Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Physical Therapy – Intro to Allied Health Professions


Hi name is Christian Lowe and I’m about to
begin my third year as a physical therapy student at ETSU chose to be a
physical therapist improved pursue career and physical therapy because as a
high schooler I was a patient alot and I really appreciated how much my
physical therapist works to build a relationship with me and get me back to
my competitive status as an athlete but now that I’ve been on this road to
becoming a physical therapist I found that the key term for physical therapy i
think is versatility and variety because there’s so much that you can do with
physical therapy you can work with patients as young as infants just born
to geriatrics is old is you might have seen settings are also very different
and there’s a huge variety that you can work in the first one that I won’t talk
about is the hospital setting also known as the acute care setting and in the
hospital you’ll work with patients who have had surgery so it could be a
planned surgery where they had total knee or total hip or an unplanned
surgery from a traumatic event such as a car accident or fall you also work with
patients who have had illnesses such as heart attack or a stroke and you’re
gonna be working with them for a short amount of time to get them to be ready
to transition to the next place that they may go or transition home the next
setting that a patient may go to after the hospital would be an inpatient rehab
or neurological centre and in the neurological centre or inpatient rehab
sitting they’ll be getting therapy for three hours or more a day and that can
be beach or occupational therapy and you’ll see patients that have had any
number of disorders where they are neurological deficits or musculoskeletal
injuries such as a hip fracture or post a total hip surgery and this is where
you really working hard to get them back to home because you think they have a
good possibility of getting home they just need more rehab so from there they
can transition if they aren’t able to go home they can transition to a skilled nursing
facility or go straight from hospital to the skilled nursing facility and this is
where they have less than three hours usually they can’t handle three hours a
day so they’ll be the same disorders but they may be more disabled in their
disability and they can transition from a skilled nursing facility to a
long-term care facility or they can transition home now once a patient makes
it home they have a couple options they can be in an outpatient facility if they
do need more physical therapy and an outpatient setting and it’s probably
what you would be familiar with you have had an experience with physical therapy
because this is where athletes go if they’ve had an ACL injury or maybe a
baseball player for his MCL so you can see that you can also see patients who
had a stroke or higher level but still need a little bit of help you can see
when care anywhere here or in the hospital and then you can have physical
therapists who specialize in specific joint so you have specialists in back
pain you are specialists in shoulder pain in knee pain and then you have
specialists who are manual therapists and they are very hands on with what
they do so there’s a lot of ready in the outpatient setting another area that a
patient can go to would be home health which they actually don’t go anywhere
they stay at home and the physical therapist would come to them and this is
for patients who it’s not safe for them to get out of their home maybe they’re
elderly and they can’t drive anymore and they don’t have a way to get to physical
therapy, in this case the therapist would come there and work with them in their
home which is a very noble thing to do I think wound care is a specialty for
physical therapists where they can work in any setting and be specialized in
wound care whether someone who’s had burns or a traumatic wound or a chronic
wound due to diabetes and she’ll help is another area that physical therapist can
work in and in this area and we work with patients who have been injured on
the job and this can be from back pain neck pain or fractures or we can work not in the rehab setting but more in the
preventive setting which is where we teach them proper technique whether that
be lifting technique which is very key or how to lay out their desks so when
they’re sitting there have proper posture and decrease the amount of pain
they’re having a context is another specialty for physical therapists to use
its a great tool that you can use in any setting to help your patients get back
their quality of life because that’s the key for physical therapy we want to give
quality of life back to our patients and so aquatics can be used for Pediatrics
and it can be used for geriatrics and so we’re using that water environment to
help our patients pediatrics is a very large specialty
area because Pediatrics covers everything from congenital disorders
such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome to
musculoskeletal disorders to any neurological deficits that come on
dramatically such as a brain tumor or brain injury and pediatrics you work
considered pediatric is an infant 221 but in pediatrics you can have a cute
setting in the hospital and outpatient setting in that outpatient setting you
can work with any number of pages academics and research is another area
that physical therapist will work in but that’s usually later in the career win
they’ve decided I’m really interested in this area and i wanna find the new
techniques that are out there the new test measures that were gonna
use and we need a generation of physical therapists to teach and mentor the
generation physical therapist that are coming next some specially certifications for
physical therapists are cardiovascular and pulmonary geriatrics neurology
orthopedics pediatrics sports physical therapy and women’s
health now these specialties you can do a fellowship or residency program after
you get your DPT and you’ll get so many hours in these areas working and then you take an exam and
have that specialty I’ve heard the morning letters behind your name the
better it is these specialties give you more letters and a lot more experience.
A little history about physical therapy, we started in the late 1800’s early 1900s with the
polio epidemic that left thousands of children disabled around the same time
ww1 in the early nineteen hundred’s left thousands of soldiers coming back home
with these terrible injuries and disabilities and so the demand for
people to help rehabilitate them was so high that physicians could not take care of it
on their own so they started this physicians assistant role that
transitioned into physical therapy as we know it today so it started around that
time the military did a great job of training and certifying these
individuals to be rehab specialists and then in the nineteen thirties we had our
first bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, but it didn’t really solidify and
become the education that we needed to be until the fifties and then the
transition to make it into a master’s degree started in the seventies and
solidified in the nineties and then by 1993 we had our first doctoral program
in physical therapy and that’s where we are today and is the vision for the
American Physical Therapy Association for 2020 is to have all entry level
doctor or entry-level physical therapists to be doctoral level
physical therapists and currently there’s 227 physical therapy schools in
the US and all of them offer physical therapy program I DR physical therapy in
all of them but one so we are very close to that goal the requirements for a
Doctoral of Physical Therapy program, you have to have a bachelor’s degree and a
lot of people ask what degree would be the best for me to get to come to
physical therapy school and really you don’t have to have any specific degree a
lot of our students myself included have a degree in exercise science, kinesiology,
biology, a science intensive major it’s not required, but you will get all of
your prerequisites most likely in those majors however physical therapy has been
known as only the science but also the art of
healing and so a lot of schools like to see the diversity in their students who
have different agrees there’s a guy in my class who actually has a bachelor’s
degree in English and he’s gonna be a fantastic physical therapist who you
really want to pick your degree based on what you are interested in because if
you’re not interested in the classes you’re taking in undergrad you’re not
going to do well in the most likely and you do have to have pretty good grades
to get into physical therapy school so pick something that you enjoy you do
have to have prerequisites you need two classes of biology, chemistry, physics and
psychology, you’ll need one class in exercise physiology, one class of anatomy and
one class of physiology and one class of statistics you’ll also need reference
letters and most schools want you to have at least one reference letter from
a physical therapist you need you won’t need necessarily experience in PTC
because not all schools require it but it is good for you to experience the
profession that you want to be a part of I think it’s really good for you to go
in and shadow Pete either workers apt tech because you get to know what the
day in day out is for physical therapist so you really know is this the job that
I would like to do for the rest of my life the application process is pretty long
you have to your application in for each school that you want to apply for and
then some schools do you still do an interview process and so you have to go
through an interview a little bit about the program DPT it’s a three-year program, it’s
pretty rigorous having gone through two years so far, you’ll be in class around
five to six hours a day, but there’s a lot of time spent after class where you
have to practice the skills they are learning and of course study for exams
and practicals your first year you’re learning mainly the basics of examination
and treatment, they do like to integrate some clinical time in all of your years
the first year you’re mainly in the classroom, but you get a little bit of
clinic time to say practice what you’re doing and really get to see how much you
love what you’re doing your second year you’re going to be half
in the clinic, half in the classroom and you’re doing more specialty classes like
pediatrics and wound care and cardiopulmonary and then you get to go in the clinics and work and get to use all that you learned and see all these
amazing things and then in your third year you’re going to be fine tuning what
you’ve learned with classes like differential diagnosis where you really
learn the specifics of how to tell the difference between something that’s
musculoskeletal that we can deal with and something that needs to be referred
to a physician and you also learn skills like reading xrays and your third year
and admin classes in your third year but mainly your third year you’re gonna be
in the clinic direct access is something that has come about over the last
several years there is a form of direct access in every single state in the USA
now and this is mainly because we are transitioning to this doctoral level
physical therapy program where we’re getting these differential diagnosis
classes and we know that we know how to look at a patient and say you need to go
see another doctor or you know you were good working with me I know how to deal
with what you have because we started out as that
physicians assistant and we’ve been always to this point had to have a
referral from a physician and so direct access is making us more like a primary
care provider in that patients can come to us first and don’t have to see
another doctor before they see us so what does the future hold for physical
therapy there is some uncertainty about our future because of the Affordable
Care Act’s and the changes that are happening in health care but luckily
forbes has ranked physical therapist is having one of the top ten happiest jobs
in 2011 and 2013 and it’s been listed as one of the top 10 jobs in high demand
because for a few reasons our population is aging, the baby boomers are getting
older and older over 50 and with age comes these disorders like arthritis and so that’s
something that we deal with there’s also a lifestyle diseases that are becoming
more prevalent such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease and respiratory
disorders that we can deal with and we can help with and another thing our medical field has
become so much better that people are living through these horrible things
like a massive stroke and people can live through it now because of the
advances in our medical field and so these people that are that used to would
have passed away now we get to treat and help them get back to whatever lifestyle
that they can’t have so in closing whatever you do in choosing to do
whether be physical therapy or something else I wish you luck I think physical
therapy is a fantastic field and I am blessed to be a part of it so good luck
to you and your undergrad endeavors

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