A physical therapist (PT) is an allied health professional who helps to rehabilitate a patient while recoveringfrom surgery, or a patient who has been injured or incapacitated in some way by an accident, illness or stroke.
A physical therapist may see patients in a medical office or hospital setting.Physical therapy ranges from short-term to long-term depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
For example, a patient who has had a relatively routine knee surgery may need a few sessions ofphysical therapy to get his or her knee back to its full range of motion.
On the other hand, a more severely injured patient may require months of physical therapy just to gain the strength and range ofmotion needed to stand and walk.
Typical Work Load and Work Environment:
Physical therapists may see patients in a medical office, such as an orthopedic surgery practice, or hospital setting.Typically a patient will be referred to a physical therapist by a physician, who prescribes the physical therapy treatment and follows up to assess the patient’s progress regularly after one or morecourses of therapy.
Typically a physical therapy room is equipped with a variety of apparatus, used to rehabilitate patients. This may include weights, mats, and treadmills where PT’s can perform avariety of exercises with the patients to improve motor skills, sensory perception, and muscle strength.
Required Skills for Entry Level Physical Therapists:
According to the American PhysicalTherapy Association (APTA), the following are some of the basic, minimum skill requirements:
• Assess and review all systems of the body as needed to determine the need for physical therapy, andthe scope of therapy needed as well as the patient’s limitations.
• Perform tests to characterize and quantify range of motion, sensory integrity (sharp/dull, hot/cold, pressure, vibration, etc),...