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Career Story: Clinic Manager And Pediatric Physical Therapist

Clinic Manager And Pediatric Physical Therapist

Job Title: Clinic Manager And Pediatric Physical Therapist

Type of Company: Our network provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy services for children and adults.

Education: BS, Exercise Physiology, UMass-Lowell •• MS, Physical Therapy, UMass-Lowell ••

Previous Experience: I began working per diem in a nursing home and rehabilitation unit but wanted to work with children. I then took a job as an Early Intervention Specialist, working with children 0-3 years old in their homes. I have since become the manager for an adult/pediatric physical therapy clinic and get the best of both worlds.

Job Tasks: I am the clinic manager for a small physical therapy clinic that is part of a network which includes a rehabilitation hospital and twenty other satellite clinics. As the clinic manager, it is my responsibility to ensure that daily operations at the office are running smoothly. I supervise 7 therapists and 4 support staff. I have to balance my managerial responsibilities while carrying a full treatment caseload.

On a typical day, I will review statistics from the previous day, look to make sure each therapist has billed for his patients and that appointments were counted in the computer system. I review payroll daily to make sure it is ready to submit every 2 weeks. I meet briefly with the support staff to address any issues that may have come up from the day before. Next I will complete any documentation that I may have left from the day before: doctors' notes, weekly notes or insurance requests. I am then ready to prepare for the day ahead. Looking at my schedule, I have to be prepared to see up to 12 patients ranging from ages 0-99. I will perform evaluations as well as treatment sessions.

An adult treatment can begin with a hot pack followed by a warm-up on the treadmill or bike. We would then go through a stretching routine followed by a strengthening routine. Each program is specifically designed based on the evaluation I have completed on the patient. The program will change based on the patient's response to treatment and whether he's making progress or not.

A pediatric treatment may include passive range of motion, which means that I perform the stretching on the child. The rest of the treatment is usually divided into short games designed to strengthen muscles, improve posture, or address the specific needs of that child. An example would be "wall slide" basketball. The child stands with his or her back against a wall with the feet slightly forward. I have the child slide down the wall into a sitting position to pick up a ball and then slide back up before throwing into the hoop. This is used as a strengthening activity.

Throughout the day, I may need to address issues that staff bring to my attention: we're out of supplies, a patient's come in late for his appointment, requests to see a patient as soon as possible, calls from physicians... The list goes on and on.

I attend monthly manager's meetings and monthly pediatric development meetings to discuss the performance of each of the clinics as well as the hospital and any important information that we need to hear. We also address current practices, documentation, planning for events, staffing needs, and how the programs can continue to grow.

At the end of the day, I look at the schedule for the next day and the remainder of the week to see if there are any issues I need to address before we see the patients.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the daily interaction with people, working with them to feel better and live with less pain and improve their daily function.

The worst part of the job is when a patient is not improving. It is frustrating to the patient because he want to get better and it is frustrating for me as the therapist because I want to make him well.

Job Tips:
1. Volunteer in the field as a rehab aide. This will allow you to get a feel for the job and allow you to ask lots of questions.

2. Be flexible. Although patients are given schedules, they also have lives like the rest of us and sometimes they forget appointments. Flexibility is key to prevent feeling stressed when your daily schedule does not go exactly as planned.

3. Keep an open mind and be ready for change. Each time you see a patient you will be re-evaluating his progress. If progress is slow or minimal, look to see if there are other treatments you could try. Physical therapy is not always routine and you need to be able to make changes as the patient does (or doesn't).

Additional Thoughts: Physical therapy is a rewarding career. It is challenging but fun. As a pediatric therapist, I get to "play" all day -- although it can be tough to get children to do what you want them to.

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