Physical Therapists

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Also known as:
Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapist, Geriatric Physical Therapist, Orthopedic Physical Therapist, Pediatric Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist, Physiotherapist, PT, Pulmonary Physical Therapist, Sports Physical Therapist

ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPIST CAREERS
Video transcript

Physical therapists combine science, medicine and humanitarianism to teach patients how to help themselves. They play a vital role in helping accident victims and the disabled recover from injuries, overcome physical challenges, and live with chronic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.

Because of the fragile emotional state of many of their patients, physical therapists must be compassionate and caring when working with others. They must also be in good physical condition since lifting and moving people and heavy objects are all part of a day's work.

Other tasks, such as evaluating patients' medical histories and documenting their progress, are of a more diagnostic and administrative nature. However, these duties are just as important as "hands-on" work because they directly affect a patient's successful rehabilitation.

A career in physical therapy offers specialization in particular areas such as pediatrics, sports medicine or neurology. It also provides the satisfying experience of helping individuals make steady progress along their roads to recovery.

SNAPSHOT
Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.

Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.

Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.

Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.

Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.

Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.

Refer clients to community resources or services.

Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.

Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.

Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.

Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
TOP SKILLS
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.