Pediatric physical therapists are responsible for aiding children who are either recovering physical abilities that they may have lost due to illness or injury, or maintaining the abilities that a permanently disabled child may have. As such, working as a pediatric physical therapist requires a passion for caring for children as well as patience and a great capacity to guide.
Pediatric physical therapists may work in a wide range of locations: They may work in a hospital, a private practice for physical therapy, in private homes for individuals with disabilities, and even in daycare centers. Developing treatment plans and evaluating patients are also duties of this occupation. Pediatric physical therapists primarily work directly with their patients, but they may also work with parents of the children as well as with other pediatric physical therapists or pediatric occupational therapists. They generally report to a supervising pediatric physical therapist or a physician.
A person in this position must usually have a minimum of a two year degree in physical therapy as well as a physical therapy license. As their job is working with children, they must have the ability to connect with children and motivate them as well. The tools that they work with also vary depending on the limitations of the patient with whom they are working. The therapist will help children use everything from walkers, canes and hand rails to exercise equipment and swimming pools. Some pediatric physical therapists' work hours are a standard 9-5 day. Others may vary dramatically to working after school hours in the evening or sometimes on weekends.
Pediatric Physical Therapist Tasks
- Administer manual exercises, massage or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength or decrease or prevent deformity.
- Perform an initial exam, evaluate medical records and physician's referral and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
- Record prognosis, treatment, response and progress in patient's chart or computer database.
- Discharge patient from physical therapy when projected outcomes have been attained and provide for follow-up care or referrals.