The role of technical documents in the field of physical therapy Brittany Emerson ENGL 3053 12/8/09
What is physical therapy? Physical therapy is a dynamic healthcare profession that focuses on developing, maintaining and restoring maximal mobility and functional abilities throughout life.
Areas of Specialty
A bachelors degree in a major of choice provided the prerequisites for physical therapy school are met.
The majority of current physical therapists practice with master’s degrees, however, it is now widely expected that a doctoral degree should be obtained. In 2007, there were 209 accredited physical therapy programs in the United States. 43 offered master’s programs and 143 offered doctoral degrees.
After receiving a master’s or doctoral degree, a licensure exam must be taken in the state that therapist plans to practice physical therapy.
How to become a physical therapist
Physical therapists typical practice in one of the following settings: hospitals, clinics, private offices, homes or schools.
These jobs can be physically demanding because therapists often have to stoop, kneel, crouch, lift, and stand for long periods. In addition, physical therapists move heavy equipment and lift patients or help them turn, stand, or walk.
In 2006, most full-time physical therapists worked a 40-hour week; some worked evenings and weekends to fit their patients’ schedules. About 1 in 5 physical therapists worked part time.
Duties of a physical therapist
Examine individuals with impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities or other health related conditions in order to determine diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention options.
Alleviate impairment and functional limitations by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions.
Prevent injury, impairment, functional limitation, and disability. This is done by promoting the maintenance of fitness, health, and quality of life in people of all ages.
Partake in consultation, education, and research.
Significant points regarding the field
Employment is expected to increase much faster than average.
Job opportunities should be good, particularly in acute hospital, rehabilitation, and orthopedic settings.
About 6 out of 10 physical therapists work in hospitals or in offices of physical therapists.
Important readings prior to entering the field
Physical therapist Walisi Bowen recommends reading a book on stress management prior to entering physical therapy school and the field of physical therapy. Her suggestions was a book called “Idiot’s Guide to Managing Stress,” by Jeff Davidson.
Physical therapy assistant Amber Johnson recommends reading “Opportunities in Physical Therapy,” by Bernice Krumhansl.
Physical therapist Rush Jordan recommends reading “Physical Therapy The Truth: For Students, Clinicians, and Healthcare Professionals.”
What do physical therapists read? Daily
Patient hospital charts (Walisi Bowen, PT)
Orthotic catalogues (Amber Johnson, PTA)
APTA articles (Rush Jordan, PT)
Journals (example: Advance, Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association)
APTA annual report (Amber Johnson, PTA)
Continuing education material
American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) APTA’s website contains information important for staying up to date with the physical therapy world. Most of their articles require membership to be able to be accessed. However, annual reports can be viewed by the public. APTA publishes an annual report each year stating the status of current goals and research advances. APTA’s website is a great resource for those looking to learn more about physical therapy. www.apta.org
Important reading material
“Honestly, the most important material that I read are patient charts. Each diagnosis is a little different and there’s no better way to understand your patient’s needs than closely studying their charts.” (Walisi Bowen, PT)
“Continuing education materials have important for me. It really helps me brush up on things that I may be rusty on. It’s important to be familiar with those kinds of documents so you understand the language that they use.” (Amber Johnson, PTA)
APTA’s website is also recommended by therapists in the field. It allows them to keep themselves up to date with what’s going on in the world of physical therapy.
Advance: For Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine This magazine is considered the nations physical therapy news magazine. It includes information on specific products, continuing education courses, new research in the field and job opportunities. More information can be found on their website. http://physical-therapy.advanceweb.com/
Reading Recommendations by Professionals
“Learn medical terminology and learn it well. There’s no way to know what is going on in a patient’s chart if you don’t know what the physician is talking about. It’s really important to try to get the opportunity to read patient charts as early as possible in your career and familiarize yourself with that type of document.” (Walisi Bowen, PT)
“I’d say that one of the best things to do is to branch out and read other materials that are out there. Don’t be ignorant to what advancements are going on the world of physical therapy. You have to read journals and websites to keep yourself current.” (Rush Jordan, PT)
“I think that they should make sure students are familiar with writing abstracts. That’s the closest you can get to patient charts without actually writing them. All of our writing is short and sweet since we see so many patients. It’s important to learn the skills that you’d need in order to write an abstract. They carry over to your clinical writings.” (Rush Jordan, PT)
Writing PowerPoint projects. According to Walisi Bowen, presentations are often necessary and being familiar with writing styles appropriate for PowerPoint have been beneficial for her.
Journal articles. As stated by Amber Johnson, “if you’re going into the field, you’re probably going to write a journal article. It’d help you if you knew how to do it.”
Professional to professional writing
- It’s important to be able to interpret the research of other professionals (Rush Jordan, PT)
- “Charting is a different way to write. It uses a lot more abbreviations than what you’re taught in school, but students can work on making their writing brief and concise now.” (Walisi Bowen, PT)
American Physical Therapy Association newsletters
-These newsletters are typically only available to APTA members. In order to be a members, you must be a PT/PTA student or graduate. This results in all newsletters being professional to professional documents.
Therapist to therapist communication
-Often therapists will receive patients who had been seeing another physical therapist previously. It is important to be able to communicate well through writing with other individuals in the field.
Everyday writing by professionals
The primary document by professionals in the field of physical therapy are S.O.A.P notes. A soap note contains information regarding subjective information, objective information, an assessment, and a plan. It is recommended by most that the subjective, assessment and plan sections be approximately 2-3 sentences. This results in concise writings that allows other clinical professionals to find important information in your note quickly.
Writing advice from professionals “I just wish people knew how to spell. Grammar is so important and people often don’t realize that they sound much less credible when they spell words incorrectly or format their sentences wrong in their documents.” (Walisi Bowen, PT) “Learn to get rid of the fluff. A lot of times, teachers will require papers to be certain lengths and you have to add a lot of excess information to meet their requirements. In our field, short is better. Physicians don’t have time to read novels. Students should learn to make their writing clear and brief. “ (Rush Jordan, PT) Writing skills were also emphasized in the program descriptions of most physical therapy schools. An example of such a school was Indiana University.
Resources American Physical Therapy Association. 2008. 1 December 2009 <www.apta.org>. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. 20 April 2009. 1 December 2009 <http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos080.htm>. Indiana University. 2007. 1 December 2009 <http://www.hpplc.indiana.edu/ohp/ohp-pt.shtml >. Section on Research. 2009. 1 December 2009 <www.ptresearch.com>.
References Bowen, Walisi. Physical Therapist Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Johnson, Amber. Physical Therapy Assistant Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Jordan, Rush. Physical Therapist Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Bowen, Walisi. Physical Therapist Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Johnson, Amber. Physical Therapy Assistant Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Jordan, Rush. Physical Therapist Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Bowen, Walisi. Physical Therapist Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Johnson, Amber. Physical Therapy Assistant Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009. Jordan, Rush. Physical Therapist Brittany Emerson. 30 November 2009.