The Required Education and Training for Physical Therapy

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Table of Contents

  • Physical Therapy History and Purpose
  • Purpose and Mission of Texas Physical Therapy Association
    Purpose of the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
    PT/PTA Education Comparison
    PT/PTA Job Responsibility Comparison
  • Projected Growth of PT and PTA Jobs
  • Acute Care Physical Therapy

The physical therapy profession has being practice from early time to present. However, two major historical event has brought to what it is now the profession of physical therapy to its highest point. During the time from those major events to present some organizations were created, and each one has its own purpose and mission towards the patients and others towards the individuals pursuing the physical therapy career. There are several points to discuss, and see how the profession has evolve, for example, the types of setting where a physical therapist can practice, the salaries, and the growth expectation of the profession. In this research assignment, there would be a discussion explaining why the research elected this career what event in his life made him choose the career, how did he found out about the career and what would he do to obtain his degree.

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Physical Therapy History and Purpose

Physical therapy dates way back to ancient times about 400 BC. During this time, some of the techniques that were used during that time like therapeutic massage, exercises, and hydrotherapy, are still implemented in modern times. However, there are two major events in the United Stated that helped to build the foundation of the physical therapy profession. The first major event was the Great War, or as commonly known World War I, this event brought back many disable veterans that required services in order to go back to their previews lives before joining the war. The second major event was the outbreak of a disease called Poliomyelitis. During this time, the treatments were to immobilize the patient and rest, which in reality this oppose a greater dilemma because there was weakening in their extremities and required extended therapy. Mary McMillan and Marguerite Sanderson were the first women to make big impact to the profession. Sanderson was appointed the first Supervisor of Reconstruction Aides and McMillan went to Oregon to train the War Emergency Training Program, soon to become the standard of Reeds College’s physical therapy curriculum. Another major achievement for McMillan was the creation of the American Women’s Physical Therapeutics Association (AWPTA)

During the time from WWI to present there has being many name changes, from American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association, American Physiotherapy Association (APA) and it wasn’t until 1946 when it actually establish its current name to American Physical Therapy Association commonly known as APTA till present. The purpose of the association is to establish and maintain professional and scientific standards for individuals who were involved with the profession of physical therapy. (BARRETT, 2019)

The mission of APTA is to Building a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society (Bellamy, ‘APTA Mission Statement’). however we can’t say that the mission of APTA can be left alone we need to keep it together with the vision of APTA which states, “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.”

Purpose and Mission of Texas Physical Therapy Association

The Texas Physical Therapy Association was founded in 1994, and it was created to raise funds for grants for research and education to therapist in Texas. The TPTA mission is to advance physical therapist practice to optimize the movement, health, and wellness of people in Texas. (Maxwell, ‘Home’)

Purpose of the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners

The Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners was created in 1993, it is an independent administrative government agency with the purpose and the mission to regulate and enforce individuals trying to practice in the state of Texas by demonstrating the highest standards of ethics, accountability, efficiency, and openness on order to protect Texans health, safety and welfare. The purpose and mission of the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners is to protect the individuals of Texas, health, safety and welfare by enforcement and regulation of practice. (‘Executive Council’)

PT/PTA Education Comparison

The PTA education is different in many aspects when comparing it to PT school. The first difference is that PTA is a 2 years associates degree and consist of 5 semesters including in classroom courses and an approximately a 16 weeks of clinical experience. Also the courses for the PTA program include biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, clinical pathology and some other classes that are more centralized in the intervention aspects of the therapy with. The program is structure with the purpose of a graduate student to be productive by providing interventions, to be able to collect data, and be an integral person with core values that the program helps to solidify.

In the other hand, the PT program requires the student to have a bachelor in order for him to go and get accepted into the DPT school since masters level is not offered any more. The DPT program is about 3 years long consisting of 80% in class lectures and 20% approximately 27 weeks in clinical experience. Some classes that the PT program include overlap with some that the PTA program offer like biomechanics, kinesiology neuroscience, however there are some that are only in the PT curriculum like biology, cellular histology, pharmacology, sociology, management sciences, finance, sociology, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic, and musculoskeletal. (Huynh, ‘Physical Therapist (PT) Education Overview’). As stated in the APTA website the APTA do not rank programs but one needs to find a program that is CAPTE certify in order to be able to sit to take the NPTE and practice in the US. (Gardner, ‘Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Education Overview’),

PT/PTA Job Responsibility Comparison

The PT is the one that is responsible of doing the referral interpretation, examination, evaluation, creates a Plan of Care (POC) base on the evaluation to determine short and long term goals, discharge criteria, wound care, reevaluation, modification of the POC, frequency of treatment and duration, establish prognosis of patient and joint mobilization. The PTA cannot do any of the previews jobs because those are only for the PT with the exception of wound care, that would depend only on the PTAs training and experiences and if the PT trust your knowledge and skill to perform that duty. Another duty of the PTA is to provide physical interventions based on the POC dictated by the PT. The PTA is able to collect data in order to record the progress of the therapy or if the patient is stable in a plateau. The PTA needs to be able to communicate efficiently to the PT supervisor any change in levels of consciousness, vital signs, mental state, and pain. The PTA should be able to recognize these symptoms and provide any updates relating to the patient’s health. Something that the PTA and PT can do is to collect data, take notes and document progress in POC, provide supervision of a PT aide/tech, and provide skill intervention. Based on the Health Occupations: Occupational Outlook Handbook the average salary for the PTA is $48,090 annually and for a PT the annual salary is $87,930. In another website, estimated in Texas 2017 the annual salary for the PT is $95,920 and for the PTA is $70,450.

Projected Growth of PT and PTA Jobs

The expected growth that its mention in our text book for PT is about 28% and for the PTA is about 30% in contrast to the occupational outlook handbook which states that PTA is about 27% and the PT is 22%. Now if we go to the APTA job outlook, it states that the PTA growth would be 40% from 2014 to 2024 and in the same years the growth for PT is 36%. As we can see, the use of three types of references were used and all 3 had different numbers, however, one thing can be analyzed from all three sites, and that is that the growth of the PT and PTA is in high demand that it can range from as low as 22% to high 36% for PT and from as low as 27% to high 40% for PTA.

Acute Care Physical Therapy

Acute care physical therapy in hospital setting is a fast passed setting because patients are not usually longer than 30 days. This type of setting is demanding for the PT and PTA for several reasons. One reason is that there are many patients with much different pathophysiological impairment. The goal of this type of setting is to be able to discharge the patient as soon as he is medically stable, this does not means that we are going to discharge the patient because he met the goals of the PT but because he is medically stable he can go home and request/ seek outpatient therapy. Special precautions are labeled in the patients chart based on the diagnosis of the patient, for example, if the patient is in a droplet or contact precaution, the PT or PTA should use the corresponding personal protective equipment (PPE) to provide the skill intervention to the patient.  

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