5 min read

Physical Therapist Job Description and Top Skills

Team Glider

Updated on January 12, 2024

What is a Physical Therapist?

A physical therapist (PT) is a licensed healthcare professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating individuals with physical impairments or disabilities. Physical therapists use evidence-based interventions, therapeutic exercises, manual techniques, and modalities to restore mobility, alleviate pain, improve function, and enhance the quality of life for patients across the lifespan.

Physical Therapist Job Description

We are currently seeking dedicated and skilled physical therapists to join our dynamic rehabilitation team. As essential members of our healthcare facility, successful candidates will play a pivotal role in providing high-quality physical therapy services to patients with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular conditions.

As a physical therapist, you will have the opportunity to work with patients of all ages and backgrounds, collaborate with interdisciplinary healthcare teams, and empower individuals to achieve their optimal level of physical health and well-being.

The ideal candidates will possess strong clinical skills, empathy, and a passion for helping patients achieve their rehabilitation goals.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

  • Evaluation and Assessment: Conduct comprehensive physical assessments and evaluations of patients’ musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiopulmonary function, using standardized tests, measures, and outcome tools to identify impairments, functional limitations, and disability levels.
  • Analyze patients’ medical history, diagnostic test results, and referral information to establish accurate physical therapy diagnoses, prognosis, and individualized treatment plans that address patients’ unique needs, goals, and preferences.
  • Develop evidence-based treatment plans and goals in collaboration with patients, families, caregivers, and interdisciplinary healthcare team members, incorporating patient-centered care principles, best practices, and clinical guidelines into the rehabilitation process. Treatment and Intervention:
  • Implement evidence-based physical therapy interventions, therapeutic exercises, manual techniques, and modalities to address patients’ impairments, restore mobility, improve strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, coordination, and proprioception, and optimize functional outcomes and independence in activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Educate patients and their families about their condition, treatment options, home exercise programs, injury prevention strategies, and adaptive equipment/devices, providing clear, concise, and culturally sensitive instructions to promote active participation, self-management, and continuity of care. Monitor patients’ progress, response to treatment, and functional outcomes regularly, reassessing and modifying treatment plans as needed to ensure effective rehabilitation, prevent complications, and achieve optimal patient outcomes and satisfaction.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary healthcare team members, including physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, and rehabilitation aides, to coordinate patient care, interdisciplinary referrals, and discharge planning, ensuring continuity of care and seamless transitions across healthcare settings.
  • Communicate with patients, families, caregivers, and external stakeholders in a clear, compassionate, and culturally sensitive manner, addressing their concerns, questions, and preferences, and fostering a therapeutic alliance, trust, and rapport in the rehabilitation process. Documentation and Recordkeeping:
  • Maintain accurate, timely, and comprehensive documentation of patient evaluations, progress notes, treatment plans, goals, interventions, and discharge summaries in electronic health records (EHRs) or paper charts, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, billing requirements, and documentation guidelines.
  • Adhere to professional, ethical, and legal standards of practice in physical therapy documentation, including confidentiality, accuracy, objectivity, and accountability, to protect patients’ privacy rights, promote data integrity, and mitigate legal risks and liabilities.
  • Professional Development and Leadership: Engage in lifelong learning, continuing education, and professional development activities to enhance clinical expertise, expand knowledge of evidence-based practice, and stay abreast of advances in physical therapy research, technology, and healthcare trends.
  • Participate in interdisciplinary team meetings, quality improvement initiatives, research projects, and community outreach programs to promote excellence in patient care, clinical outcomes, and healthcare delivery, and to contribute to professional growth and leadership in the field of physical therapy.

How Much Do Physical Therapists Make?

In 2022, the median salary for Physical Therapists was $97,720. The top 25% of earners in this profession made $107,430, while the bottom 25% earned $80,700.

Skill Requirements

  • Clinical Expertise: Physical therapists must possess advanced clinical knowledge, skills, and competencies in musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular rehabilitation, including evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome assessment, to provide safe, effective, and evidence-based physical therapy services to patients across the lifespan.
  • Empathy and Compassion: Physical therapists should demonstrate empathy, compassion, and cultural sensitivity in interacting with patients, families, caregivers, and diverse populations, recognizing their individual needs, beliefs, and preferences, and fostering a therapeutic alliance, trust, and rapport in the rehabilitation process.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Effective communication and interpersonal skills, both verbal and nonverbal, are essential for physical therapists to establish rapport, build therapeutic relationships, and collaborate effectively with patients, families, caregivers, and interdisciplinary healthcare team members, promoting positive patient experiences and outcomes.
  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Physical therapists should exhibit strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning abilities to analyze complex patient presentations, identify underlying impairments and functional limitations, and develop innovative, evidence-based treatment strategies to address patients’ rehabilitation goals and optimize outcomes.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Physical therapists must work collaboratively and cooperatively with interdisciplinary healthcare team members, including physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and rehabilitation aides, to coordinate patient care, interdisciplinary referrals, and discharge planning, ensuring continuity of care and holistic rehabilitation.
  • Professionalism and Ethics: Physical therapists should uphold professional standards of practice, ethical principles, and regulatory requirements in physical therapy care, including patient confidentiality, informed consent, autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice, to ensure patient-centered, compassionate, and ethical rehabilitation services.
  • Continuous Learning and Professional Development: Physical therapists are encouraged to engage in continuous learning, lifelong education, and professional development activities to enhance clinical competencies, expand knowledge of evidence-based practice, and stay current with advances in physical therapy research, technology, and healthcare policy.

Example KPIs for a Physical Therapist

  • Patient Functional Outcomes and Satisfaction: This KPI measures physical therapists’ effectiveness in improving patient functional outcomes, mobility, pain levels, and satisfaction with physical therapy services, using standardized outcome measures, patient-reported outcomes, and satisfaction surveys to evaluate treatment effectiveness and patient-centered care.
  • Clinical Efficiency and Productivity: This KPI evaluates physical therapists’ efficiency and productivity in managing patient caseloads, scheduling appointments, documenting clinical encounters, and meeting productivity targets, optimizing clinic workflow, patient throughput, and resource utilization while maintaining high-quality patient care.
  • Interdisciplinary Team Collaboration: This KPI assesses physical therapists’ collaboration, communication, and teamwork with interdisciplinary healthcare team members, including physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, and social workers, to facilitate care coordination, interdisciplinary referrals, and discharge planning, promoting continuity of care and positive patient outcomes.
  • Professional Development and Leadership: This KPI measures physical therapists’ engagement in professional development activities, continuing education programs, and leadership initiatives to enhance clinical expertise, expand knowledge of evidence-based practice, and promote leadership skills and professional growth in the field of physical therapy.
  • Quality Improvement and Research Participation: This KPI evaluates physical therapists’ participation in quality improvement initiatives, research projects, and evidence-based practice initiatives to enhance clinical outcomes, patient safety, and healthcare delivery, contributing to continuous improvement, innovation, and excellence in physical therapy care.

How Can Glider AI Help You with Hiring a Physical Therapist?

Glider’s recruitment platform is designed to prioritize competency over credentials, enabling organizations to assess candidates’ skills objectively and efficiently. Utilize Glider AI Skill Intelligence™ to streamline the hiring process, identify top-quality physical therapist candidates, and ensure a mobile-first, candidate-friendly experience.

Glider AI’s Unique Features

  • Verify Medical Licenses
  • Validate Hundreds of Medical, Clinical, and Technical Skills
  • Ensure Hiring Compliance
  • Conversational Chatbot for Talent Screening
  • Powerful candidate analytics
  • Streamline Healthcare Hiring with AI and Automation

Go ahead and spotlight your Physical Therapist with Glider AI today!

Schedule a Demo or contact us at info@glider.ai

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