Author - Anastasia Belikov, PT, Cert. MDT
Graduated with her DPT in 2017
Skills To Be a Physical Therapist
IN THE KNOW
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Physical therapy requires an array of hard skills in order to provide quality care. Physical
therapists must have a thorough understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. This entails a thoughrough knowledge of muscles, nerves, organs, bone structure, how they all interact and work together, and how they can present with different diagnoses. They must also be proficient in manual techniques such as joint mobilization, palpation, and soft tissue manipulation. In addition, physical therapists need to be able to assess the patient’s condition accurately by performing measures such as range of motion testing and gait analysis. This part of the skill set can fall into "pattern recognition," as well as promblem solving. Other important skills include being adept at developing individualized treatment plans for each patient based on their needs, as well as knowledge of therapeutic exercise principles including stretching and strengthening exercises.
Soft skills are just as important to physical therapists as technical skills. Physical therapists must be able to communicate effectively with patients, and their families, in order to understand their needs and develop treatment plans that meet those needs. They also need interpersonal skills, such as empathy and active listening, in order to build trusting relationships with their clients. Having a curiosity about patients and their problems, being comfortable around bodily fluids, and attention to details will also make your job easier. Finally, they must have organizational skills so they can manage multiple tasks at once while ensuring accuracy and timeliness.