Physical Therapist Work – Facts From the Medical Staffing Office

Working as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, you already know the impact you have on the lives your job brings you into contact with on a daily basis. Seeing lives transformed back to a point of health, function, and strength rewards you in a way words often elude. Moreover, as rewarding as this work is it’s still a professional career path. A path requiring a lifelong education of continual exposure to trusted techniques, methods, and the latest practices. If you are looking to grow in your career, then a medical staffing office is a solid starting point for consideration.

A government report stated that in 2005 “temporary or contract job positions accounted for 20% of the current job market.” Today, with a tumultuous job-climate and technology making it easier to access job postings experts believe these types of positions will account for nearly 40% of the available jobs by 2011. And though stats like this can be a little daunting, it really does open-up the career potential for a focused physical therapist or physical therapists assistant thinking about their own future.

Here are some myths and facts regarding medical staffing agencies for consideration:

MYTH: Medical staffing firms only offer temporary jobs.

• Fact: Although there are plenty of short-term job opportunities in today physical therapy and therapy assistant careers, many staffing firms offer permanent hire positions as well. Communicating with your medical staffing recruiter what you are looking for from a job is essential to your own planning.

MYTH: A medical staffing office wont cover my travel expenses or costs of living

• Fact: Today nearly all staffing firms cover the therapist’s travel expenses. Staffing firms cover these items in the agreement with the medical provider and come at no expense to the therapist whatsoever. Paying for your travel expenses is an industry standard today. Additionally, per Diem to cover the costs of daily living while on location is equally a common practice. If you find a firm that will not pay your travel expenses or cost of living expenses – find another agency!

MYTH: Medical staffing offices lack industry knowledge of my career field

• Fact: With all the health care and provider requirement changes going on today, medical staffing offices might just be the most up-to-date source you can access daily. A great staffing firm is in constant contact with their providers to ensure they provide them with the best-trained and prepared employee base possible. Due to the high demand and fluctuating job market, the criteria that providers are looking for is often very specific and continually changing. Medical staffing offices are prime source of industry demands and requirements.

MYTH: Medical staffing offices will limit my career portfolio

• Fact: Collaborating with a medical staffing firm might just be the best career move you can make. Not only can it provide you with consistent work, but also the continual exposure to new teams, providers, and the latest industry developments can only enhance your resume.

MYTH: Medical staffing offices will not provide me with health insurance

• Fact: Many staffing firms do offer their employees health insurance as part of an employees benefits package. However, this is contingent on how the therapist-to-staffing firm relationship is defined. If you are listed as a “contractor” (IRS Form 1099), then you will most likely be required to secure your own form of health insurance. If you are listed as an employee (W-2) of the staffing firm, then you can be offered the opportunity to be apart of the company’s health insurance plan. This is something that requires research and asking questions of the agency. There are staffing firms out there that do provide health insurance; you just have to do your homework to find them.

As you look to your own professional development in physical therapy, understanding what you expect and need from your career is critical. Medical staffing offices can play a key role in seeing meet your expectations and reap real career rewards that continue to advance you in the physical therapy and therapy assistant field.

Physical Therapy Assistant Colleges and Programs

With the recent rise in healthcare related jobs, one that is projected to continue for quite a few years to come, becoming a physical therapy assistant can be a great career path for many.

It is a hand-on job that those who enjoy working directly with the public will probably enjoy, and a highly valued position to the medical facilities in need of assistants. As with any course of study though, understanding what to expect in regard to schooling and job offerings afterward is an important part of deciding whether or not this course of study is for you; learning about physical therapy assistant colleges and programs should give a good idea on whether or not this seems like the right profession to become involved in.

Types of Physical Therapy Assistant Colleges and Programs that Are Available

As with many of the different assistant and technician jobs in the medical field today, there are a few different kinds of learning programs available to those who want to become employed in the field of physical therapy, though there are distinct differences in the titles received with different training.

Those who attend short training courses that typically last a number of months, and get much of their training through hands on experience are generally employed as a physical therapy aide, which is a wonderful profession in its own, but quite different than becoming a PTA.

With the lesser educational requirements, aides typically have much lower responsibility, as well as little patient contact and lower salary.

On the other hand, those in study to become a physical therapy assistant are required to attend courses to obtain their Associates’ in Applied Science degree for Physical Therapy.

Once they have reached this goal, students earn the title of Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), and are able to apply for licensure in their state. License to practice as a PTA is required in 48 of 50 US states today.

What is ironic is that in the UK, where in most cases assistants and technicians involved in healthcare have considerably more strict requirements and qualifications, a person may be employed as a physiotherapy assistant without schooling other than the necessary GCSEs. There are specialist positions available, which do require continued education and work experience, however.

PTA Colleges and Course Information

College courses that award students with the title of PTA and qualify them to apply for state licensure cover many different topics related to the medical field, not just classes directly related to therapy.

It is important for students to be well rounded in general, as well as understand the entire workings of the human body, and the healthcare business as it relates to physical therapy and the many different job settings a PTA might work in. Standard study topics include courses in English, Social Sciences, Psychology and Communication.

Specialized classes generally include Anatomy, Physical Therapy, Kinesiology, Pathophysiology, Rehabilitation, First Aid/CPR, Massage, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and other therapeutic treatments and many other, more specialized topics.

Additionally, in order to graduate and earn their PTA, students must fulfill a required amount of externship hours; in most Associates’ degree programs students participate in on the job work-study during the last two to three semesters of their education.

Including these externships, graduating with a PTA usually takes an average of 20 months in the US today. Professional organizations in the medical industry report that there is a push to change educational requirements for physical therapy assistants to a 4-year Bachelors degree in the future, too.

Though it may seem like a long time, earning a 2-year Associates’ degree it is the best way to enter this type of medical field. Having any degree at all is preferable to simply attending vocational classes, besides the fact that with that head start, it is easy for a PTA to continue education to become a licensed physical therapist, or even enter a different medical profession.

The word “assistant” should not fool anyone into thinking the position is not an important and demanding, however. Physical therapy assistants are required to perform and track all prescribed therapy, and actually spend more time with the patient than the therapist does.

Knowing this, attending the most reputable physical therapy assistant colleges is the best way to get the necessary education, pass the licensing exam and move on to a most rewarding lifetime career.

Physical Therapy, Pain Medications or Surgery – What Would You Choose?

You have power. The power of choice. The power to heal.

No Prescription Necessary

Did you know that in most states, including North Carolina, you can see a physical therapist directly, with out a referral from a physician? Did you also know that physical therapy is a great alternative to pain medications?

Eliminating Pain without Medication

Many types of pain and inflammation can be reduced with the help of a physical therapist, including low back pain, neck pain, bursitis, sciatica, arthritis, tennis elbow, and knee pain.

If you are at risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association encourages seeing a physical therapist for the initial treatment of pain resulting from tendinitis/bursitis, degenerative joint problems (osteoarthritis), and inflammatory joint problems (rheumatoid arthritis), rather than prescription pain medication. Physical therapists are a great alternative to medication and surgery for musculoskeletal pain. Research shows individuals who receive active physical therapy experience greater improvements in function and decreased pain intensity.

Lower back pain affects up to 80 percent of Americans during their lifetime. Physical therapy that mobilizes the spine along with specific exercises can help alleviate the pain and can have long-lasting effects. In one study manual physical therapy helped 92% of patients with lower back pain. The best thing you can do if you have pain is to continue with all your normal daily activities, work and exercise.

Please be sure not to push or exercise through any sharp or shooting pain. I have posted some videos on YouTube that may help you, especially if you need relief from low back pain.

No matter what part of your body hurts, neck, back, knee, hip, shoulder, arms, hands or head, you can alleviate or manage pain without costly medication or other invasive methods such as surgery.

Finding a Physical Therapist

In many states, including North Carolina, you can see your physical therapist directly, without a referral from your physician. This is called Direct Access, and allows you to seek treatment for your condition today, get better faster, spend less money, feel great and return to the activities you enjoy.

Physical Therapists are licensed by the state in which they practice and have completed extensive and specialized, post graduate level, accredited physical therapist education programs. They are trained in identifying red flags (signs that your condition is not appropriate for physical therapy) and know when to refer you to the appropriate health care practitioner or physician. When you visit your physical therapist, you will experience the care of a trusted health professional that uses research and proven treatments to help you regain independence and a better quality of life.

For more information on how physical therapy can help you reduce pain, avoid surgery and feel great please visit our website. When you call the physical therapy practice of your choice, ask if they provide hands-on manual physical therapy.

Medical Malpractice Insurance For Non Doctors

With the health care industry trying to keep costs low for insurance companies, doctors are not the only medical professionals who need medical malpractice insurance. The trend for many doctor’s offices is to have nurse practitioners on hand to see patients when the doctor is busy tending to other patients. In the nationwide trend to reduce the costs of nursing homes or rehabilitation residences, traveling nurses have become a growing commodity to tend to patients in their home. Even physical therapists and counselors are in need of medical insurance as are holistic practitioners such as midwives and massage therapists who are liable for the health care they provide to their patients. All of these medical professionals are just as likely to be sued for malpractice as a doctor.

Nurse Practitioners

An Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), commonly referred to as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), holds a higher degree than a standard Registered Nurse (RN) and can perform many tasks that typically would be performed by a licensed doctor. This includes physical exams, ordering tests, analyzing test results and diagnosing certain conditions or diseases. They can also provide prenatal and well-child care. Nurse practitioners are in high demand at community clinics, home health agencies and nursing homes where the managing agency either cannot afford the salary of a doctor or they are trying to keep costs low for patients. With the type of health care nurse practitioners are asked to provide and the circumstances under which they provide the care, it is very important for them to have adequate malpractice insurance.

Traveling Nurses

Many patients recovering from surgery or receiving regular treatments hire a traveling nurse to assist them at home. They perform routine care as prescribed by the patient’s doctor. Traveling nurses are typically independent contractors who do not fall under the insurance coverage of the hospital. While agencies are supposed to cover their contractors, the insurance policy is not always adequate to cover the entire amount awarded to the patient. If the traveling nurse works for more than one agency, there could also be a dispute as to which agency’s insurance covers the nurse, creating a delay in covering legal fees and court costs.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists do the same type of screening, evaluating and diagnosing as doctors do. They also must develop a program to perform with the patient and for the patient to do at home that will achieve the goals set forth for the patient. This requires a great deal of analysis of the patient’s history, the medical issues they are experiencing, and the capabilities of the patient. Just as a physician, a physical therapist works with the information provided by the patient or the patient’s doctor, which makes them just as susceptible to lawsuits. Every physical therapist should have medical malpractice insurance covering them in the event of a lawsuit.


Not all counselors carry the title of doctor. However, counselors are required to be licensed to provide mental health care to patients. Counselors primarily do not use a medical model for diagnosing and treating their patients but rather a developmental theory to assist their clients with their mental health. There is a large amount of personal discussion involved with counseling, so a quick and absolute diagnosis cannot be obtained after one or two sessions. It can take months to determine if the patient is on the right course or needs to be referred to a psychiatrist. Some patients become frustrated with how long it takes for a diagnosis or referral by a counselor and discontinue counseling, often against the advice of the counselor. This could cause the patient to experience a set-back for which they blame the counselor. While counseling may seem like it would be exempt from medical malpractice, counselors are also subject to lawsuits at times.


Holistic medicine has become quite popular, and the demand for midwives for home births has increased. Midwives use natural, homeopathic and holistic approaches to provide care to their patients during the pregnancy as well as labor and delivery. Due to the many complications that could occur during even a normal, “textbook” pregnancy, many states require midwives to be trained and licensed. These complications are exactly the reason why midwives should carry medical malpractice insurance. Even under an experienced doctor’s care, birth defects and other complications could occur, so it is especially important for midwives to protect themselves with detailed and thorough notes and records as well as medical malpractice insurance.

Massage Therapists

Massage uses various techniques to manipulate the muscles in the body. This can be beneficial to a patient’s overall health and is a useful addition to some physical therapy routines. However, there is room for human error in massage therapy. Even with a comprehensive patient history and release and waiver forms, massage therapists have found themselves as defendants in lawsuits. Since many massage therapists work as independent contractors, it is essential that they protect their business by purchasing medical malpractice insurance.

Covering What Isn’t Covered

Hospitals and HMOs have their own medical malpractice insurance that is structured to insure medical professionals in their employ. However, some lawsuit verdicts may exceed the maximum payout covered under the policy. The amounts not paid are the responsibility of the medical practitioner. This is where malpractice insurance for nurses, therapists and others is necessary.

There are also situations where the medical practitioner is not an employee of the hospital but is allowed access to their patients through the hospital. In these cases, the hospital’s malpractice insurance would not cover lawsuits against them.

Any medical professional providing care to patients would be well-suited to purchase medical malpractice insurance. Practicing any branch of health care can bring with it unintended lawsuits from angry patients or grieving family members. While not all medical malpractice lawsuits are found in favor of the patient, there are still court costs and attorneys fees that can be quite costly to the medical provider. Having adequate insurance to cover these costs is in the best interest of all medical specialists.

The Physical Causes of Depression

Depression is no carnival. However, it may take a parade to understand the physical causes of depression.

Depression is a serious health condition. The physical causes of depression are characterized by a neurochemical or hormonal imbalance. Genes, hormones, illnesses, disabilities, medication, and diets cause these imbalances.


We have chemicals in our brains that affect our moods and emotions. Some of these chemicals are norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. A chemical imbalance will result if there is not enough, too much, or inconsistent usage of those chemicals. If the chemicals in our brains are off balance, or halts producing, this will affect our mood. It is just like performing in a parade. If one person stops marching, it could affect the rest of the parade.


Depression is hereditary. If one parent has depression, the child has a 27% chance of inheriting depression, and that percentage doubles if both parents have it.


Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Post Partum, and Menopause can cause depressed mood, mood swings, irritability, and tension or anxiety. About a week before a woman’s menustration, she may experience these symptoms. Some women develop Post Pardum after childbirth, which is characterized by depression or a deep sense of loss. Two of the female hormones, estrogen and testosterone, drop significantly 24 hours after childbirth. This rapid change can cause depression, just as the small change in hormones through menstruation.


Medical illnesses often cause depression. Some examples are Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

CFS patients feel as if they have a long lasting flu. Some symptoms like a sore throat, swollen glands, muscle pain, and severe prolonged fatigue cause depression.

The thyroid regulates hormones. An underactive thyroid gland will affect the hormones and chemicals responsible for mood and emotions.

In PD, the amount of dopamine, one of the “feel good” neurotransmitters responsible for mood, is critically low. This also affects the worsening of physical movement, which in effect, can cause the depression to worsen.

With MS, the condition destroys the nerves that transport signals for mood neurotransmitters. Without the nerves to carry the needed chemicals, this will result in depressed symptoms.


This is similar to CFS, but CFS is long-term and burnout is usually short-term. This is characterized by a depletion of mental and physical energy. This is from a prolonged overwork and/or an overload of demands and obligations placed upon an individual. Aching joints, extreme fatigue, or a decrease in bone density and muscle mass are other physical causes of depression.


Approximately 20% – 30% of people with long-term disabilities have a depressive condition. Those with a loss of limbs, senses, or other abilities can suffer from low self-esteem or physical and emotional pain. Emotional pain can cause physical symptoms of depression. These symptoms may include muscle soreness, disturbed sleep, change in appetite, and lack of energy.


Most antidepressant medications come with a warning now, stating that it is possible the medication can make the depression worse than it was. This sounds counteractive; however most medications for depression are helpful and efficient. The use of certain medications, such as steroids and some blood pressure medications can cause physical symptoms of depression.


A blunt force to the head can cause brain damage. This can alter many other functions occurring in the brain as well. An injury at work, school, sports, or other physical trauma can offset the brain and body’s natural rhythms.

A full medical and psychological evaluation will confirm the cause of depression. This will rule out other causes or underlining conditions. Treatments for physical causes of depression may include medication, electroconvulsive treatments (ECT), psychotherapy, art and dance therapy, physical therapy, or other recommended treatments.

Once we treat the physical causes of depression, we can march, without a halt, in that parade once again.