Core Values Used in the Work of Physical Therapists

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The American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) outlines seven core values of the physical therapist assistant (American Physical Therapy Association, 2009). All of those core values are meant to be a framework by which all physical therapist assistants should abide. The core values include accountability, altruism, caring and compassion, excellence, professional duty, and social responsibility.

I have witnessed all of those core values during my first four weeks of clinicals in an outpatient setting. I have watched PT and PTA work and abide by those core values. Professional duty, as a core value, is what I would like to talk about. I have witnessed my clinical instructor and other PT’s and PTA’s at Cora dedicating their off time trying to teach others about the benefits of physical therapy. They worked off time during marathons and sports event making sure all the athletes will benefit from ASTYM therapy and they will understand the overall medical benefits of this profession. I experienced the pleasure of working in different branches of Cora, and everywhere I go I could always see two to three students being mentored by the PT’s and PTA’s. Every student was eager to learn, and every therapist was willing to teach, so students could reach their best potential.

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As for myself, I think care and compassion is the core value I stand by the most. In a world full of pain, I am choosing to let care and compassion be my drive. I am welcoming all the patients with a smile on my face even though not all the patients have one in return. I got the pleasure of treating older patients and I remembered my teachers saying that, when some of those patients were coming to physical therapy, that visit could have be the only time those patients actually get to talk with anyone. So, I have learned to listen to them, and it was amazing to hear their story and use parts of it in therapy. By listening I found out what motivated them the best. I had the pleasure of working with a 92-year-old patient in one of the clinics. She told me that she lived by herself and she did not have many people around. I decide to do the exercises with her, and like that she got extremely motivated. I could see her smile every time she was coming back for a different session.

I think we can learn something from everyone, and I have learned from others, traits that I can adopt in order to increase my overall professionalism. This project gave me the chance to look at my strengths as well as my weaknesses so that I can now focus on the core values I need improvement on. Those core values that every PT/PTA practicing this profession should abide by, will help us give our patients reasons to get better because physical therapy can change lives. People’s pain and discomfort should be healed by therapists that abide by all of the seven core values.    

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