Physical therapists are directly involved in the recovery of patients with a wide range of medical conditions on a daily basis; problems can range from simple sprained ankles or knees to extreme disabilities, such as strokes. They are generally responsible for helping people regain the abilities to perform basic daily activities and work with patients of all ages, from children to the elderly. Some may work in small outpatient rehab facilities with athletes or those with minor disabilities, or in large inpatient rehab hospitals with those who have more severe disabilities.
A bachelor's degree in physical therapy, completion of the National Certification Exam for Registered Physical Therapists, and licensing in the state of employment are required for this position. Prior work experience is often required as well, though not unconditionally.
Physical therapists may work odd hours including weekends and holidays, depending on their employers and locations. They generally work alongside other physical therapists and sometimes occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physicians. Those in this position help people in need every day and must aspire to make real impacts in the lives of others.
Physical Therapist (PT) 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.