In my experience as Physical Therapist Assistant, I have come to learn that physical therapy is a profession in health care division which deals with the restoration and maintenance of the movements and function of individuals who were disabled by aging, injury, diseases, or accidents. This profession involves constant interaction between physical therapist to patients/clients, doctors, families of patients, caregivers, and even communities.
Physical Therapists ( PT) and Physical Therapist Assistants ( PTA) are required to study the history of their patients, results of the physical examinations of the patients performed by medical professionals, results of laboratory examinations and imaging studies of the patients, before the therapist can establish a management plan for the patient. We can practice in different settings such as outpatient clinics and offices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial workplaces, fitness centers and sport training facilities.
We can also be assigned to different specialized section of the hospital we are working in, such as: cardiopulmonary where we handle patients with cardiopulmonary disorders or those who have undergone cardiac or pulmonary surgeries; geriatric or adult patients whose movements are affected by arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer diseases, hip and joint replacement, and balance disorders; neurological department where patients are afflicted with Alzheimer’s diseases, ALS, brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s diseases, spinal cord injury and stroke; orthopedic department whose patients have problems with their musculoskeletal system; We are also trained in treatment and management of infants, children and adolescents with congenital diseases, developmental, neuromuscular, skeletal and acquired disorders; while in pediatric department; and patients with wounds and burns in the intergumentary department. The educational requirements of Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant have not much difference in the subjects we have taken.
Both PT s and PTAs are required to take General Biology, Psychology, Pharmacology, Patho-physiology, Medical Technology, and Human Electives. However, Physical Therapists have additional subjects such as Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology. I have also observed that this profession is more suitable to men than women. This is due to the fact that this profession calls for a lot of physical exertions such as carrying and assisting temporary invalid patients. It is also advisable to anyone who wants to enter this profession to be physically, mentally, and emotionally strong. Physically, in the sense that since we will be dealing patients whose movements are not well-coordinated due to their injuries or incapacities, they will be a lot heavier the ordinary people.
We also have to be mentally and emotionally strong, as to be able to possess patience and perseverance in understanding the attitudes of the patients for they may prove difficult to handle due to their incapacities. Due to the differences in their curriculum and educational background, there are also differences in the job description between a physical therapist and a physical therapist assistant. Although they have to acquire licensure after graduation, the degree of the PT is in doctorate level while the PTA is that of an associate degree. In work area, they are both tasked with the assessment of patients, implementing the treatment of the patient, keeping and monitoring their patients’ records, communicating with patients as to the condition of their patients, and also communicating with other PT and selected healthcare professionals.
However, the PT has more additional duties and obligations than the PTA. This includes the task of determining the plan care of the patient, the analysis of the evaluation and assessment results from physicians of the patients, establishing treatment goals for the patient, and managing various patient problems. The PT can assign the right tasks to the PTA and PT technicians while the PT can assign tasks to PT technicians only. Licensed PT and PTA are required to be a member of an association of physical therapist assistants such as the APTA or the American Physical Therapy Association. This association was first formed in 1921 and was called the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association.
In the later part of 1930, this name was changed to American Physiotherapy Association and begun accepting male members. During World War II, the members of this association rose from 1,000 to 8,000 members due to greater demands for therapists. By 1940’s, it established its main office in New York, hired full-time staff, established a House of Delegates to create policies to be followed by its members, and changed its name to American Physical Therapy Association. From then on, the number of its members has swelled to more than 75,000 all over the United States. The main goal of APTA is to promote development and progress in physical therapy practice, research, and education.
And assist its members in their problems regarding their work and profession. The mission of APTA is to improve the position in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the movement dysfunctions of patients. Aside from this, APTA also aimed to develop the functional abilities and health of the public. I have the privilege to interview a licensed physical therapist assistant and here are the excerpts: • Why did you choose PT over other professions? I chose PT over some other profession for personal growth. You see ever since I was a child, I am very much fascinated by human anatomy. And because of this, I cannot afford to just sit back and see people suffer with their limited movements due to diseases and accidents.
I then decided to take this course and profession to help people survive and rebuild their lives after their traumatic experience. Also PT has wider scope in theoretical and practical learning in school, and I want to see these principles and concepts being applied in the healthcare settings. • What are the challenges involved in your profession? I find the way the interaction between the patients and me goes a big challenge. People are different. They have different attitudes, needs and wants, outlook, and so on. As such, it is very hard to interact with numerous patients everyday because the way you interact with one is not necessarily the way you would interact with the others.
I mean, one patient would want to be pampered and spoiled while another would not want to be treated as if he or she was an invalid. Another challenge for me is how to motivate my patients for them to follow my instructions and the treatment plan I have propose to them. For a lot of people, the loss of functionality of one facility or skill could be very difficult to accept. Most of them would lose hope and sulk. This is, why as PT, I have to make him or her understand that we could still revive it, that we could still bring back that functionality or skill and that life can pretty much go back to normal. • What advise do you give to those who aspire to become a PT like you?
Well, for those who want to take up this profession, I advise them to be sure if this is really want they want in life; if they have compassion to other people specially those who are disabled. You see, this profession takes a lot of hard work… physically, mentally and emotionally. One has to be patient enough in dealing with their patients, for cases handled by physical therapists require perseverance, hard work, and a lot of understanding. One must have flexible time in order to be able to attend to the needs and treatments of the patient. One must have the stamina in handling and assisting temporary disabled patients for they sure need a lot of help in their movements.
One must also have the compassion to make the patient comfortable as much as possible, for mostly patients in this department are in a lot of pain with each movement they made. • Is there anything you do to improve in your work? Oh yes, I do. As a matter of fact, I always update myself on any development with regards to the new treatment program being discovered by researcher in this department. I also attend seminars and study program abroad about the latest trend in giving therapy. I also keep myself well informed about the latest drug developed for patients in this area. • How do you keep yourself fit and healthy in this kind of profession?
As it is taxing and strenuous in this field of work, I take large doses of Vitamin C to strengthen my immune system, and multivitamins to give me this energy needed in assisting patients and treating their dysfunctions. And a lot of sleep, and most of all, clean living – meaning no smoking and drinking excess liquor, to maintain the balance needed. Works Cited “About APTA. ” APTA. 2009. 09 February 2009 <http://www. apta. com>. “About the Profession: Physical Therapist Assistant. ” Midlands Technical College. 2009. 09 February 2009 http://www. mtc. com “APTA History. ” APTA. 2009. 09 February 2009. http://www. apta. com “Physical Therapy. ” Wikipedia. 2009. 09 February 2009. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Physical therapy.