For human beings, pain is one emotion that we do not like to experience. Now the pain that we are speaking about may be emotional, psychological or physical in nature. In either of the cases, it must be dealt with as quickly as possible in order to ensure that minimal suffering is endured. While emotional and psychological pain is something that can be dealt with in the company of friends and family, the same cannot be said about physical pain.
The physical pain that we speak of may arise from an accident or an injury. In case of such an event, what a person should do is consult a doctor. The doctor prescribes medication and then directs the patient to a physical therapist.
The job of a physical therapist is to improve the movement of a patient by managing their pain. Irrespective of whether the pain is a result of some injury, illness or some chronic conditions, physical therapists help treat the same and thus, play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process. If you are someone who likes to ease the pain of others and is considering making a career in this field, read on to know more about the same.
• Skills Required
One needs to be very particular about the details of patient records and other things like that. Since there is a lot of documentation involved, good time management skills are an absolute must for people in this profession. This profession requires therapists to use their hands for purpose of providing massages and similar treatments.
Thus, a good amount of physical stamina coupled with dexterity is an absolute must if you want to serve the society as a physical therapist.
• Educational Qualifications
One needs to have a bachelor's degree in physical therapy to be eligible to practice as a physical therapist in India. This course involves the study of subjects like anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry and physics. The degree is of three years and students with a background in science are eligible to pursue the same.
Following this, a student can opt for a two-year master's degree in this field. Those who are passionate and are keen about joining the academic domain or pursuing research could pursue a PhD in this field.
These days there are a number of institutes all over the country that offer this type of course. However, since there is a lot of lab work and practical classes involved, physical therapy is something that cannot be learnt through distance education.
• Job Role
Physical therapists are responsible for reviewing the medical history of a patient and then coming up with individualised plans for patient care and outlining plans and proposals for patient goals. Using stretching manoeuvres, hands-on therapy and other forms of exercise to arrive at the planned goal is also the responsibility of the physical therapist.
To be able to do this, they have to evaluate and record a patient's progress. As and when required, modifying the plan and trying out newer ways of treatment are also encouraged. Educating the patients and their family members about the challenges in the path to a speedy recovery and preparing them to deal with the same are also the responsibilities of the physical therapist.
• Work Environment
Physical therapists may either be self-employed or may be associated with hospitals and nursing homes. The hospitals that they work for may be state, local or private. Other than that, offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists and audiologists also require the service of physical therapists.
Since the job role here involves interaction with patients on a daily basis, physical therapists need to be on their feet for most of their working hours. On a positive note, these people have limited or no exposure to harmful chemicals.
• Work Schedules
Depending on the type of organisation that you work for, as a physical therapist, you may choose to work either part-time or full-time. As with every other job in the medical sector, this might also involve working in shifts.
However, since physical therapists do not really have to deal with emergency situations, most of their work is usually restricted to normal business hours. However, if you want to make it big in this field, you must be ready to work on weekends or in the evenings at least during the first few years of your career.
Broadly speaking, in the Indian context, the salary of a physical therapist can range from anything between Rs 6000 to Rs 1,00,000 per month. Government hospitals generally pay freshers somewhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000.
The private sector is better paid with the salary for freshers ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 60,000. If you have the required dedication, knack and skill set to completely heal patients, you will make it big in this field and your salary will also increase proportionately over the years.
• Job Growth
As per reports, employment of physical therapists is expected to rise by 25% in the next ten years. This is true both in the global scene as well as in the Indian context. With chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity on the rise, a greater number of physical therapists will be required to help patients maintain their mobility and manage the effects of their physical conditions.
The advancement in medical technology is permitting a greater percentage of trauma victims and newborn babies with birth defects to survive, but all of it is possible only with due hard work put in by physical therapists.