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Toni Talks about PT Today

Money Isn't Everything

Published June 8, 2010 10:26 AM by Toni Patt

I heard something today that made me gnash my teeth. My department recently made an employment offer to one of our students (ES). Throughout her rotation she insisted she wanted to work here and nowhere else. Last week she formally accepted the offer. Later last week she called back and unaccepted. She said the other place offered her more money and a sign-on bonus.

This is exactly the type of behavior that makes us old-timers look down on new graduates. The new job is significantly farther away from where she lives than my facility. It is a much smaller community facility so she won't have much variety in her caseload, which was one of the reasons she liked us. I'm not sure how big the department is but I doubt it matches us for experience and knowledge. I do know it doesn't have a rehab unit, which is where she said she wanted to be.

Her old CI has spoken with ES. Her explanation was that she was tired of being poor and it was a lot more money than we had offered. What happened to wanting learning experiences, challenges and the ability to grow as a therapist? It looks like money was much more important to her. She may not realize that if a facility is offering that much more than everyone else there is a reason and she probably won't like it when she finds out what it is. The same is true of sign-on bonuses. Those are the facilities that either can't get staff or can't keep staff. They draw the pay out over time to keep employees.

More and more, money seems to be the objective behind PT school. I'm not denying the starting salary is nice. PT isn't a profession for those who only see dollar signs. It's not that much money and there is a ceiling. Nor is it the easiest profession. There's a reason "physical" is included in the job description. Ours is a people profession that happens to pay reasonably well. Someone only in it for the money won't last very long.

Money is important. We have to make a salary that allows us to meet our financial needs. Money is necessary to obtain additional education, training and certifications. No one is going to deliberately look for the lowest-paying facilities. But there is more to choosing a place of work than how much money I'm going to be paid.


Probably had to do with being almost 6 figures in debt (assuming she had undergrad and grad loans).  The ability to get that paid off faster would certainly sway anyones decision.

Shelby S July 28, 2010 12:11 AM

When I first graduated (over 30 years ago), I was bothered by my classmates whose first consideration was salary.  However, now that I have worked in many facilities, some of which were recognized for their excellence in patient care, I find that the exploitation of therapists by overloading their caseloads, and encouraging a high turnover of staff consisting of mainly new graduates who work at lower salaries, is, quite sadly, more the norm than the exception.

Consequently, I will no longer criticize any therapist who accepts a position because it pays better.

Michael, Pediatrics - Physical Therapist June 9, 2010 12:18 PM
Brooklyn NY

Sadly that seems to be the way of the world these days. Money is the driving force behind employment opportunities. Some people aren't looking at the experience the job may give, but rather, "Will this job help me pay my debt". It's the way the world works it appears. It's sad but money is getting close to becoming everything....

Jen June 9, 2010 10:16 AM

Maybe it's the reality of paying off that DPT education? Toni, you were working through yours and, I'm guessing, don't have the debt burden that the former student has. I'm curious to know, has your employer paid for your education? C'mon full disclosure on this one please.

I remember when I got out of school, oh so many years ago, I thought I was making a lot of money. Once the taxes, health insurance participation, commuting, rent, and loan repayments kicked in, I realized I needed to find part time work as well, just to make ends meet.

Dean Metz June 9, 2010 9:57 AM

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