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What are challenges that Physical Therapists face on a day to day basis?

I am a Junior in high school and I am looking into being a Physical Therapist. I want to be a Physical Therapist because I feel that I would be able to relate to the patients because I have had my fair share of experience being a patient. #doctor #physical-therapist #athlete #physical-trainer #rehabilitation #injuries

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Willy’s Answer

Hi Eric!

As a physical therapist, there are a lot of challenges you will encounter on a daily basis but the fulfillment that you are doing things that will be of benefit for a person who has potentials for improvement in their quality of life far outweighs the challenges! On a daily basis, here are my thoughts since I am a physical therapist by profession.

Firstly, the physical demand of the job because your job will be to assist,instruct the patient on how to get out of bed,how to stand up and how to walk in a safely manner. Normally, you are required to lift at least 50 pounds or more. So, you must be physically fit for the job. However, not all we do is lifting patient but we uses tools,equipment,and techniques in order to complete the job.

Secondly; since physical therapy service is being reimbursed by third party payer such as MEDICARE,MEDICAID and private insurance,you have to write initial evaluation,daily progress notes,re-evaluation notes etc. to make sure that physical therapy service is being provided and it is being provided because it is medically necessary and appropriate.Thus, documentations of what you did to your patients are daily challenges. But, it wont be hard or difficult once you become a physical therapist in the future!

Thirdly, the emotional stress of working with people that has encountered traumatic illness or injuries,pushing them to reach their full potential to recover from their injuries are daily challenges too. You will also encounter patients who do not want to participate because they are in pain; they have cognitive deficits and they cannot follow instructions, or on medications that would affect their participation are also a challenge to physical therapist.

Last but not the least, physical therapists are required to renew their license usually every 2 years depending on what state you practice. This means that you have to attend continuing education courses or learn new skills. Normally, state requires PT's to complete at least 30 hours of CEU's within that 2 years time frame or else you will not be allowed to practice the profession and you will be penalized!

I hope this answer your question!

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Eric,

Working as a physical therapist can be a rewarding experience. Graduates from physical therapy schools have the opportunities to help people regain mobility and reclaim independence every single day. Before you decide to pursue a career in physical therapy, however, you need to be aware of some of the most common challenges therapists face.

  • Significant Educational Investment - Physical therapists must complete at least six years of higher education before they can begin to work in the community. A bachelor's degree and a master's degree are minimum requirements. Part of your education will include working in practical clinic or hospital settings as a therapist assistant so that you can gain the experience you need to find a job once you graduate.

  • Emotional Stress - A physical therapist works with people who have been through traumatic illnesses or injuries. Although your ultimate goal is to help your clients regain their independence, you will spend much of your time pushing them to do the hard work required to achieve that goal. It can be emotionally draining to face client after client who is struggling with the aftermath of an illness or injury.

  • Physical Demands - Part of your job as a physical therapist will be to literally offer support to your clients as they work toward supporting themselves. You may be required to lift someone into and out of equipment. You may need to help someone stand or sit. At the very least, you should expect to be on your feet moving around during almost all of your therapy sessions with patients. A physical therapist needs to be strong and in good shape so that they are prepared for every possible situation.

  • Long Work Hours - As with any medical profession, physical therapy is not a strictly 9:00 to 5:00 job. You will need to spend more time with patients who need a little extra work when it is important. Schedules can become stretched due to patients who are late for their appointments, sessions that run long, or patients who need to be squeezed into an already full schedule.

  • Continuing Education Requirements - Even after you graduate from school and begin working in the community, you will still need to keep up with current industry trends. Most state certifications require that physical therapists complete a specific number of continuing education credits every year in order to maintain their certification.


All the Best!!

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Khadga’s Answer

It is great experience being Physical therapist last 30 years. But most of the physical therapist are located in urban area. Most need people are at village and they need very urgently our services. They are still not reached by our services. The most challenge are how can we give our services at village in developing countries? This is most challenged for Physical therapist in future.