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PTA Blog Talk

PT’s Time

Published October 20, 2008 3:25 PM by Jason Marketti

Recently I had a list of what I thought were difficult patients.  One particular patient was actively vomiting in the morning.  I spoke with the nurse who stated she needed to call the MD to get something for the patient because of this. 

I found the PT and was updating her on the patients condition and my conversation with the nurse. 

The PT's response, "I don't have time for this Jason".

My first inclination was to remind the PT that it was HER patient that SHE evaluated and she better make the time to listen to what was transpiring with the patient.  But, I played it cool and suggested that I would check back with the patient later in the day. 

Well, the PT decided to see the patient after all.  Cool, I went home early to play with my children that day.

I suspect it was inexperience that caused the PT to respond that way.  I remember I hated to hear bad news about the patients I saw and became upset if they did not progress.  The PT probably felt overworked and didn't want added stress as well.  Well, maybe.  I also think the PT wanted that patient in a higher RUG category and realized the only way to do it was to see the patient herself.   She knows I will not get the minutes if a patient is actively vomiting and ill.  How she was able to is still a wonder to me. 

I also question the PT's ability to work effectively with PTA's.  If she does not take the time to listen to what is going on how can she keep adequately appraised on the patients situation.  If I choose not to discuss a patients condition I will be questioned about why I did not tell her and then when I tell her she says she does not have time to hear it.

I am thoroughly confused about this PT, no DPT. 


There is a huge disparity in the educational level of a PT and a PTA now days. It's a little better than a Nurse Practitioner and a LPN relationship but not by much. I doubt the APTA addresses it unless enrollment for PT school drops dramatically and they need more PTA's to pick up the slack. But then they will just increase H1B visa's for foreign PT's with BS degree's. Home Health is about the only respectable place for a PTA to go if you don't want the "attitude".

James , Physical Therapy - PTA, ILS December 21, 2008 8:26 PM
Orlando FL

I disagree with the last comment. I am a PTA with over 20 years experience. I work closely with several DPTs and have not had the same experience as per the last comment. Because of my experience and the many continuing ed I have attended I had sharped my skills . There is a level  of mutual respect and a learning process. DPTs have committed additional time and money to earn that designation. I don't believe just because that individual was a DPT the PTA was snuffed, the response the author received could just as well have been from a fellow PTA. It could also be the PT was pressued for time especially in this age of productivity expectations she may have expressed herself negativly.It is our responsibility as PTAs to address any issues regarding Pts we had treated. The author did present the problem and was diligent, it is then up to the primary PT to follow up.

William November 1, 2008 4:33 PM

You are going to find that with some of these DPT that you are not able to communicate to them effectivily because of the difference in educational level. Meaning they feel what you have to report really has no relevance because you are just a PTA, and they are a doctor of PT.

Bobbie Abboyy, Homehealth - PTA October 20, 2008 7:01 PM
Gainesville FL

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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