Sep 21, 2014
8
0
Bay Area, CA
Status
Physical Therapist
I've been a PT aide at a private outpatient clinic for 7 years now, and as an aide at this clinic we are required to treat patients with soft tissue massage in addition to ultrasound, stim, etc. With extensive experience with STM I've become extremely competent with treating patients, especially after receiving extremely rewarding feedback about my work from the patients.

As this experience is a critical topic of strength that I'd like to focus on in many of my Essays, I am also aware that in typical PT settings, the idea of a PT aide physically working on patients is "illegal" or at least is not allowed.

Considering this, is it or is it not a bad idea to write about this aspect of my experience as a PT aide?

Thank you much in advance!
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
1,021
556
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Physical Therapist
I think you could reasonably include this in your essay (but be careful to not make it sound like you would rather be a massage therapist). Maybe something along the lines of you learned the basics of soft tissue massage from the physical therapist(s) you worked for and really look forward to that aspect of physical therapy practice.
 
OP
J
Sep 21, 2014
8
0
Bay Area, CA
Status
Physical Therapist
I think you could reasonably include this in your essay (but be careful to not make it sound like you would rather be a massage therapist). Maybe something along the lines of you learned the basics of soft tissue massage from the physical therapist(s) you worked for and really look forward to that aspect of physical therapy practice.
Thank you very much for your input, starrsgirl! Sounds great.
 

aroszko

5+ Year Member
Oct 24, 2013
175
71
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Physical Therapy Student
You could also state that a PT was monitoring you with direct supervision/trained you on the procedures.
 
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DesertPT

5+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2013
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While it's good to describe the patient contact you have had, maybe it's best not to play up your experience with stim, ultrasound and STM too excessively, since the APTA's list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question" that was released last week as part of the ABIM's "Choosing Wisely" campaign had as its first item: "Don’t employ passive physical agents except when necessary to facilitate participation in an active treatment program: There is limited evidence for use of passive physical agents to obtain clinically important outcomes for musculoskeletal conditions. A carefully designed active treatment plan has a greater impact on pain, mobility, function and quality of life."

I'm not saying don't describe your experience, I'm just using this as an example to point out that you might not want to make it sound like doing these things is what has really inspired you/made you want to be a PT.

On the other hand, you could very well gush all about what you've learned as an aide and have an adcom person absolutely love it....I guess you just have to use your best judgement. Just a thought, take it for what it's worth. :)
 
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Aug 13, 2014
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While it's good to describe the patient contact you have had, maybe it's best not to play up your experience with stim, ultrasound and STM too excessively, since the APTA's list of "5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question" that was released last week as part of the ABIM's "Choosing Wisely" campaign had as its first item: "Don’t employ passive physical agents except when necessary to facilitate participation in an active treatment program: There is limited evidence for use of passive physical agents to obtain clinically important outcomes for musculoskeletal conditions. A carefully designed active treatment plan has a greater impact on pain, mobility, function and quality of life."

I'm not saying don't describe your experience, I'm just using this as an example to point out that you might not want to make it sound like doing these things is what has really inspired you/made you want to be a PT.

On the other hand, you could very well gush all about what you've learned as an aide and have an adcom person absolutely love it....I guess you just have to use your best judgement. Just a thought, take it for what it's worth. :)
I'm going a little bit off topic here. Stim is highly overrated in my opinion. It has never done anything for me. Ultrasound has been a Godsend. My absolute favorite is "muscle energy". I'm going to specialize in that and not look back. Its the greatest thing I've ever seen.
 
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DesertPT

5+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2013
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Muscle energy technique is not ultrasound unless I'm confused...

And as far as I know MET is an active intervention, not a passive agent so it doesn't really fit the same category is ultrasound. Correct me if I'm wrong.

If ultrasound helped you then by all means go for it, but you should seriously question giving ultrasound to all your patients, because you are basically asking them to pay for something that the vast majority of evidence shows is doing little to nothing for them.
 
Aug 13, 2014
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Muscle energy technique is not ultrasound unless I'm confused...

And as far as I know MET is an active intervention, not a passive agent so it doesn't really fit the same category is ultrasound. Correct me if I'm wrong.

If ultrasound helped you then by all means go for it, but you should seriously question giving ultrasound to all your patients, because you are basically asking them to pay for something that the vast majority of evidence shows is doing little to nothing for them.
Oh no I was going completely off the reservation:). I had the opportunity to watch a PT doing muscle energy techniques. Basically, he used a patients muscle energy to readjust their spine. It was incredible! He took a scapel to what a chiropractor takes a hammer to. I have had back problems for years due to my current job as a police officer. Muscle Energy is a miracle in my opinion. You can Google and find out a good bit. I literally stood by and watched him work on a patient who couldn't move and thirty minutes later the patient was pain free. It was damn near a religious experience for me. I want to do THAT every day of my life.
 

DesertPT

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Apr 22, 2013
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Huh well that's pretty cool. Results will probably vary patient to patient but hopefully it works for you most of the time :)
 

jesspt

10+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2008
1,120
404
Chicago, IL
Status
DPT / OTD
I'm going a little bit off topic here. Stim is highly overrated in my opinion. It has never done anything for me. Ultrasound has been a Godsend. My absolute favorite is "muscle energy". I'm going to specialize in that and not look back. Its the greatest thing I've ever seen.
This=N of 1. AKA no value in clinical decision making. Please, please,please do not take the approach of anecdotal evidence supporting your treatment interventions into the clinic once you become a PT. Our profession has enough of those clinicians, and they've helped dig more than their share of holes. We're still trying to dig our way out of them.
 

ptisfun2

5+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2013
212
156
Status
DPT / OTD
I've been a PT aide at a private outpatient clinic for 7 years now, and as an aide at this clinic we are required to treat patients with soft tissue massage in addition to ultrasound, stim, etc. With extensive experience with STM I've become extremely competent with treating patients, especially after receiving extremely rewarding feedback about my work from the patients.

As this experience is a critical topic of strength that I'd like to focus on in many of my Essays, I am also aware that in typical PT settings, the idea of a PT aide physically working on patients is "illegal" or at least is not allowed.

Considering this, is it or is it not a bad idea to write about this aspect of my experience as a PT aide?

Thank you much in advance!
I can speak as a chair of an admissions committee who reads things like this all of the time. So this is my opinion only, and other opinions may vary. We know that PT Techs, Aides, Extenders, etc. are doing interventions that push the practice act of the state (all states vary on this..I know what my state's practice act says). This is not the responsibility of the PT Tech, Aide, Extender, etc to know; this is the sole responsibility of the PT that the PT Tech, etc is working under. It is the PTs license, and no one else. Take a look at probably any state's PT Board cases and see how often this comes up.

That being said, I think the BIGGEST piece of advice I can give applicants is...don't be silly. I once had an applicant who told me in an interview who was a PT Tech (I believe he called it Extender) that. 'I am already working as a PT; I just need the letters after my name now.' Uh no. You are not a PT, you are not 'treating patients.' You are applying an intervention that a PT told you to...nothing more. Treating a patient requires the integration of physical exam findings (including history and patient goals) into a plan that incorporates ALL COMPONENTS of evidence based practice, that also meets all state laws. I guess also we could say if reimbursed, your treatment plan also must meet insurance regulations.
 
Aug 22, 2013
136
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Oh wow...quite the confident one there ^. And I thought I had some good self-confidence. That's a whole other level.
 
Aug 13, 2014
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336
This=N of 1. AKA no value in clinical decision making. Please, please,please do not take the approach of anecdotal evidence supporting your treatment interventions into the clinic once you become a PT. Our profession has enough of those clinicians, and they've helped dig more than their share of holes. We're still trying to dig our way out of them.
Don't worry I'm smarter than that:). I am just excited to learn Muscle Energy because of how well it works on me as well as others I've seen. I also am well aware that each person is different and responds to treatments differently. To sum it up: I want to have every weapon I can to heal my future patients. I may even come up with some kind of revolutionary treatment myself one day :). I want to get every patient I have as close to 100% as humanly possible.