What stressors are making life difficult for Physical Therapists?
High Cost of Education:
If you’re a young physical therapist, the chances are you are carrying some heavy debt from your (at minimum) six years of college. That burden can be an added source of stress for new grad PTs.
As a physical therapist, you spend every day caring for other people. Often, helping people who are suffering from illness or a traumatic injury can be emotionally straining. You may start to feel stressed or burnt out if you aren’t setting aside time to take care of yourself.
When am I taking time for me?
This applies to physical therapists physically as well as emotionally. Taking care of your body needs to be a priority as you keep up with your hectic schedule.
PTs tend to feel forced to bring their work home with them, because of the large amounts of documentation required when serving patients. This has been labeled “the worst part of being a PT.”
How can you cope with all of these demands on your time and effort?
First, it’s important to surround yourself with people who build you up. Second, try to spend 20 minutes a day improving yourself, whether by reading up on a topic you’d like to know more about, finding a way to be more organized, or watching a video that outlines a skill you’d like to improve.
Finally, when it comes to documentation, do your best to complete it at the clinic before you head home. This will give you an opportunity to clear your head, and focus your full attention on your family or the activities you do outside of work.
In order to provide the best possible patient care, you constantly need to be learning new things. When assisting recovering patients there may be many additional factors working against their progress.
With the rise of patient obesity in the US, it has become more difficult than ever to help patients recover from illnesses and surgeries.
Here’s another question PTs often ask:
How do I ensure my patients are exercising at home?
Ultimately, this is up to your patient, but many PTs struggle to find a way to prevent their patients from forgetting or neglecting their exercises when you aren’t there to supervise. Our best recommendation is to have your patient put up something visual, so that they will see it each day and remember.
For a shoulder patient, this could be our pulley with the metal over-the-door hook. The over-the-door hook goes up and stays up, as a constant reminder to patients to do their exercises.
Establishing a constant reminder in the patient’s home can lead to more regular workouts, and better results.
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SOURCES: Kuhn, John E, et al. “Effectiveness of Physical Therapy in Treating Atraumatic Full-Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears: a Multicenter Prospective Cohort Study.” Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3748251/.
Kuhn, John E. Exercise in the Treatment of Rotator Cuff Impingement: A Systematic Review and a Synthesized Evidence-Based Rehabilitation Protocol. 2008, http://kinesiologiarcb.com.ar/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Exercise-in-the-treatment-of-rotator-cuff-impingement-A-systematic-review-and-a-synthesized-evidence-based-rehabilitation-protocol.pdf.