Now for Something Completely Different
ADVANCE is already receiving some nice feedback about our Aug. 10, 2009, cover story on therapists who entered the profession later in life, many after following established careers in other fields for years.
The story, "Late Bloomers," tracked several therapists into their moves into the profession. The subjects found by freelance writer Lauren Fritsky had diverse careers, from manual labor to surgical technology. They expressed a desire to do something "more meaningful," as one newly minted PT put it, while still being able to "work with their hands."
One letter writer expresses a similar theme: "I had a 25-year career in the corporate world as an engineer, statistician and research scientist. However, after a layoff, I decided to pursue something I could feel more passionate about, and something that truly made a difference. Like the subjects of your article, I think the field of physical therapy offers tremendous opportunities for directly and positively impacting the lives of others. Already in my brief experience, I can say that I am reaping the rewards I was seeking."
As I have stated many times, a brief check of the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics suggests that PT and the health care field in general is an OK place to be in a recession-even when it worsens. But the static numbers and promise of always being needed might not assuage some fears.
No doubt, the reeling economy of the past eight months has caused many to rethink their career options, either by force (if unfortunate enough to be laid off) or by contemplation about what a changing health care climate might mean to their futures. I wonder how many physical therapists and PT assistants are considering this.
Do you think more people will opt for the PT profession, or opt out? We don't hear about therapists leaving the profession much, so has the economy had the opposite effect? Surely many "new" therapists who adopted PT as their second life path would agree with the latter.