June 10, 2016 at 8:30 am #34041youremakingmepositiveParticipant
Hey there! I am curious where you have found yourself over the last three years? I was a graduate from an MS PT program 8 years ago and had the same sentiments even before graduating (after finishing up internships). Did not pursue the DPT at the time since it really did not offer anything more in terms of clinical experience and the MSPT already included diagnostics, EBP and management. Once I was licensed, I was able to try out a bunch of settings in outpatient ortho (all of which were 1:1), I tried home health for 5 years, which was super interesting, flexible and allowed me to decompress a bit from burn out. I recently started in acute care/hospital settings and am now working in my region’s most prestigious hospitals as per diem. Each transition has helped renew my interest in the field. It is a personal mind over matter sort of control in the end. You may move onto another career but face the same obstacles that take on different forms. I plan to go on and get a different degree in the next year or two in management and that can span across many fields. I genuinely have an interest in management. After all these years working in a field you can take on new roles within and discover some new interests. Hang in there and give it a shot.June 24, 2016 at 12:10 am #34085Move12Participant
Hi, I am currently pursuing an MPH. Finished my DPT 2013. I went to PT school at 40 and have a lot of debt. I love what I do but I have a back injury and have to be careful. I work in home health and love the flexibility. But I am looking for jobs outside of PT to avoid injury.
Also it was in the process of becoming a PT that I learned that I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. So going to PT was mixed blessing. We have souch to offer its a shame we don’t market ourselves better.
I regret not going to med school. But now I’m looking for work that is less physically demanding.July 13, 2016 at 4:44 pm #34147pistolptParticipant
Funny, I just registered as well so that I could comment on this post. In fact, I only found this post because I searched Google for “what else can I do with my PT degree?” After 15 years in PT, I too am slightly burnt out. While I am fortunate to make the salary I earn for the amount of hours I work, I come home less than content with my day’s work. I realize a great deal of this boils down to my own personality, but coming to grips with that, doesn’t change the lack of enthusiasm i have for my career. I see healthcare nowadays solely based on customer satisfaction and the bottom line, and far from delivering quality health care and clinical outcomes, and that just flat out sucks. There has to be something else out there, however I’m afraid the world we live in nowadays is “bottom line” driven.August 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm #34243jsf002Participant
I also found this because I Googled “non clinical physical therapy jobs.” I have only been practicing for 3 years, but I am in a busy outpatient clinic and it’s “all about the numbers.” I’m quickly getting burned out and discouraged that I chose the wrong profession. I’m considering looking into some type of home health, if not now, than in a few years when I hope to have a family (and will not want to be working until 7pm every night and Saturday mornings…). I also know someone who used to be a PT in the clinic and now she works from home reviewing insurance claims. I hate to “switch teams” so to speak, and go to the dark side working for the evil insurance companies…but it might be worth my sanity and happiness. Thanks to all who have posted; it does make me feel better knowing that there are others out there who feel the same, and I’m not just being whiny.August 6, 2016 at 12:57 pm #34248MrMuffinPTAParticipant
“Charles” had a great post and so did “Always Temporary”..The former had a realist perspective and the latter a optimistic perspective.. Charles’s post really hit home for me…
To me, The central conflict in PT is the profit motive and the fincancal abuses that we all see and and are forced to participate in from our employers. We wanted to be a PT or PTA to help people, but what we are really doing is helping corporations profit off of those people. Often, we are unwilling conspirators, we are forced to mislead patient’s into believing we can help them, even though many times, we know we cannot or can only do so marginally. In SNF’s, we are forced to achieve minutes, in OP or Acute Care it is units, whatever the measure, it is arbitrary and not based in rational or Clinical thought. Our performance is measured by frequency, not quality. The truly best Therapist gets the pt. better quicker or recognizes they cannot but that contradicts the profit motive, getting the patient better faster, makes the corporation less $$. So we are often in conflicts between our patient’s best interest and the businesses intrests. Many businesses could treat patient’s and taxpayers well and make a profit but no, that isn’t enough. They relentlessly pursue profit and that is why it is wrong. These businesses will always put their financial interests above the patient and we are caught in between.August 28, 2016 at 12:08 am #34311LeaParticipant
I also googled, “PT careers nonclinical”, and here I am. I actually feel a little better about myself after reading some of these posts. I thought I was one of the few people who felt the way I do, but apparently, not.
I have been in the PT business over 20 years, I have a Masters, never considered getting DPT. I realize that I am just as valuable with a PT license, period. I am aware of the fact that most places want me for my license number, so that they can bill. No one really cares about anything else. Which, can be hard to explain to my Electrical Engineer husband; experience doesn’t count in this field. New grads, old grads, whatever….. they need my License number to bill for my services. That is why I never considered DPT. I got out of school with NO student loans, didn’t wanna have any later in life if there were no benefits. Having said that, I understand many have to accrue some debt to get out of school, so be it. I would also agree with one of the earlier posts, be wise about the amount you have to accrue, doesn’t make sense to owe 300,000 when you will make 80,000 a year. Gonna be a long life of paying back that debt.
I really wanted to comment because I have ALWAYS said I have a 4 year turn around in my job. Meaning, about every 4 years I feel this “burn out”, and I need a change. So, I change. I think that is the answer to some of the posts from younger PTs. Don’t feel bad about changing every few years. I am SO, SO grateful that I had a career that was flexible and allowed me to change around my kids schedules. I say the best thing about my job is the security I have always felt. If I needed a change, I knew I could get a job, try a different area.
I agree with the “bottom line” stuff, the productivity issues we all feel, the problems with multiple patients in out patient settings, all that mess! It is so discouraging at times. Thus the reason for my “google”. It has been about four years in surgical hospital acute care and out patient setting, TIME FOR A CHANGE!September 12, 2016 at 9:43 am #34361WendyParticipant
Reading your posts saddens me as the healthcare field has changed so much over the last years. Up till two years ago I loved being a PT so much I said I would do it for free. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do this job for the last 25 years and I never could imagine what burn out really meant. But, sadly, I agree w/ most of your comments and feel so burned out . I have worked in outpt ortho and home care for 30 years and productivity has now reached homecare as well. My company has forced us to work weekends which turn out to be 12 hour days, that’s on top of working a 5 day work week. We ( nurses, PTs etc) work every night doing paperwork till 11:00PM, you are never caught up, because you must document every conversation you had with everyone.
I feel really bad for all of you just starting out. It is a great career, but unfortunately it is run by greedy insurance companies instead of instead of well meaning healthcare providers. the priorities are keep the pt out of the hospital so we can all get a financial incentive to spilt instead of get the pt better and they call this patient centered care.
GO INTO THE POLITICAL SIDE OF THERAPY AND GET OUR PROFESSION BACK. I wish you all good luck and I am so glad I am at the end and not the beginning of my PT career. ;-(
WendySeptember 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm #34387DC1007Participant
I just graduated from an excellent PTA program, passed my boards and have been offered numerous jobs within the last few months and honestly I find it kind of boring and not very demanding. I am also not happy with the fact that is all about productivity levels while employers want to low ball therapists wages.
I love helping people get well and seeing them improve their lives but I feel like I am not really accomplishing what I sought after when I went into this profession.
With just having worked in the field for less then a month I am already looking for a change and want to start my own company doing something completely different that is more physically and mentally challenging. I don’t think I can be a PTA or be in the field for the next 46 years.October 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm #34435SPDPT2011Participant
To: Jomialso and the others looking for a career change
Have you found any answers? Still with the same job as a PT? I have been a PT for over 5 years and have worked in Outpatient, Acute care, and now home health for about 3 years. The only reason I have stayed in this setting is for the higher per patient pay and flexible schedule. I have very much disliked my career choice but have been hesitant to change due to the amount of time and hard work it took to get my license and degree (as well as amount of money!) but I recently have gotten more serious to get out completely and start something new since I am getting older and it will be much harder later to change. Any other advice is appreciated and would love to hear about any successful attempts to leave the field altogether to something worthwhile. Thanks!October 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm #34443tashalynn225Participant
Glad to hear I am not alone in this! I haven’t even really gotten my feet wet yet in the PTA field. I have only worked one skilled nursing position as a PTA for a month and I already feel like I have wasted the last three years of schooling and time to do this career. I think the company I work for could care less about the patients and just want to see them doing “something”. I cant stand the lack of direction and attention to what we are doing. This is nothing like I thought it would be, and how school made it out to be. Diego—Ill come work for you when you start your own business! TashaOctober 21, 2016 at 8:39 am #34457TresaGParticipant
Holy smoke! I thought I was alone! I graduated in 1992 with a BS, certificate in PT. I have worked primarily in SNFs. Times have changed!! Now we are pushed to hit RUGs on patients that have no business being Ultras!! Can’t wait to see how bundled reimbursement will affect us. The problem is that we make a great salary, hard to give that up.October 25, 2016 at 10:45 am #34473PTTorontoParticipant
I spent 2 years working in outpatient which was the area I had interest in. I burned out and the only solution I found was doing self healing work- meditation, qi gong, yoga, tai qi etc. Learning this and acupuncture (since we can practise this as an adjunct therapy in Canada) has led me to study Chinese Medicine. I was able to transfer some subjects over, but it might be the type of career change that others are looking for. It is another few years of school and I understand that some may not want to dedicate that much time to it. For myself, it helped me address a lot of issues that I had as a physiotherapist from a practitioner and patient standpoint.November 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm #34510MitchParticipant
I’ve been doing physical therapy for well over 25 years or so. Everything you do in life is affected by one major thing.’Attitude.’ I recall there being times when listening to patients complain became one big meld in my head and dealing with those whom I felt were less than honest about their condition was very aggravating. Fortunately today in my private practice, I trust that 99% of my patients are legit. The worse thing about the profession today is the documentation; if it weren’t for that, the job would be a breeze. People pushing pencils from some room somewhere in Government Jabip land is telling us what we have to report and how to report it rather than relying on patient satisfaction, etc. etc.. This could be a whole discussion onto itself. I simply joke with patients all day every day. I joke with them in a very innocuous silly manner which cannot and has not offended anyone. For example, the TV is on in the clinic and we keep getting this irritating commercials playing “Raymore and Flannigan’, ‘Raymore and Flannigan” It’s a furniture store; but they play their commercials incessantly. So one day while the commercial came on and Yelled Out “Hey, how about Ray Less and Flan Not Again.” Well the timing was just right and the entire office cracked up. This sort of stuff goes on all the time, but it really helps your mental state. Everything is like a party of laughter and the patient’s love it and it helps the Day Go By!
Using humor can make a great difference in how you feel about what you do. Not only that but if you’re tired of treating in a particular specialty, train in another specialty. I did mostly ortho and spine most of my career, now I’m loving Vestibular and balance work. This makes a difference. As I’m the only PT (hope to have another soon) in the office, I have to do it all, so I have to learn how to do it all and I love learning. I just got certified in LSVT BIG for Parkinson’s, I could go on and on. These are the things you do to keep fresh, even after you’ve done this as long as I have.
As far as the DPT degree goes. Sorry, but there is a good reason for the DPT and I have no problem calling myself Doctor nor do the area physicians. You have to live up to the Title, not only through schooling to acquire the degree, but throughout your career and your education. Your ability to evaluate conditions in ways that physicians don’t have time to, therefore, do not know how to, is worth the title. Also, it doesn’t have to be a PHD. You want to go into research, that’s a great way to go. You want to be a clinical hands-on doctor of physical therapy, the DPT is the way to go. Yes, there are PHD’s who take issue with the DPT, but while some might be great with research, it doesn’t necessarily make them great in the clinic. It also doesn’t mean they aren’t great in the clinic, but everything is relative. Whatever you spend most of your time doing you get better at. I spend a lot of time on self education and attending courses, so I’ll put my skills up against any PHD when it comes to delivering care; and this alone makes the DPT worthwhile and Earned. We also have to compete with DC’s, IN THE REAL WORLD! We have to be smart about business too, as the community pays attention to a field that has less research basis yet enjoys more freedoms than we do in our field. So we’d have to be crazy NOT to grasp on to the DPT.
I think many people would like to have someone who spent their time perfecting applicable procedures which are based in the research and becoming really good at applying said procedures who rightly where the Title of Doctor of Physical Therapy. If we know how to evaluated one with spinal pain in ways that a physician does not know, if we are able to acquire results in ways that others can’t, if we actually spend our time seriously becoming great at what we do; yes, I’m sorry, it deserves the DPT title. Acquiring the DPT was no walk in the park and I earn the title each and every day that I help someone, especially when they haven’t been helped before and YES it does engender respect from other medial and health professionals and it helps our profession grow. What doesn’t help our profession is when Hospitals take over our referral sources by buying physicians out.
In any event, if you are burned out from your job, just switch your specialty if you can’t use humor to adjust your attitude. Someone else above mentioned FCE’s, work analyses, etc.. Great ideas. FCE’s are performed one-on-one. You can also get certified as a Golf Rehab specialist and a variety of other things which can allow you the opportunity for one on one if that is what you desire. BTW, I’m looking for PT’s to work in my facility and we have a blast.November 30, 2016 at 1:51 pm #34547annieParticipant
I am a PT that has been on sabbatical for a year due to children/family reasons but am ready to jump back in. I’ve been a practicing PT for 26 years. I am interested in work hardening, work conditioning, performing FCE’s. Can anyone please tell me their experience with this area and how to get started, as my background is acute care, acute rehab, aquatic therapy with minimal OP experience.
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