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PTA Blog Talk

Job Description?

Published February 1, 2012 7:23 PM by Jason Marketti

As I was searching the Internet this weekend, I typed in "Physical Therapist Assistant." I came across some interesting descriptions of what I do, or at least what the websites think I do. The first site I came to after the search said, and I quote, "Physical therapist assistants work with physical therapists to help patients with exercises and other therapeutic treatments such as bathing, applying hot and cold packs, and massaging."

I have never seen a goal for bathing, nor have I seen a physical therapist put in a plan of care that bathing will be a therapeutic treatment. Perhaps the public still needs more education on what physical therapy is and what we do in different settings.

This second one should cause a stir because every time it is brought up, PTs seems to become irate. It is a description of what a physical therapist assistant does. "You'll be trained to conduct therapeutic exercises, provide therapeutic massage, observe patients and evaluate data on a patient's progress."

Imagine, me, evaluating data on a patient's progress. I think the powers that be forgot to tell this site that a PTA cannot evaluate data on a patient. Maybe they need me to write a description of what we do, although I know some PTs will be there to criticize it and even the state boards may show up again to question me about what I have written.

Lastly, "... the physical therapist assistant may also help by answering phones and doing administrative or clerical work." I think not. If an employer is going to pay me what they do, I doubt they will want me sitting at a desk answering phones or filing paperwork. This is nonproductive time for a therapist and it should be kept to a minimum.

I hope this Vision 2020 thing that the national organization is touting will come quickly and help educate the public about what physical therapy is really all about.



you probably evaluate data all the time and just don't realize it.  If you look at your patient's range of motion and notice than last month it was 50 degrees, and today it is 90 degrees- that is data evaluation.  You are looking at two pieces of data and evaluating that you have made progress.   Data evaluation is part of the PTA scope of practice, which is much different than a complete patient evaluation.  

Lisa Mueller February 3, 2012 10:27 AM

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About this Blog

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