Joined: December 20, 2006
Hi all. I currently am finishing up my prerequisites for PT school, and I work in an outpatient clinic as a tech. I really think I will like being a PT, but I want to hear it from you(PTs or PTAs). - Do you like your job? - If you were 19 again, would you take the same route? - What do you really like about the job? - What do you really dislike about the job? - How stressed out do you get?
yada yada ya. I would appreciate any other comments you are willing to make. Thanks alot Doug
Joined: May 25, 2003
I've been out of school 10 years and work in ICU, acute care, burns...I love my job and would do it all over again. My wife is also a PT and spent 7 years in geriatrics..she was getting burned out and recently switched to pediatrics. She loves it now and spends alot of time re-educating herself into the world of PT peiatrics. She comes home talking about the kids she worked with...like the new grad days! That's what is great about this field. If you get bored in one setting, you can easily move to something else. The stress is low for me, hours 8 to 5 Mon-Fri only and spend tons of time with my family. That is the main thing I like. My 2 cents...Good luck!
Joined: January 8, 2004
From: Los Angeles area
I've been out of school almost 10 years and doing peds the whole time. I have hit times of burn out and then switched to clinics/hospitals with different focuses and specialties. I also take a lot of con-ed to keep interested in the field and keep my brain active. Yes I like my job. Most every PT I know does. Not sure if I'd take the same route but probably. Sure you can make more with other professions but this field is very rewarding in a lot of ways. I like about the field and find it interesting: the way the human body functions (musculoskeletal, neurological, etc.) and how we can not only effect change, but teach people how to help themselves. We are not enablers forcing them to come to us forever, but teaching them how to live healthier lives. I also like that it's more of a set time schedule, no on-call or all night hours. For my home health kids I set my own hours. I don't like the emotional stress, the paperwork, and when you have to deal with people/situations that you can't really help. Either due to neglect of caregiver, denial of caregiver, non-compliance or nature of the disease. In peds, it can be very emotional dealing with the parents psychological acceptance of the problem and teaching them to be happy over small accomplishments. After doing peds for 10 years, it also starts to wear on you to see what actually happens to these kids and their families as they age with a disability (or two or three). However, I have found that the type of people who go into PT are just nice people and easy to work with (for the most part), so going in to work has always been enjoyable with my co-workers. So, overall if you like working at your clinic now, and you are good at interacting with people (because your people skills will be a huge part of your job), then go for it. Good luck! tc, PT, MPT
Joined: February 27, 2005
I'm as convinced now as I ever was that physio was/is an excellent career choice. Variety , demanding, can be lucrative , independant ( at least here in OZ anyway ). I was never 19 , but if I was , I'd just go to brasil and weigh up my options from the beach at portalezi.
Joined: June 12, 2004
From: Glendale, AZ
Good questions! You will probably get a generally favorable response from this group. That is why they are on this forum, because they think about their job when they aren't working, because they like it.
I enjoy my job. As far as work goes, its pretty good.
If I was 19 I would do the same thing. I was having a lot of fun in college around that time.
What I like about the job- The people you meet, the ability to be yourself (with a dash of professionalism), the ability to have a job waiting for you anywhere you want to go in the country, the problem solving (keeps my mind somewhat sharp).
What do I dislike- typical job stuff. Also certain patients that don't want to get better (emotionally attached to their pain), the malingerers (injury fakers)), paperwork, fighting insurance.
Do I get stressed- yes, if I can't figure out how to fix a patient. I take it home with me, sometimes keeps me up at night. It drives me to learn, but pisses me off as well. Also stressed if my support personnel aren't doing their job, but that goes with any profession.
Joined: December 20, 2006
Thank you Tucker, TC, ginger, and ianwvu. I am extremely excited to hear your positives responses! Many of the positives that you have mentioned are what have attracted me to this field. I enjoy working at the clinic very much, but I wanted to hear perspective from others. Physical Therapy appears to be a very challenging and rewarding field that has tremendous job security. The variety of setting and specialization is also very interesting. I appreciate your responses.
Joined: May 11, 2004
I guess I like what I do. I know I didn't like being an athletic trainer. I switched fields to be a therapist.
I'd really like to be an engineer or an attorney. I made my choice based on the lifestyle I wanted to have... I've never wanted to work full-time and I wanted to make a decent salary with whatever I did do part-time. I don't believe I'm exactly truly happy... I'm missing something. Part of the "missing" is that in the decisions that I have made, I decided years ago that family and kids would be my priority. Because of that decision, I've ahd to in a way, sacrifice what I really want because I am putting them before me. For me, I'm missing a mental challenge, I guess. I enjoy mathematics and haven't had to use that for years... I love matching wits/thoughts with anyone and you don't do that often in PT either. Well, I guess in a way I do, but it isn't done in an obvious manner. Ian mentioned problem-solving - we never know the answer - there is a ton of psychological stuff and altered brains out there that there are times that we can't make a dent or even understand the crap someone is going through or someone's interpretation of their crap. I hate to also say it, but there aren't enough men in the PT field to keep the workplace fun. I like joking around and saying things that I'd call zingers... it's not as much fun with women. LOL In larger facilities, women drive me nuts with their manipulative ways and their cattiness.
I hate the paper work with a passion. I hate having to read all the changes with Medicare and then alter my way of doing things to maintain my 'participatory' status. I hate the definition of the CPT codes. I hate being boxed in by CPT codes. I dislike how reimbursement continues to decrease.
Hey... I'm really not a negative person. The paths I have taken satisfy my #1 priority and how I wanted to achieve that priority. Do I think the job is a match for me if I didn't have priorities? Probably not.. I really would be an engineer or an attorney. LOL
Joined: August 15, 2006
Never to late to change careers SJ. I'm married to a mechanical engineer and my field drives him nuts. I can't imagine what it is like for you from that point of view. When your family is at a point where you can, take some classes and point yourself to your passion...lot of people have done that and so can you. Your family will stand behind you cheering you on and be very proud of you because I am sure you have instilled in them by being there that sense of connectedness. You will show them how choices and life flexibility and patience can bring great reward on many levels. As for me Doug, yes I love my field and for the reason mentioned by SJ, my first priority is my family too and it has allowed me to be very flexible with respect to them. When I started my own practice it became a family affair. They helped with laundry, cleaning, clerical stuff like copying and filing, and my son was a big help with the computer challenges. So yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Karie
Joined: February 14, 2003
From: Madison WI USA
Hey Doug, Sounds like you will like PT. You have the benefit of getting into it at a point in time that allows you the current highest level (DPT) as you exit school, allowing for avoidance of BS versus MS versus DPT. Ive been doing it now for 13 years, starting in the fall of 1993. I have liked it on most days throughout that time frame, spending all but about 1.5 years in outpatient ortho setting. I truly enjoy educating people and treating them so that they have less problem with function, and less pain overall, and this is often very rewarding. When it is less fun, are the cases where the progress is measured in minute amounts over very long time frames. The pressure to appease the payors in a reasonable time frame is a bit bothersome. This occurs less than 20% of the time, but nevertheless is a pain.
This is the only career I have ever had, as the professional baseball career I had planned didnt quite pan out. I guess there is no place for a 70 MPH fastball in the big leagues. Nor did the pro cycling tour. I cant imagine what else I might do other than PT at this point in my life, as I have become quite use to the lifestyle that PT affords, albeit with significant help from my wife,who is in health care administration. We both enjoy the lifestyle we have, on most days, and our kids dont forget our names.
I do battle burnout on regular occasion, sometimes a good course will renew my interest. I also battle the return to school idea, as the vast majority of the time, I find it hard to believe it would be as rewarding as it would be financially taxing, not to mention that I dont see it leading to the end result that those who developed the vision see. I am sure I would find it intellectually rewarding, I just dont know if I want to do it. I like to do things because I want to, or need to, not because others think I should. It has to make sense to ME. Its a struggle, in my little head, and I have heard the pros and cons, and yet still I remain undecided.
Joined: October 27, 2002
From: New York, NY
Great thread. No one who knows me would ever accuse me of being overly positive. However, I can say without hesitation, I LOVE my job. If I won the lottery tommorow, I would honestly be back at work doing the same thing the next week (albeit with less restraint on the things I say to people).
I am a full time educator. I did enjoy the clinic but I like teaching a lot more. It just seems to fit me. I miss the social aspects of the clinic and working people somewhat, but not enough to go back full time.
As for you, SJ, I think we have a solution. You already like research, and you like math/engineering.....how about a degree in public health and then teaching somewhere? Are there any programs near you?
Joined: December 20, 2006
thanks to everyone for the responses. SJ, I understand where you are coming from. As many of you have mentioned(and I have become aware of from working in a clinic), there are some very tedious aspects of the job. The paperwork, insurance mess, and difficult patients(unwilling, unmotivated, fakers) are all parts of the job that seem less than desirable. However, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives in my eyes, and I am glad to see that most of you have had that experience.
Just wanted to chime in on this thread with a bit of a tangent...I'm going into PT, no doubt about that. However, by the time I graduate I'll be 33. Anyone feel like that's going to put me "behind" in terms of succeeding in the field? I'm still "young", athletic, and active from a physical standpoint, and have degrees in Biology and Management. I also have previous career experience in personal/speed/agility training, high school teaching/coaching, and marketing/ad sales, which is what I'm doing now...chasing the $$...don't ask:( I feel like that mix of experience and my maturity from having a previous career will be a positive. But, I know PT has been "hot" in recent years and I sometimes I worry about missing the "wave". Anyone got any real world reasons to be optimistic about the long-term viability (other than the BLS data) of the PT field and my entrance into it as a 33 yr old?
Joined: November 15, 2003
Nothing could be better than to have a broad spectrum behind yourself before going into PT, especially Management and Biology. Puts you several steps ahead in gaining understanding when dealing with people, be it patients or colleagues. You're not too old at all. As for long term viability of PT, there are mixed prognoses about its survival against the stiff competition of other practitioners, but there seems to be no near-future threat to its viability.
Joined: February 27, 2005
I was 33 when I graduated Grant. Looking back , I was just as green as any new grad. Didn't hold me back in any way , quite the opposite. Once you've made a career choice , from the heart, your path is clear. It's the decisions you make as an educated mature individual that really matter, let them carry you , you won't regret what you truly feel is right for you.
Joined: May 11, 2004
LOL Marc. I don't hate what I do... I don't know, it just isn't probably exactly what I envisioned myself doing. I'm not sure what my career is missing. I had a busy day today and I love working with patients. I can jump out of bed, read all sorts of crap about PT, go to the clinic without dragging my butt - I never need any coffee to wake me up... at the same time, it might not be exactly what I "like." I'd never give my kids back and I definitely don't regret having kids, but I had a choice to make and I had to decide what was a priority to me. This particular career allows me to keep my priority a priority. I can do this particular career and I'm okay at it. Karie, my kids do the same thing in the clinic. They even assist me with patients. Yeah, I dump money into their account too - nice perk owning a business. But, it also teaches them responsibility and some empathy.
No, thanks, Marc. The politics of public health would drive me nuts and the almighty dollar always rules. I'd rather be into designing something or another. LOL And no, teaching wouldn't satisfy me. If you think about it, I already do that day in and day out. For me, right now, the "pros" of the decisions I have made outweigh the "cons." Life is a lot of choices. When my priorities change, maybe I will look at other avenues.
Joined: March 1, 2003
SJ--I think we live in a parallel universe! Agree with quite a bit of what you said. (mostly the part about other women-- it is the reason I went out on my own). I always enjoyed kidding around with the guys, but my co-worker and I joke about how we are more "guys" than some men we know! Going to the Twins games, our mission to sample all the beers in the "world of beer" book we got--you get the idea. We can be girly-girls too (addicted to going to Partylite candle parties). I went to college at age 27 and never regretted my career choice (RN vs. PT) I have the utmost respect for the nursing profession but it just wasn't for me. I MIGHT have pursued becoming a family practice physician if I were 19, but then again, I don't think I had my head quite together at that time in my life. I love owning my own practice, but get tired of trying to keep up with all the insurance (Medicare) crap.
Joined: August 25, 2000
Love my job and I have no regrets. If I was 19 again, I wouldn't change a thing. The only difference would be that I would have gone to a residency right after graduation. The satisfaction I get treating patients and getting positive results offsets the paperwork and administrative duties that also come along with the job.
was an "old grad" as well -= after army, bookkeeping stint (ARGH!!), foreign correspondence and teaching high school....got the chance to go to med school after PT grad - but another couple of years and then? Nah - Love my decision to become PT.
Joined: May 11, 2004
LOL Holly... Part of the reason I took a position with a physician owned practice DID have to do with the opportunity work in an environment that definitely had a higher amount of males. Now, granted... it was a better finanical move and from a career perspective, I knew I'd always have patients and I could have a much easier ability to do outcome research and could also have the opportunity to design post-op protocols (maybe become like Kevin Wilk... LOL). [So what if the APTA and a lot of other PTs don't believe it was the right move. I'm strong and am not easily swayed to do something I don't believe in or don't want to do.] I had a lot of fun with them - I could be serious and professional but could definitely mix in pranks and zingers. When you disagree with men and get into a knockdown heated argument, when it's over it's over. Done deal and no daily ramifications or whining going on - and no pettiness or grudges. LOL (Often times the issues are revisited, sure, but not with some hidden agenda.) I would work with a dozen men versus a dozen women any day! Sexual harassment and untasteful jokes are WAY easier to deal with then the crap women do. LOL Doug and Grant... I don't care what kind of degree you choose... be a PT, make some woman's day! LMAO Holly and I agree that we need some balance in this profession! LOL