"There's My Therapist"
I have heard this phrase many times as I walked the halls of a hospital or passed by rooms in a SNF. Patients point me out to their family and friends and sometimes it feels good to be acknowledged by the patients and singled out as someone who has made a difference in their lives.
Now here's the kicker - do I correct them and say, "No, I am the PTA; your physical therapist was the one who initiated activity with you and did your evaluation?" Or should I simply say, "Hi," and keep stepping down the hall. I think some patients will call anyone who does exercises with them a therapist. Rehab aides and restorative nurses have been referred to as therapists in some places I have been; partly because when they exercise, they go to the rehab gym or therapy room and patients incorrectly think everyone there is a therapist.
I do not portray myself as a PT and will tell patients that the physical therapist wants to see them to make sure we are on the right track for their progress. But patients will still call me their therapist. My name tag clearly states I am a PTA (it is spelled out under my name) and if we take a liberal view of it, I am a therapist, just not a physical therapist.