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Personal Experience

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“When a patient’s body isn’t responding,

Tadas
Language: English
Country: Lithuania
Typology: health care professionals
Text:
I am working with patients who have limited use of their own bodies dueto injury or disability and help to build flexibility, strength, and spirit. My goals are to reduce the patients’ pain, to increase their range of motion, and to give them back their sense of self-determination. All day I help people get back in charge of their lives. and that makes me feel great! This sense of contributing to peoples’ quality of life is important to those entering the field. Physical therapy is emotionally and physically demanding, and a patient’s progress has to be measured in extremely small increments. Still I am extremely happy with my choice of occupation. I am working in a hospital and private office setting, seeing roughly ten patients per day. Some physical therapists have specialties that require additional certification, such as gerontology, sports physical therapy, ob/gyn, pediatrics, orthopedics, neurology, or degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Most are generalists and must be able to evaluate a patient’s condition and design a reasonable rehabilitation program. Often I see patients after traumatic injuries sustained in car crashes, sports mishaps, or other types of accidents. In these cases I work closely with physicians to determine the pace and expected progress of the patient. I must to be sensitive not only to the physical limitations of my patients but to their emotional limitations as well. “You have to be able to motivate people to do exercises that hurt and remind them of their limitations,and the last part is the most difficult part for me. The emotional strain of working with people who are frustrated at their newly limited abilities can take its toll. “When a patient’s body isn’t responding, they can take it out on you”. Emotional attachment to patients is nearly inevitable after months or even years of close association, and being the target of people’s anger and frustration can be a drag; of the ten percent who leave physical therapy each year, more than half cite “depression” as one factor. The profession is physically demanding, too; most of a physical therapist’s time is spent standing, crouching, bending, and using her muscles, and long days followed by sore evenings are common. Also, physical therapists spend about 10 percent of their time on tedious paper work, filing progress reports and filling out insurance claim forms. This aspect of the job is expected to become more demanding in the future, as insurers are now targeting rehabilitation therapy for cuts.


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