A Day in the Life of PTAs: What Do Physical Therapy Assistants Do?

3 minute read

A physical therapy assistant (PTA) is a rewarding career that leaves a lasting impact on your community. When you work directly with patients to increase or repair their mobility, you give them a new lease on life. Let’s dive into a day in the life of physical therapy assistants and learn what their responsibilities entail.

What Does a Physical Therapy Assistant Do?

Physical therapists hire PTAs to help manage their patient workload. Therefore, as a PTA, you can expect to work directly under a physical therapist. This medical professional will examine, diagnose, and create a care plan for individuals that need physical therapy. Typically your responsibilities will directly reflect these care routes. 

Your duties in a single day could include but are not limited to:

  • Working closely with patients for extended periods
  • Monitoring and recording patient’s progress and health status
  • Helping patients perform mobility techniques
  • Massaging patient’s muscles
  • Stretching with a patient before therapy
  • Preparing equipment
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Answering phone calls and emails
  • Sanitizing therapy room and equipment

In other words, you can expect this job to engage in physically demanding tasks combined with clerical work. The type of work you do will heavily rely on the healthcare setting of your occupation. The roles vary since physical therapy assistants can work in hospital settings, doctor offices, nursing care facilities, or private practices. This is especially true if you work for an at-home service and spend time traveling from the facility to your patient’s homes. So, let’s dive into what you can generally expect from a day in the life of a PTA.

A Normal Day for a PTA

To start your day, you’ll want to come to work 15 to 20 minutes early if you have a busy schedule. A busy schedule can have you working with 15 to 30 patients in a single day. Therefore, it is critical to begin your day early enough to organize clerical work. 

Clerical work will entail scheduling and often rescheduling appointments. You might run into cancellations or the need to change session times. So, the beginning of your workday will start with organization and preparation.

You will see yourself reviewing paperwork throughout each day. Your therapist will create a clear, personalized outline of scientifically based mobility techniques for each patient. It’s imperative to review each report and monitor any notes or changes from the Physical Therapist before each session. 

Once you’re ready to begin, you will start working directly with patients to complete their daily goals. This can look like helping increase mobility in a person with a sports-related injury or working with an elderly patient to establish balance and muscle strength. 

Additionally, you might find yourself teaching a new patient to use a prosthetic or rehabilitating a stroke survivor. It’s very common to work with the same patients multiple times a week, so you will establish a relationship with many of your patients.

When Patients Become Family

Physical therapy assistant jobs are unique in that PTAs often work with the same patient over weeks or months to complete health objectives. You will hold hands with a patient through one of the worst periods of their lives, all while improving their functioning capabilities and helping them lead an active lifestyle once again.

On the other hand, this might also be one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences of their lives. It’s vital that you are compassionate and empathetic, as well as their cheerleader.

In brief, a PTA can expect to create bonds with their patients. It’s your job to help push them through their session. The hard work will pay off whenever you see the results.

Since this position can be overwhelming physically and mentally, always wrap your day up with a self-care routine. This can be a favorite pastime, exercise, or spending quality time with your loved ones. 

Start Working as a PTA Today!

CynaMed knows how rewarding and lucrative a PTA position can be. We work closely with reputable health care facilities to match medical professionals with their dream jobs. Reach out to one of our representatives to start working now. 

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