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Career Story: Freelance Physical Therapist

Freelance Physical Therapist

Job Title: Physical Therapist

Type of Company: I'm a self-employed physical therapist.

Education: BS, physical therapy, Medical College of Virginia

Previous Experience: I worked in a couple of out-patient clinics and a hospital after college, serving as a staff physical therapist and clinical expert.

Job Tasks: A typical day for me is devoted to treating patients with chronic pelvic pain. I see eight of them on average every day, usually for 45 minutes apiece. Treatments include intensive hands-on therapy and instruction in self-treatment. Many of my patients suffer arthritis and pain that interfere with their work (and the rest of their lives). The home instruction helps them to ease this nagging pain and raise their levels of activity and fitness and become more independent.

I also spend a good deal of time documenting my visits and making note of the treatments I administer and the progress that patients have made. I schedule visits, return patients' phone calls and try to answer any questions that they ask. Occasionally too I do some billing. Because I'm self-employed, I have to market my services to doctors, calling on them and making sure that they know who I am. From time to time, I lecture to patient-support groups and I'm required by law, under the physical therapy licensing procedures in the state of Virginia, to review and keep up with the medical literature, reading medical journals and enrolling in continuing education seminars.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The absolute best part of the job as a physical therapist is the patient interaction. I see many patients weekly for approximately ten visits. During this time I get to know them very well. Most of my patients get better and are discharged from my care. This is very rewarding; I feel that my treatment makes a difference and really helps improve their lives.

The worst part of the job is the paperwork. Documenting each patient visit takes time that I would much rather spend in actual therapy.

Job Tips:
1.) Spend time volunteering or interning in a physical therapy clinic before deciding if its the right career choice for you.

2.) Practice as a general physical therapist before you specialize.

3.) Make sure you're comfortable with the physical and emotional interaction you'll have with patients.

4.) Enjoy the opportunity to make a difference!

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