Physical therapists perform in different work settings which include acute care hospitals, nursing homes, fitness centers, rehabilitation centers, schools and private practice. It offers various career options for physical therapists.
The acute care hospitals are very demanding. A physical therapist may work as a member of an interdisciplinary group which include doctor, nurse, speech therapist, occupational therapist and social worker.
In the acute care team, the physical therapist observes patients immediately after an acute injury and infirmity, and also examines patients before as well as after surgery. The therapist should examine the patient's strength, coordination, balance and range of motion, before as well as after surgery. Exercise should be instructed cautiously, and decided by the level of pain and flexibility limits.
Rehabilitation centers concentrate on restoring patients to life which is similar to recovery prior to injury. Physical therapists observe patients on a daily basis or three times a week, and perform for three months or more to allow a spinal cord injured patient to be capable to go from bed to chair or allow a brain-injured patient to walk 200 feet without falling.
In an fitness center, a physical therapist mainly focuses on exercise as prevention to infirmity or on maintaining a fit lifestyle. A physical therapist can also examine and treat small sports wounds which occur because of excessive or poorly advised exercise. The fitness center therapists also work with individuals who want to be healthy through exercise.
A physical therapist who works in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility should easily work with the old, badly disabled and fatally ill inhabitants. Patients in a nursing home or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) will not be discharged at home. So it requires for physical therapists to be emotional with patients as they often suffer from depression.
The physical therapist functions in the schools mostly for a September to June schedule. However, working hours may change. Most of the time, a physical therapist is also the member of an interdisciplinary team which include parent, student, teacher, physical therapist, speech therapist and occupational therapist.