Physical Therapist Assistant
A physical therapist assistant plays a very important role by providing treatments to patients, under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. They use physical therapy treatment procedures to help improve the mobility and relieve pain and disability caused by disease or injury. Some examples of the patients that call for a physical therapist to assist them include accident victims and persons with disabling conditions, such as, lower back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and cerebral palsy.
There are many tasks and treatments preformed to assist the physical therapist. The physical therapist assistant tasks may involve helping the patient exercise or learn how to use crutches or how to use and care for their wheelchair, braces, and/or artificial limbs. Another task is to prepare the patient for a therapy session. In addition, they record the patients’ responses to the treatment and report the outcome to the physical therapist. The preparation and maintenance of the clinic is another task performed by a physical therapist assistant. They may also perform some clerical tasks, such as, ordering supplies, answering the phone, and filling out insurance forms and other paper work.
In my opinion, the treatments are the most important and crucial elements performed by the physical therapist and their assistant. Under the supervision of the physical therapist, some treatments that a physical therapist assistant may perform on a patient involve: exercises, massages, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultra sound. To make treatments more helpful and successful the physical therapist and their assistant must have a moderate degree of strength. In some cases, assistants and aides need to lift patients to help move from their bed, wheelchair, exercise equipment, etc.
To be successful as a physical therapy assistant you must share at least five personal/physical characteristics in common with the other people entering this field—you must be well organized, detail oriented, caring, have strong interpersonal skills, and have a desire to help people in need. Being well organized allows you to do your job accurately, remember you are assisting your supervisor, the physical therapist. You have to be detailed oriented—you are recording a patient’s outcome to treatments. If you didn’t care about others, you wouldn’t be in this profession. A physical therapy assistant can change a patient’s life for the better and that means the world to me, because I care a great bit about helping someone’s future. Having strong interpersonal skills is a must. An obstacle(s) a physical therapy assistant may face while working with patients going through though treatments is depression or patients that are in a great amount of pain due to their injury. A physical therapy assistant must look beyond their pain and get into their heart and soul and form some kind of relationship with that patient to help them persevere—that’s where the interpersonal skills come into effect. I have a desire to help people in need, it’s my weakness. I love to see people smile, laugh, and just be happy no matter what life throws at them. With these five characteristics, I will be successful.
A physical therapy assistant should value two important subjects. One is to value relationship—to provide service to others in a friendly environment. In example, the physical therapist you are assisting; you must have a good relationship with he/she in order to prepare the clinic properly for patients. You must connect with the physical therapist. A good relationship with the patient is very important. You must gain their respect and trust. You have their future in your hands. The second important value is achievement—giving them the feeling of accomplishment. A patient needs this feeling, it’s a must have. They must feel that the treatments you just...
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