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Describe your typical day as a physical therapist.

I want to become a physical therapist and would like to get to know as much as possible about their normal days at work. physical-therapist medicine

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Melisa’s Answer

Hi Julian,

Great question. First off, I am not a Physical Therapist myself. My father is a P.T. and I used to work for him in his office in between summers and time away for college.

From my experience working for my dad, I recall him seeing a lot of patients throughout the day, that were recovering from either an accident, or sports injury. He received almost 100 percent of these patients as referrals from a medical doctor and depending on the extent of injury, sometimes saw patients once a week or more and then for months following until they were better.

I remember the time he took, in between patients, to ensure he captured notes, diagnoses and treatment, after each visit. I know much of this process has changed over the years and technology and innovation has made it much more streamlined but in all, I think there is still that same sense of connection to the patients and getting to know their history and story so they can be helped.

My dad would often hear from patients who they were referred by someone who shared how much he helped them. It was important to him to build rapport with his patients and earn repeat business and referrals.

In the past year, I’ve had to use a P.T. myself following someone hitting me while in my car. What I really appreciated about the visits I had with my P.T. is she would first take time to consult with me and talk for a few minutes, then go into some exercises I could also repeat and do on my own at home followed by treatment and then notes on our visit while I was in the office with her. The P.T. group I visited resembled more of a fitness center with meeting rooms than a doctor’s office, so it felt very relaxed and interactive.

Again, I cannot speak as a professional in this career, but I hope this gives you some insight from one person’s experience.

Keep asking great questions and best wishes for success in your career and educational goals.

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Check out this video on an individual who is a P.T.A. (Physical Therapy Assistant) and what it’s like to work in this field.
If you can, seek out a mentor or Physical Therapist in your area and ask if you can set-up time for an informational interview. Due to medical privacy laws, you may not be able to shadow him or her but at least asking more questions and their feedback may help give you more insight.

great perspective. good to know what families thinks or how they perceive sometimes.. Dr. Shreepal Chanduri. PT, MS, DPT, CI, APGDPC

Thank you Dr. Chanduri. Appreciate all that you do and hope you are safe and well. Thanks for encouraging and inspiring students like Julian, in their career goals. Melisa Cameron

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Rodolfo’s Answer

I am a licensed physical therapist here in Northern Virginia. I have been practicing for the past 20 years in different settings but currently I work for a Medicare certified home health agency. I usually start my day by going to the office because I’m working in a continuing care retirement community. First, I review my assigned scheduled visits which is about 5 to 6 patients a day. Then I call them to confirm their appointments. When I get to their homes, I start my visit with this thing we call bag technique which is basically infection control measures then I check my patient’s vital sign and at the sane time asking how their doing and any symptoms to report. Depending on my patient’s status and mood, I engage them with strength, balance and walking exercises. In between activities, I do some of my documentation. A typical visit will take about 45-60 minutes including providing patient and caregiver education, coordination of care with the doctor, nurses, etc. I finish up with rechecking the vital signs ie blood pressure, pulse, etc and hand washing. I get to do these throughout the day and go home at the end of the day knowing that I’ve helped someone get better not just with their abilities to be independent and functional again after an injury or surgery but more importantly uplift their spirits and morale that there’s always hope and things will always get better with patience and perseverance.