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how many patients do you see a day as a physical therapist?

I am a high school student who is learning about health careers. #health

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John’s Answer

Aysha most physical therapists work independently, which allows them to create a calendar for their appointments that works with their overall schedule. Although this advantage does not apply in clinical or hospital settings, owning your own physiotherapy business gives you a lot of flexibility without compromising the amount of income that you can earn. When you pursue a career as a physical therapist, then you have an opportunity to work in a variety of locations. Physiotherapy is needed in hospitals, clinics, schools, assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, fitness centers, and rehabilitation centers. You can also choose to open an independent practice to work for yourself. This advantage means that you can choose to work wherever it is most convenient for your needs. There is some flexibility in your schedule because you can choose to open or close appointment windows based on your daily needs, but it is also true that you will not earn an income if you don’t see people for their physiotherapy needs.

When you start working as a physical therapist, then you will find out very quickly that some people don’t really want your services. Some of your patients may be suffering from a traumatic event or a grievous injury that makes them confrontational, aggressive, or stubborn. Some people will choose to embrace the advice and techniques that you offer, but there will also be those who choose to reject everything that you say. Physiotherapy can be overwhelming at times, especially when a patient responds slowly in their recovery even when you are doing everything right. Physical therapy can be emotionally draining when you are dealing with patients and their families every day because each person experiences pain and that is why they see you. Chronic discomfort can create challenging emotions for some people, and your role as a physiotherapist is to help them release that negative energy.

John recommends the following next steps:

You will spend about the same amount of time in school to become a physical therapist as someone who desires to be a physician. You must achieve your undergraduate degree in an appropriate major before attending graduate studies which focus on physiotherapy. That means you can expect to spend between 6 to 8 years at an institution to learn the skills which are necessary to put your knowledge of healthcare sciences into practice.

Thank you very much! Aysha P.

Your Welcome Aysha. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! John Frick

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Sanober’s Answer

Hi Aysha,

From my experience in working with physical therapists in a hospital setting, PTs have specific units that they cover in the hospital, so depending on how many patients are on each unit (and whether or not there is an order for PT consult), they can see anywhere from 5-20 in a shift. It may be more or less depending on your specialty and the acuity of the facility. If you are in a private practice outpatient facility, the number of patients you see will be less.

I hope this helps :)


Thank you! Aysha P.