Welcome to Health Care POV | sign in | join
PTA Blog Talk

Time Off Work

Published May 22, 2014 9:49 PM by Jason Marketti

A recent study of surgeons who had a couple days off work showed an increase in patient mortality rates when they came back to the hospital and performed CABG surgery. This increase may have been from scheduling the sickest patients first, who would not have survived regardless of when the surgery was performed, or from a lack of attention to detail and being out of practice with the surgery team. There was also a noticeable decrease in costs when a surgeon came back to work, which may be attributable to surgeons not ordering tests they normally would after a surgery.

So what would happen after a week or two off in the therapy field? Would we forget details, hand placements, basic exercises? Would we be able to properly educate patients on hip and back precautions or are we so skilled in performing our art that information stays with us forever? After I took a couple of months off in 2004, I struggled with my first few patients. After a week, I was back in full swing like I never left. I did forget some information but that was quickly recovered with a home review of details on the patient's limitations.

I would suspect that time in the field has a lot to do with how we perform after being away for a while. The longer we do an activity, the more innate it would become. Like throwing a baseball or hitting a golf ball. The more we practice and perfect what we do in the chosen profession, the easier it is to remember exactly how to do it and how to respond when we need to adjust and adapt to changes.

When I had surgery and took a three-month leave, I actually did more research into what we do than I had ever done before. I looked at evidence, patient responses to what we do, muscle actions, almost anything that dealt with our profession so I could better understand patient perspectives and what they look for in a therapist. The time off was well spent for me and I didn't miss a beat when I came back to work.

You Might Also Like...

Take a Break

Time off is good for you as well as your career.



Not all the PT's who make those goals and similar documentation are PRN.  Remember, they are my direct supervisor in the clinics and hospitals I have worked in.  And when a PT director makes goals that are not achievable, where do I go from there?

The point is, mistakes happen and patient information is missed by health providers.  Some of the information can be damaging to the patient if medical information is missing on the eval like sternal precautions, weight bearing status, and other medical issues that are pertinent for another provider.  

Jason Marketti May 26, 2014 1:34 PM

Hi Jason,

      Perhaps your institution needs to be more selective in their PRN hiring practice.  Are billable hours/treatments more important than quality/accuracy? That PT should be removed from the list of usable PRN and reported to the hiring agency being used. You as a PTA finding this, need to bring it to your superior's attention. It's not an easy position you are in. Jeanne

Jeanne May 25, 2014 9:08 PM


You would be surprised at what I found in some evals after even a weekend.  Goals for bilateral LE exercises for an amputee, weight bearing restrictions when there was no hip surgery,  10 short term goals that often repeated and overlapped.  

I may not be the brightest PTA but there is no way I could work towards some of the goals I have seen.  

Jason Marketti May 24, 2014 6:29 AM

The world of cardiac surgery is far from the world of PT. Sabbaticals,medical leave,maternity leave ,etc.are part of life/work life. Time off even just to relax is something we all should do. I would hope that a PT would be just fine..... and their patients too after time away.

Jeanne May 23, 2014 11:36 AM

leave a comment

To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Enter the security code below:


About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
  • About Blog and Author

Keep Me Updated

Recent Posts