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what kind of problems do you deal with on a daily basis?

I want to work as a physical therapist assistance and I would like to know what kind of problems you deal with on a daily basis. #physical-therapist


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Weslee’s Answer

Some of the problems I deal with are helping people who have Painful injuries relearn how to get out of bed, stand up, walk, go up and down stairs, and get in and out of a car again. Some of the challenges are when the patient is in a lot of pain or is lazy. Some of the patients are very old and don't want to get out of bed to get stronger. Some of them are fearful that the pain will get worse if they try. Another challenge is if a person has brain damage can't even stand up or leans to one side a lot. These are problems that take patience, training oh, good people skills and kindness to overcome and deal with.
Other problems I deal with are documenting what I did with the person and a how it helps them to return to their normal life and recover. If I don't do this properly the insurance company may choose not to pay my Hospital. Writing this documentation is probably my least favorite part of physical therapists assistant work. Another challenge is managing your time wisely. It's a very physical job where you're moving all the time and on your feet most of the day.
If you are interested in a career in physical therapy or as a physical therapist assistant you should check with a physical therapy Department of a hospital and ask to "shadow" a physical therapist to see what their job is like.
Schooling for physical therapist and physical therapist assistants it is very heavy on human anatomy, biology, and science. If those are not interesting to you then you'll never make it through the schooling. If you find biology, Anatomy, in science easy. You may want to consider getting a job where you deal with the public, like retail. interactions with patients are very much like selling them something they need but might not want. You can be the smartest person in the room but if you can't sell them on doing what you need them to do you won't succeed in this career.

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Kali’s Answer

If you are referring to medical problems, there are a wide variety! The main population is geriatrics (elderly) with multiple health issues such as CHF, arthritis, hypertension, cancer, etc. We also treat a lot of hip/knee/other joint replacements, which are my favorite! Therapists also provide neuro re-education to patients who have had strokes, TBI, spinal cord injuries.

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Kevin’s Answer

I received my PTA license in 2012. I have experience in acute care, hospital rehab, skilled nursing, home health, respiratory rehab, and outpatient. There are some issues that happen on a recurring basis. Most of these issues are policy and payor constraints from "sombody somewhere." In an impatient setting you are going to be dealing with productivy and "Minutes." This dictates the time you must spend with the patient while completing your documentation. The reality is that you will have to be a great communicator, time manager, and work with other departments to be very efficient. Outpatient is generally easier because people are scheduled and report to you a specific time allowing you a bit of freedom from figuring out who you have to see next?, are they busy?, are they eating?, do they have dialysis?, are they leaving to a doctor appointment?, are they willing to participate or will you have to return 5 times to motivate them to action? Home healthcare is a different animal all together. You are far less dictated in terms of time. You can treat the patient longer or shorter based on their needs, but you will still have to document in home. The downside is you make your own schedule, which sounds great, but you must calculate drive time, know each and every appointment of your patients, and will receive new patients last minute they you have to fit in. All of this to say, you must be flexible, persistent, and stay on top of your day. But Home Healthcare is my favorite because you are treating patients at home, where they want to be. The results are typically more motivated people that know why they want to get better, the how(you) can be effective.

As far as clinical performance. You will be treating a very wide variety of patients. You must be a lifetime learner. Do not be affraid to ask questions, do not be affraid to appear incompetent with other veteran PTAs, Nurses, COTAs, RTs, SLPs etc. Try to not appear incompetent in front of clients! If you don't know something, figure it out, pull someone aside and ask out of view of your patient. After a few years on the job, you will know 100x more than you do when you start. Pathology, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, therapuetic exercises are a good baseline to get you going. Know it, live it, breath it, apply it to your life and then when you see a diagnosis you've never heard of you will be able to learn and understand it. The issue I see, is with therapists that refuse to learn and adapt and understand root causes of physical issues. Furthermore, they work a few years and give everyone the same exercise program. They get complacent and burnt out and fall back to the same things for everyone. If you think your PT is going to give you an exercise program for everyone for you to teach the patient, you are mistaken. We must know why we are teaching what we are teaching. Giving the same basic, generic, untailored exercise program is a real problem because it leads to over or underutilization of therapy dollars, which is the cause of all the regulation and time constraints we are put under that I mentioned earlier. Ultimately it makes the job boring, ineffective, and lose it's value. Having said that, everyone is different and as a PTA you will need to know effective, evidenced-based, intervention. Because of this diversity, you will find being a PTA a fullfilling and wonderful carreer.

Kevin recommends the following next steps:

Learn Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Pathology, Therapeutic exercise
Graduate and get your license
Start working in a Skilled Nursing Facility
Learn from other therapists, nurses, RTs, SLPs
Move into the field you want to work in such as home health, inpatient, hospital, outpatient, etc and learn some more!

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