Physical therapy aide is one of the most hands-on career paths that ACHT can train you for. You’ll usually be directly involved with patients, helping them with their exercises, setting up their treatment spaces, and doing other important jobs around a physical therapists’ office. In this post, we envision what a day in the life of a physical therapy aide is like so you can decide whether this career path is right for you.
Most physical therapy aides work in treatment centers and schools for disabled or elderly people as well as in private physical therapy practices. In this post, let’s pretend you’re a physical therapy aide who works with a physical therapist who has her own small practice.
Physical Therapy Aide Before Patient Treatment
Before a patient can receive physical therapy, someone needs to pay attention to the little things, like the cleanliness and orderliness of the treatment space. In addition to clerical responsibilities (scheduling appointments, filing patient records, etc.), your physical therapist might ask you to test or turn on the equipment she plans to use. Some patients might have trouble walking or moving, so you will help transport them to the treatment space.
Physical Therapy Aide During Treatment
During treatment, you’ll help the physical therapist heal the patient by administering some of the treatments. You might help an injured patient stretch and safely rotate his or her muscles. Your therapist will probably teach you a set of exercises, which you will teach to patients when asked. But physical therapists don’t just help people stretch and move their muscles: they also use all kinds of high-tech treatments that apply heat, light, and low-voltage electricity to help stimulate muscles. You’ll know how to treat patients with this equipment.
As a physical therapy aide, you’ll get to know people and see their progress. Especially during repeat or routine visits, you might be the person whom patients look forward to seeing when they come to the physical therapist’s office. You’ll spend much of your time teaching people how to recover from injuries safely, monitoring their needs, and talking to them about their progress. A physical therapy aide is really a healer. If you’re thinking of pursuing this career, it’s important to think about your “people skills.” You’ll be physically handling people who are disabled, injured, or hurting, and it takes a special person to be able to work with them and help them heal with a smile and a kind word.
Physical Therapy Aide Around the Practice
Of course, you’ll also be asked to do some routine housekeeping tasks – you should be able to maintain filing cabinets and supply closets, and you should be able to develop an organizational system that allows you and your physical therapist to find supplies and documents easily. You’ll most likely perform light cleaning and maintenance of equipment around the practice.
Hopefully, this blog post has helped you think about whether you’d like to pursue a career as a physical therapy aide. If you have more questions about what it’s like to work as a physical therapy aide or study at ACHT, we welcome them! Just give us a call.