Physical
therapy is the use of physical means, such as light, heat, cold, and exercise
to treat disease of injury. It’s mainly used to help prevent, relieve, or fix
conditions that interfere with a person’s physical ability to function normally.
I chose this job because I like the idea of being able to gradually grow a
relationship with my patients by just helping them try to get better. The
development of the career of physical therapy benefits society today with its
responsibilities, skills and education.

            Physical
therapy is helpful in treating many diseases and disabilities. It’s often used
for treating heart and lung diseases and various types of paralysis and muscle
weaknesses. There are many kinds of equipment, exercises, and self-help devices
are used to help the disabled. Radiant heat lamps, electric heating pads,
diathermy, hydrotherapy and paraffin baths are used to apply heat. The heat is
useful because it relieves pain, improves circulation, and relaxes the muscles.
Cold is usually used soon after an injury, but it helps lessen the pain and
swelling for the patient. Exercise is also important for physical therapy
because it helps to maintain and improve body function and posture, but also
increases muscle tone, strength, and endurance. Some exercises allow the
patient to perform them allow, but for others the patient may need help from
the therapist. Physical therapists train people to use these devices and to
develop confidence in accomplishing daily tasks.

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Physical therapy practice in the
United States evolved around two important historical events, which were the
poliomyelitis epidemics of the 1800s through the 1950s and the effects of the
ravages of several wars. The first individuals that were involved in the
training of “reconstruction aides” were Marguerite Sanderson and Mary
McMillan who were responsible for caring for those individuals wounded in World
War I. The main modes of treatment were isolation, immobilization, splinting,
bed rest, and eventually surgery. In World War II, there were many improvements
in medical management and surgical techniques that led to increasing numbers of
survivors with disabling wounds. In 1940, Sister Elizabeth Kenny brought her
treatment techniques to the United States to help the patients. Treatment
methods and technology have eventually led to quicker and more effective
recoveries and new methods have been established as well.

In order to have a successful career
in physical therapy, one must have the traits and skills that are necessary for
the job. Some traits for example would be having a passion for helping other
people, having commitment to rehabilitate, and wanting to help maintain and
develop a patient’s best possible health. People who are able to maintain
control of difficult situations with tenderness, empathy and are able to have a
sense of humor are usually more successful in this career. Having a lot of
tolerance is very helpful because patients at times take their aggression out
on the therapist and can say some things that can be taken very offensively.
Some specific skills that a physical therapist should have include being able
to multitask, communicate appropriately, detailed orientated and have good
physical stamina. One who is not social and have a low tolerance will most
likely not enjoy becoming a physical therapist.

Before one becomes a physical
therapist, they need a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, which is a
requirement in all of the states. Some of the programs for DPT’s will usually
last about 3 years, but an abundant amount of them require a bachelor’s degree
for admission. Most of the DPT programs also require applicants to apply
through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service. The average
tuition for those programs depends on whether its public and you’re in the
state, out of state or if it’s a private school. For public in-state students,
the tuition ranges from $3387 to $45340, out of state tuitions range from $8425
to $ 65156, and private school tuitions range from $19500 to $94020 (“Physical
Therapist (PT) Education Overview”). Physical therapist programs usually
include courses in biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, and
pharmacology, while keeping in mind that the students must complete at least 30
weeks of clinical work. During their clinical work, they’ll be able to gain
supervised experience in areas including as acute care and orthopedic care.
Some of the best schools that have the DPT program include, the University of
Delaware, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Southern California
(“Best Graduate Physical Therapy Programs). After college, licensed
physical therapists have the choice to pursue a residency or fellowship program
to improve their practice and knowledge. If one as a physical therapist wants to,
they have the opportunity to become board-certified specialists through the
American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) (“Physical
Therapist (PT) Education Overview”).

Employment for physical therapists
have a wide variety of different options to choose from when it comes to where
they decide they want to work at. They can work in clinics, hospitals, schools
for disabled students, private offices, academic institutions, home health
agencies, and nursing homes (World Book Advanced). Since physical therapy has
such a high demand in most health care facilities, the future for physical
therapy will most likely have a really positive outcome. Most health care
facilities will be hiring more people to keep the demand for them at a steady
level. As the years have gone by, the physical therapy field is also growing in
salary volume. The salary for a physical therapist has increased at a rapid
pace since 2010 (“How Much do Physical Therapists Make?”). The yearly
salary of a physical therapist usually ranges from about $82,560 to $84, 020,
but that also depends on where you live and where you work. In certain states
like Nevada and Alaska, the yearly salary for physical therapists is around
$120,00 since the compensation is very high in those states.

Physical therapy is one of the most
highly demanded careers that is in the health care field. All of the
responsibilities and skills of physical therapists have an impact on today’s
society. Even though the process that is necessary is long and difficult, the
outcome is what makes it counts.