Physical Therapy Career Paper Essay, Research Paper
Physical Therapists are health care professionals who study and treat people with health problems that are caused from injury or disease. A Physical Therapists assess joint motion, muscle strength and endurance, function of heart and lungs, and performance of activities required in daily living.
Physical Therapists can specialize in a few different areas. There is Rehabilitation, Community Health, Industry, Sports, Research, Education, and Administration. In Rehabilitation, Physical Therapists practice closely with other health care personnel in hospitals or rehabilitation centers to determine patients’ goals. They evaluate and assess patients recovering from injury, surgery, or disease, develop and implement treatment programs. They teach patients to use artificial limbs and other assistive devices. They also provide instruction and home programs to patients and their families to continue the recovery process once the patient is out of the Physical Therapist’s direct care.
In Community Health, Physical Therapists deliver rehabilitative care in the home, teach prenatal and postnatal exercise classes, and screen, evaluate, and treat children in public schools. They also teach back-care classes to prevent back pain and injury.
In Industry, Physical Therapists determine fitness requirements for specific jobs. They screen, evaluate, and assess employees’ conditions with respect to job-related physical needs. They identify potentially dangerous work sites, modify task performance to prevent job-related injuries, and provide treatment to injured workers.
In Sports, Physical Therapists assess athletes’ performance abilities, condition athletes to improve performance, recommend assistive or safety equipment to reduce injuries, and develop fitness programs for all segments of the general public.
In Research, Physical Therapists design, plan, conduct, and report studies in basic and clinical sciences that will lead to new knowledge, new technology, and increasingly more effective physical therapy patient care.
In Education, Physical Therapists Develop skills to prepare students for careers in physical therapy and teach entry-level and graduate-level physical therapy students and other health care personal. They design, plan, conduct, and report on scholarly activities that contribute to new knowledge in the science and art of physical therapy. They also Participate in a variety of service activities in the university and community setting.
In Administration, Physical Therapists manage physical therapy departments and clinics and provide consultative services to colleagues and health care providers.
Many things must be done to become a physical therapist. In High school students should successfully complete courses in social sciences, biology, mathematics, physics, English, and chemistry. Students should learn the admissions requirements for accredited physical therapy programs and plan accordingly. They should volunteer or work in a local hospital or health care setting to strengthen interpersonal skills and develop an understanding of the needs and capabilities of patients and physical therapists. In college students should contact physical therapist education programs to learn what prerequisites are necessary for admission to their programs and for advice on other programs requirements, financial aid, and other support services. They should continue volunteer work in a department of physical therapy; find a physical therapist mentor; become familiar with issues related to the profession. They should also attend American Physical Therapy Association district/chapter meetings and get acquainted with members and leaders in the field. Students should take courses in psychology, biology, physics, statistics, chemistry, English, professional writing, and humanities. It is now required of students to pursue a postbaccalaureate degree in physical therapy which will take two more years in a physical therapy school.
The starting salary in this career is approximately $55,000. There are really no advancement opportunities, but there are many different fields that someone can go into. Throughout the 75-year history of physical therapy in the US, there has been a shortage of qualified physical therapists. According to a report by Vector Research, the shortage for physical therapists was reached in 1998. But, as a consequence of society’s increasing participation in sports and fitness activities, more physical therapists will be needed in the health care system to treat and help prevent knee, leg, back, shoulder, and other musculo-skeletal injuries. The need for physical therapists will continue to increase as new diagnostic and treatment equipment and methods are developed.
I chose physical therapy for many different reasons. I do actually want to specialize in Sports physical therapy. I want to help people, and still be involved in sports one way or another. I was thinking about something in the field of engineering, but I decided I would like to stay in a career that is related to sports in some way. If this doesn’t end up working out I guess I would be able to go back to college and figure out something else to do, but for now this is what I want to do. I have actually mentored with physical therapists and it seems like that is something I would be interested in. I want to help people and I would have fun trying to work with people who want to learn to do something again.
Here is an interview I conducted:
1. What is your name?
2. What are the positive aspects of this career?
Making a difference in people’s lives
3. What about the negative?
Medicare, government, HMO involvement which dictates what we can do for our patients
4. What kinds of things do you experience in this career?
I’ve seen everything from amputees, to neurologically involved, burns to back aches, and babies to 104 year old people. The variety of people and cases is part of what makes it so interesting.
5. How many years have you been in this career?
6. Why did you choose this career?
Saw an old movie at age 11 with a therapist teaching polio victims to dance and was intrigued. Started writing the “when I grow up” papers for school and investigating the career and was hooked. Didn’t have the stomach for nursing and liked the idea that most of the folks a therapist takes care of get well and go home.
7. Do you think this is a beneficial career?
Of course, not only to the patients, you get self satisfaction, although the career changes have impacted that some in recent years.
8. What would you recommend for someone my age to be prepared for this career?
Take every science course available to you. Visit some clinics or nursing homes and see what they do. With most courses now being geared toward masters degrees before you ever see a patient, I think it is important that you have an idea what you are getting into before you invest the time and money.
9. How many years were you in college?
10. What was your starting salary?
My first job was 28 years ago with the Army, and it was about $650/month.
11. What is your salary now?
I don’t get a salary, I get approximately $50.00 an hour.
12. How many hours do you work per week?
Around 40 usually.
This was the interview I conducted. From doing all this research on this job, I am still very much interested in the career. I would like to help people as well as get paid pretty good money for doing it. I am now in my 5th year of a science class and I like it. I think this career is great for me.