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What exactly does a Physical Therapist do in a typical work day?

I’m currently a high school senior and I have taken medical terminology, anatomy/physiology, and athletic training classes. I plan on going to college and studying to become a physical therapist. #physical-therapy #physical-therapist

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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Mackenzie,

Absolutely, your academic pursuits in dance and Musculoskeletal and Integumentary Systems could pave the way for a career as a dance physical therapist. This blend of education would equip you with a deep understanding of dance techniques and the human musculoskeletal system, both vital for catering to dancers' unique needs.

In the role of a dance physical therapist, you'd be responsible for helping dancers avoid injuries, manage existing ones, and enhance their performance through specialized rehabilitation plans. Your dual expertise in dance and the musculoskeletal system would make you proficient in analyzing movement patterns, spotting weaknesses or imbalances, and creating tailored treatment strategies. These would help dancers sustain their physical health and extend their professional lifespan.

Your personal experience as a dancer would offer valuable perspective on the pressures and hurdles dancers encounter, enabling you to customize your therapeutic approaches to their distinct needs. Your familiarity with dance techniques and terminology would also promote effective dialogue with dancers, fostering trust and a strong professional relationship.

In essence, a career as a dance physical therapist could be a fulfilling journey that merges your love for dance and your aspiration to assist others in achieving peak physical health and enduring dance careers.

Top 3 Credible References Used:

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA): As a professional body, APTA provides a wealth of resources, guidelines, and information pertinent to the physical therapy field. Their publications and research can provide key insights into the prerequisites and best practices for becoming a dance-specialized physical therapist.

International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS): IADMS is a multidisciplinary organization committed to improving dancers' health, well-being, training, and performance. Their research and educational content concentrate on the crossroads of dance and healthcare, encompassing subjects like injury prevention, rehabilitation, and peak performance.

Journal of Dance Medicine & Science: This peer-reviewed publication presents scientific research, clinical studies, and case reports concerning dance medicine and science. It offers evidence-based data on the latest advancements in dance physical therapy, providing valuable knowledge for those aspiring to join this profession.

GOD BLESS!
James Constantine Frangos.
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Maryann’s Answer

Hi

It may vary a little how you do things depends on the setting that you work.
You will evaluate a patient to determine the need and develop a plan of care. I give some treatment on my first day of treatment. Every time after, I reevaluate quickly to see where is the patient and follow up or redesign the plan of care of the day. Always listen to the patient, that gives you a lot of info. Review if patients understand and follow up of the
exercise program developed.

You will have different diagnosis and different plan of care. Never a full moment. 😊

Try to volunteer so you have an experience first hand in what you will be doing.

Hope that helps.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Tan
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Susie’s Answer

I am a pediatric PT so I spend my day working with children, ages 0-10, and their parents, in an outpatient pediatric rehabilitation clinic. I do 1-2 new evaluations each day and then see an additional 6-8 patients each shift. Each session is 45 minutes and I typically work 8-9 hour shifts. I work with infants as young as tiny newborns as well as toddlers, preschoolers, and a few older children with a range of diagnoses, such as extreme prematurity, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, torticollis, toe-walking, and Down syndrome as well as many other syndromes. I document on each patient after every session. I also spend time going over cases with my colleagues, mentoring students, giving an occasional talk at the local hospital for a parenting group, and keeping up research through continuing education classes and reading texts and articles.
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Cathy’s Answer

The setting definitely matters. I worked in Home Health for over 20 years. You spend a lot of time driving and doing documentation. You typically only see 4-6 pts a day due to the fact there is a lot of driving. You mainly work with Geriatrics like in a rehabilitation center or nursing home. It’s fairly functional like gait and transfer training and exercises. Home safety assessments, caregiver training. But I also specialized in Lymphedema and Pain Management.
It Depends a lot on what you want to specialize in.
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Anthony’s Answer

I would encourage you to spend some time volunteering in a therapy clinic to see what it is like. It is the best way to find the answer to your question.
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Aleksi’s Answer

Physical therapists will have many tasks and duties on a day-to-day basis. First and foremost is patient care. This involves listening to the patient’s concerns, asking questions, coming up with an appropriate treatment plan, guiding patient’s on their exercises and administering other treatments. You also act as an educator to teach patient’s about the body and how it works. Communicating with the rest of the healthcare team is also an important part of patient care. This will vary based on your setting and equipment available to you.

Another aspect will be more administrative. This may include finishing documentation notes, making phone calls, sending and replying to emails, cleaning/stocking supplies and attending meetings. Physical therapists are required to do continuing education courses as well to maintain a license to practice physical therapy.
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Brittany’s Answer

A day in the life of a PT can vary greatly depending what type of setting you are in. I work in a hospital that includes acute care (general medical as well as Intensive care and cardiac care units) and inpatient rehab.

I typically start my day around 8 am,
by reviewing charts for the patients I am about to see for the morning. I then treat patients either in their hospital rooms, or in our therapy gym. We break for lunch and then repeat this for the afternoon. Generally I spend about 6 hours treating patients, 2 documenting those treatments. In the acute care setting, our primary focus is mobilizing patients early to minimize complications and deconditioning, and preparing them for discharge either to home or another care setting.

Your patient caseload and productivity expectations will vary greatly by setting and locations.
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Robert E.’s Answer

Lots and lots of documentation!

My typical day as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist involves seeing and treating roughly 8 to 15 patients with manual therapy, directing their plan of care for therapeutic exercise to my PTAs, as well as performing 1 to 3 evaluations.

Depending on setting these stats can change, but generally you spend a good part of your day directly improving your patients' quality of life while simultaneously challenging your knowledge base to solve what's ailing them.


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