There are a vast number of things you need to be prepared to do as a physical therapy assistant. The Physical therapy assistant job description is long a detailed, so before applying for a physical therapy assistant degree you should definitely keep in mind the various requirements for the position and make sure that they are things that you are willing a capable of doing. The following are some basic things you will have to do, and some basic skills that you will have to have:
- You will need to have good communication and reporting skills. This is one of the more important aspects of the physical therapy assistant job description as you will need to be in constant contact with the physical therapist you work for regarding the patients progress and so on. Your reporting skills come into play here as you will have to report things in a concise manner that allows for the minimum of misunderstanding possible.
- You will need to be able to gather data about your patients. This is a very important role in the physical therapy assistant job description, and you absolutely have to ensure that you are able to record this data accurately, and that you are able to assimilate this data into the plan for care that is being used with the patient in question.
- You will need to be able to communicate with patients and colleagues effectively in both written and spoken mediums.
- Not only will you be required to gather data, but you will also have to sue that data to draw conclusions. You will have to link that data to other information that you already have about the patient, and you will have to carefully analyse that data for patterns and any other important information that it may reveal.
- As a PTA you will need to know all of the legal and ethical requirements for the job. You will need to be able to apply them in practice at all times while you are working, and all of the treatments and interventions you are implementing under supervision and careful instruction are in line with the policies put forward by the relevant agencies, namely Guidelines of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Practice for PTAs.
- Although you will be under close and careful supervision at all times, you will need to be prepared to help your employer, who will be a registered physical therapist, to administer the necessary treatment interventions in a clinical environment.
- Once you have qualified as a PTA one of the main parts of the PTA job description is to, under supervision (as will always be the case) put a proper treatment plan into practice. It is important to note that this includes modifying the treatment plan should the need arise in accordance with the patent’s reaction to the treatment and with their progress.
There are several basic physical requirements that you will have to meet if you want to fulfil the physical therapy assistant job description. If you are unable to do the following then you will most certainly find the job of a physical therapy assistant very difficult indeed:
- As a physical therapy assistant you will have to do a lot of standing during sessions and between sessions. Therefore if you are unable to stand for a minimum of two hours than you may find this line of work to be a very challenging one indeed.
- You will need to be able to walk for at least six hours, but remember that these six hours are stretched out over the day and are not always consecutive. This is another important thing that you will need to be able to do if you want to perform your role as a physical therapy assistant effectively.
- You will need to be able to engage in such physical feats as bending, stooping or twisting for 30 minutes at a time. These 30 minute periods may be repeated throughout the day and you will need to be able to maintain the required position as often as need be.
- It is important that you have a certain degree of strength. If you cannot lift a 40 pound person by yourself, then you may not have the strength requirements necessary to successfully work as a PTA. On top of being able to lift a 40 pound person by yourself, you will also need to be able to assist others in lifting heavier patients and moving them into the required positions. Strength is an important part of being a physical therapy assistant.
- You will need to be able to determine a certain amount of information from your patient based on touch. For example, how hot or cold is the patient and are they sweating or not?
- Your fine motor coordination needs to be at a good level. You will need to perform activities and duties that require small muscle dexterity. Such tasks include such things as operating controls and putting on the gowns necessary for the therapy session.
- To become a physical therapy assistant you will need to have more than basic reading skills. What this means is that you will need to understand text-book material presented at eleventh grade level as a minimum literacy requirement. If you do not meet this requirement, then you may find that you will struggle as a PTA.
- Your communication skills also need to be very good. You will, for example, have to be able to give a clear and concise message in a number of different formats, including speech, writing and computerized formats. This is a very important aspect for any health care worker. You need to be able to communicate in order to ensure the continuous and constant well-being of the patients who are in your care.
- Once you have qualified as PTA it is a part of the physical therapy assistant job description that you keep up to date with literature on the subject and that you are able to apply that literature to your daily activities in work, in so far as the literature in question is in line with the ethical and practical requirements for practicing as a PTA.
- A very important aspect of being a PTA is commitment to ongoing education in the area. It is very important that you commit yourself to constantly improving your skills in the field of physical therapy and that you engage in continuous learning and physical therapy assistant training opportunities in order to ensure that your skills are up to date and that you are aware of any new advancements or discoveries in the field. A commitment in this area goes a long way to impressing your superiors and colleagues in terms of your dedication to your job.
- There is a licensure exam that you will have to pass. If you are someone who struggles with exams or tests, than you may find it difficult to operate in these circumstances. However, if you feel that you are able to fulfill all of the other roles outlined, than you should not let an exam stand in your way of becoming a physical therapy assistant.
- As you will be dealing with people all day long, your interpersonal skills will have to be very good. If you don’t like dealing with people, then this is definitely not the job for you. You will have to behave and interact appropriately with each of the people you come into contact with, including therapists and clients, and you will need to provide the appropriate psychological support and so on to patients who may need it during difficult times.
- You will need to be able to respond appropriately and quickly to signals given by both your patients and your employer in order to ensure that everything continue running smoothly. You will also need to know how to respond to the signals given by monitoring equipment and perform the necessary tasks required once you have interpreted the signal.
- A part of having interpersonal skills involves being able to interpret a situation as dangerous, or potentially dangerous, to the well-being of your patient. You will also need to know when to intervene and when not to intervene in order to ensure that no tragedies or catastrophes take place.
- A big part of the physical therapy assistant job description is to keep your head in a crisis situation. You need to be someone who can be relied on when things go wrong and who can cope under a great deal of pressure. This is a big part of being a physical therapy assistant and you will be required to be psychologically stable in this regard.
- You will need to look neat and tidy at all times. This means that you need to be clean and hygienic. The reason for this is that you will often be in close contact with patients and superiors, such as when you are lifting them and helping them from one place to another. It gives a very bad impression and is unpleasant for a patient if they have to put up with your unhygienic habits.
- If you take prescription or over the counter medication, you will have to be secure in the knowledge that this medication will not affect your functioning in any way as this will cause you to do your job less than perfectly.