Physical Therapist Assistants
Physical therapist assistants assist the physical therapist in treating patients. They may help them exercise, apply hot or cold packs, or perform special ultrasound or electrical treatments. They may help patients increase their strength and assist in developing treatment plans or keep track of the patient’s progress.
A physical therapist career typically entails formal education and state licensure. Most states require an associate’s degree in physical therapy assisting and a license or certification.
Jessica Greufe, Physical Therapy Assistant
I have been a physical therapist assistant (PTA) for a little over 6 years now.
I didn’t choose my career path how most therapists choose theirs. After high school, I really had no idea what I wanted to do, or what I might like to do. I don’t like needles or blood but thought health care might be the direction to go, so I got out a course program, flipped it open and there it was – PTA program. I enrolled, my dreams were answered, and here I am.
On a typical day, I teach my patients exercises to increase strength and endurance in their lower extremities; how to use the most appropriate assistive devices; how to ambulate, including down the hall or even up stairs; transfer from bed and chairs; getting in and out of a car; standing endurance; posture training; and a lot of SAFETY education, including home safety. Getting patients back to the level they were before coming into the hospital either before surgery or becoming sick is the goal. Often, my day includes providing a lot of motivation for patients and caregivers. Motivating our patients to perform these tasks to get better so they can meet there goals and discharge from the hospital is my focus.
The best part about my job is getting to work with patients that need my help. Helping and teaching patients how to be safe at home, and increasing their strength and endurance to make it it possible for them to return back home is a great feeling. Working in the hospital you get to see the difference you make in peoples’ lives. I feel like I was put on this earth to help people and that is what I do.
This is the best career path I could have chosen. If this is something you would be interested in, follow your dream and give it your all. The work is hard but the reward is great.