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How social do you have to be to be a physical therapist? Can you be a anatomy nerd and just be super direct or do you have to have people skills?

#physical-therapy #physical-therapist

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Susie’s Answer

I think the field of PT needs all kinds of folks, but yes, having "people skills", or being willing to learn those skills, would be fundamental. As Erica noted above, you will be interacting with people in vulnerable states, and all ages, so you will need to be able to listen, process, respond, show empathy, and even a sense of humor, at times. Patience, communication skills, and empathy can be practiced and learned. There are PTs who work in less people-facing roles, like if you go onto become a professor of anatomy and work primarily in lab; however, you will most likely be teaching graduate students in addition to your research, and teaching is certainly a role that requires "people skills".
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Erica’s Answer

As someone who has seen many physical therapists it is very important that they have people skills. In the medical industry this is called bedside manner. When people are coming to a physical therapist in pain and maybe anxiety, they want someone who can be empathetic, a good listener, patiently answer all their questions and concerns, and make them feel safe while they are gently working in vulnerable areas. Every patient is different in terms of how much they want to chat of course- and even that takes people skills to assess in the moment and perhaps adjust to make the patient more comfortable. Physical therapy is a service to help that person, so they should be the center of the practice.

Typically an appointment is an hour and one sees a therapist regularly for several weeks. So you would end up spending a lot of time with individual people over that period and you would basically be with people 1:1 all day long.
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Raegon’s Answer

Since Physical Therapists have to interact with others and get them be onboard with the regimen; it is best to have people skills. It makes it easier for people, when you are understanding of their predicament and able to get them to push through the pain.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Ethan S.
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Beth’s Answer

Physical Therapy is very much a people skills career. When working to improve from an injury, the problem is not always strictly anatomical. Patients are scared and depressed and angry, anxious to return to normal.
Medical professionals come in all kinds of personalities, you can be very successful being quiet and serious, but you need patience and empathy.
There are other amazing careers that use PT knowledge but do more research, less people contact - exercise physiologist, kinesiology, neuroscience. There are PT’s who do research too, but You will have to do clinic time to graduate.
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Maria Cecilia’s Answer

I believe it isn't so much being "social" as it is relating to people, understanding them and being an active listener. People come to physical therapists for help and for answers to their physical issue. They just want to feel better and get back to it, so understanding that and being able to to work with them so that they achieve their goal(s) the best way possible are key.
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Beth’s Answer

Physical Therapy is very much a people skills career. When working to improve from an injury, the problem is not always strictly anatomical. Patients are scared and depressed and angry, anxious to return to normal.
Medical professionals come in all kinds of personalities, you can be very successful being quiet and serious, but you need patience and empathy.
There are other amazing careers that use PT knowledge but do more research, less people contact - exercise physiologist, kinesiology, neuroscience. There are PT’s who do research too, but You will have to do clinic time to graduate.
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Lauren’s Answer

People skills? You have to treat the patient 2-5 days a week (depending on where you work). You can be direct, you don't have to connect with their social lives but understanding their social lives is key to successful therapy. Social butterfly no, but being able to assess, and make sure they understand the condition and how to make it better is maybe part of that social skill needed. Direct is fine, I know plenty of therapist that are direct.
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