns, most are employed in private offices with other physical therapists or occupational and speech therapists. Other physical therapists may find employment at public or private hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and physician offices.
Most physical therapists work full-time schedules during normal business hours, but some may need to work on evenings or weekends to accommodate patients’ needs. During their workday, physical therapists spend the majority of their time on their feet working with patients. Since it is common for them to life or move patients during evaluations, physical therapists need to be extra cautious to avoid back injuries by using proper body mechanics.
Skills Needed to Be a Physical Therapist
In order to provide these specialized services, physical therapists must have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and be licensed in their state for practice. Due to the complexity of their daily tasks, it is imperative that physical therapists have comprehensive knowledge in biomechanics, physiology, human anatomy, neuroscience, pharmacology, and orthopedic care.
Furthermore, successful physical therapists must possess tremendous interpersonal skills for interacting with other healthcare professionals and providing effective therapy treatments to patients. Physical therapists should demonstrate high levels of compassion for working with individuals in pain, dexterity to provide manual therapy, and resourcefulness to customize treatment plans to meet the unique needs of each patient.