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The mission statement of the School of Exercise & Sport Science communicates how driven the school is to help us, the students, succeed in achieving our goals and reaching the level of education that we need to prepare us for our careers. It lets us know that we are going to be well prepared for our careers as long as we work hard and strive to reach our goals. It comforts me to know that while I am learning and studying, I am in a place of learning that supports me and that there are people here who are willing to help me when I need it. The mission statement also lets me know that I am in a place where I can receive the training and education I need to advance toward my goals and career. I continue to work hard knowing that I am preparing for a career that will one day support me and others in my future. I know I will be able to learn the ins and outs of my career and be able to know what to expect when I graduate. I will be able to gain experience in my profession through internships and on-the-job training thanks to the support of Mary Hardin Baylor. The mission statement makes it known that I will be prepared professionally through excellence in teaching, research, and service. I will be taught what it means to be a professional and how to act like one in my career, as well as, how to promote a commitment to healthy behaviors and active lifestyles across the lifespan.

A career that I have been interested in pursuing is physical therapy. Many physical therapists get their degrees in sciences like biology, physics, psychology, healthcare, chemistry, kinesiology, or exercise science. I am pursuing this career because I have an interest in helping people in hospital-like settings and would like to see my patients progress in their treatment. I aspire to be able to spend my time on my feet, actively working with patients and helping them recover rather than sitting at a desk or behind a counter. My passion for helping others combined with my interest in health science careers has led me to seek this career and I found myself studying for my degree at Mary Hardin Baylor, in the hope that one day I will be working as a physical therapist, hopefully in a hospital. During my education, I have learned about what physical therapists do and all the different settings in which you can find one. I personally, would like to work in a hospital and focus on acute care or work in a rehabilitation hospital. According to my strong interest in inventory results, I would most likely enjoy this profession as it is one of my top strongest occupations. I feel that the traits and skills I am equipped with will allow me to become a capable and reliable physical therapist in the future. One of the things I enjoy about physical therapy is that it is a very rewarding profession. You are able to work one on one with patients and be able to watch them progress and get better knowing that you are making a positive difference in someone’s life. There is also a very high demand for physical therapists because of the rise of the aging population needing more care and treatment. This means there is most likely going to be high job security and you have the ability to pick the setting you want to work in considering the large variety of workplace settings for physical therapists.

Professionals in physical therapy are a part of the many healthcare specialties out there that are able to diagnose and hopefully treat patients of any age group who have health-related conditions that have limited their abilities such as moving or performing activities that are part of their daily lives. A physical therapist professional examines patients and develops a plan of care that would effectively promote movement, reduce pain, restore function, or prevent further disability. The physical therapist works with the patient, family members, and other health care professionals in order to ensure the target or objectives of the plan of care are met and the patient’s results are ideal at the end of their treatment. The main role I would perform as a physical therapist would be to diagnose and create plans for the patient that could involve things such as stretching, strength training, exercises, and physical manipulation to help the patients recover. There are many different techniques, procedures, equipment, and technology that physical therapists have access to in order to aid them while treating their patients. These allow the physical therapist to accurately diagnose the patient and can then help the therapist treat the patient effectively and efficiently. Devices like electrical muscle stimulation can help a physical therapist create a plan that will discharge a patient quicker than they could before. According to Andrew Stark, the Electrical muscle stimulation device “is commonly used after an accident or severe injury to help promote muscle growth and fight off muscular atrophy. A skilled physiotherapist can use electrical stimulation equipment to help rebuild basic tone and strength in muscles that have gone unused or were severely damaged in the recent past. These devices are commonly used in the early stages of physical therapy when traditional exercise options are unavailable due to extreme weakness in necessary muscle groups.” (Stark, 2015). The physical therapists, “are experts at what the body can do, and will educate patients and families about what is possible, and keep patients motivated during ongoing therapy.” (Shafer, 2013). A physical therapists would also have to track the progress of their patients and report the results to patients and their families. Common functional measurement tools that physical therapists often use for recording patients’ progress include the timed up-and-go test, the Tinetti balance, and gait evaluation, the Berg balance scale, and/or the six-minute walk test.

According to the APTA, “Physical therapists formed their first professional association in 1921, called the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association. Led by President Mary McMillan, an executive committee of elected officers governed the association, which included 274 charter members” (American Physical Therapy Association, 2019). Physical therapy seems to have started back in the 19th century in Europe, with the promotion of massage and manual muscle therapy. Nowadays there is a high demand for the profession in the workforce, “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations” (American Physical Therapy Association, 2019).

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While many physical therapists practice in hospitals, more than 80% of them practice in other settings like acute care, rehab clinics, subacute rehab clinics, extended care facilities, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, schools, sports and fitness centers, and many others. I would prefer to work in a hospital or acute care setting after I get my degree and license. Furthermore, physical therapists are generally paid very well with an average median income of $86,850 per year, “Top earners make $101,790 and up. Approximately 25 percent of those who work in this niche earn $71,670 annually. Depending on where you live, you could earn a lot more.” (Picincu, 2019). Even though there is a wide variety of settings, the highest demand for a physical therapists is found in rural settings. They also tend to get paid more in rural settings as there are fewer of them there leading to the high demand for them.

Students that are studying to be physical therapist study many topics such as human anatomy, biomechanics, musculoskeletal system, pathology, kinesiology, and neurological dysfunction management. They also participate in many internships and take hands-on clinical courses, which provide training in patient care and give them experience in the workplace setting. In order for students to gain admission to a professional physical therapy program, we would typically need to have earned a bachelor’s degree, completed science prerequisites, have gained volunteer hours or observation experience in physical therapy settings, and maintain an acceptable grade-point average. After graduation from an accredited physical therapy education program, I would have to pass a state-administered national exam. Licensure is required in every state however the requirements for licensure vary in each state according to the physical therapy practice acts or state regulations governing physical therapy. Licensed physical therapists can then choose to continue their education and go after residency or fellowship programs to further their knowledge and practice.

There are many important traits a physical therapist should have in order to handle and treat patients with respect and support. Since physical therapists work with people all the time, it is expected that they are able to effectively communicate with their patients in order to understand the scope of their problems and abilities. Without good communication skills, a physical therapist would not be able to comprise an effective treatment plan for the patient or be able to have them follow it. Another important trait for physical therapists is to be compassionate and supportive of patients and their family members. Physical therapists will have to be supportive of their patients because they often experience many personal, heart-to-heart moments with patients who may be feeling vulnerable or might be at their lowest point during the recovery period. It’s important for a physical therapist to be compassionate and patient because the treatment plan may be tough or stressful for the patient. The therapy will be hard for many people and without patience, a physical therapist could end up straining or injuring the patient or making them upset leading to more problems. I feel it is necessary to have determination and confidence in yourself while working as patients can often endure slow recovery processes over a long period of time, and sometimes the treatment is painful or difficult. Patients can take their anger and pain out on the therapist, which is why tolerance and thick skin are also essential traits in physical therapy. I feel I have many of these traits which is why I enjoy learning more about this career and working towards getting my degree.

Based on the research I have done on physical therapists I have found what I will need to work on and improve in order to become a capable physical therapist. There are many traits I will need to improve for the sake of those I will be working with and for. For instance, I plan on working on my confidence and resilience which I feel will be important if I have any patients that are agitated or distressed. Thanks to the help and support from my family and many of my teachers, I was able to continue pursuing my interests and worked hard towards my goals with their encouragement. A big part of why I pursued physical therapy is thanks to my health science teacher, Mrs, Susan Von Rosenburg. I had her for three years of high school, for classes such as anatomy and physiology, medical microbiology, principles of health sciences, and medical terminology. She not only encouraged me to pursue this career but also made learning the subjects interesting and enjoyable. Mrs, Von taught each subject in such a way that it drew me in and made me actually want to learn more about each subject. I definitely looked forward to each of her classes with enthusiasm and excitement. I am able to remember almost everything she taught us because she taught us in such a captivating way that helped us retain the information. She has helped me develop many skills that someone in the medical field would need, as well as, helping me gain the knowledge and vocab that would aid me in this career. Mrs, Von undoubtedly played a big part in helping me down the path I have chosen.

Thanks to my experiences and traits, I have gained many abilities that would help me with my vocation. For instance, a physical therapist needs to be supportive, patient, positive, knowledgeable, fit, and a good listener and I believe I have many of these traits. I have worked on developing many of these traits and still have many more opportunities to develop new and old traits. I have led certain clubs and groups that helped me gain skills and traits like leading, good communication and listening well, patience, etc. While I would not claim to always be perfect at these or even claim to have all the traits required to be a physical therapist, I would say that I am determined and eager to better myself and further my knowledge and understanding while studying at Mary Hardin Baylor. Like how my teacher had a great impact on me, I want to be able to help and guide others through my profession with the enthusiasm and encouragement that Mrs, Von had when she helped me. I want to make that impact, especially for people who are having a hard time in their life and could use all the support and encouragement they can in order to get better. When I help injured or ill people, I will need to be able to manage their pain and provide swift treatment, but it will be difficult to improve what has been lost. I will need to be as compassionate and determined as I can be in order to help them improve. I want to pursue physical therapy because this is how I can make a difference for people who are struggling with problems that can be fixed with some time and effort.

#heathcare #medical #medicalcare #pharmaceuticals #healthcareprofessional #nurses #healthprofessionals

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