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A Day in the Life of a PT

Older man undergoing a session of physical therapy conducted by an experienced rehabilitation doctor

We all know that physical therapists (PT) help individuals live to their full potential through hands-on care, exercise prescriptions, and patient education. And that they work in a wide variety of settings from hospitals to people’s homes, from workplaces to nursing homes. PTs are well-educated and trained; to practice, they need a doctor of physical therapy degree and must pass a state licensure exam.

But have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a PT actually looks like? To celebrate National Physical Therapy Month, we thought we’d examine what a typical day might involve. It’s important to remember that there is no “typical day” for a PT, since there are a wide variety of specialties and daily routines.

Arriving early in the morning, the PT starts off by previewing their calendar and preparing the workspace for clients. The day could include up to 12 patients, each with a unique issue or problem.

With each appointment, the PT takes time to examine the patient and evaluate their progress, if applicable. They then develop a plan of treatment to reach the patient’s healthcare goals, whether it’s to move easier, manage pain better, or redevelop functionality. PTs might advise many different therapies, including stretching, exercises, or tissue work. About 25% of the workday is dedicated to documenting patient evaluations and treatments. Since PTs can help with a variety of health issues, they also participate in interdisciplinary meetings to ensure the best care for patients.

All PTs are required to continue their education to keep their license current. So, a PT may spend some time attending training sessions with in-house or outside experts, in-person or online. Courses range from specific state-required topics to those that may be of specific interest, like fall prevention or community service.

Being a physical therapist is a demanding job, requiring mental acuity, physical strength, and lots of stamina. So, by the end of the day, they have earned rest and relaxation. Not to mention a hearty thank you from us.

Categories: Physical Therapy