Is There a True Demand for Physical Therapy Assistants? What are the Pros and Cons of this profession?

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Vallon in Nashville, Tennessee

63 months ago

Hi David, can you explain a little more about the pros and cons of this profession, please? It would help so much. It seems like you're saying there is a lot of burn out in this profession. Why is that? Are the physical demands of the job overwhelming? Also, how hard is it to land a job working with kids with disabilities? I don't think I want to end up working in a nursing home. Is that where the majority of the jobs are?

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Vallon in Nashville, Tennessee

63 months ago

DavidT in Berwyn, Illinois said: lol. this is not the job for you if you're considering burn out rate

Oh, and is there toileting involved? How much heavy lifting are we talking? I have scoliosis (back issues) and if there is a lot of heavy lifting, I don't see myself lasting in this profession.

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Scoot in Oslo, Norway

63 months ago

Hi! I was wondering the same thing. I have scoliosis and lumbar spinal stenosis. I was looking in to the PTA program and wondered if you thought this is something that I could do. Any info would be helpful.

Thanks!

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romansroad in Cleveland, Tennessee

63 months ago

Vallon in Nashville, Tennessee said: Oh, and is there toileting involved? How much heavy lifting are we talking? I have scoliosis (back issues) and if there is a lot of heavy lifting, I don't see myself lasting in this profession.

Lots of heavy lifting. I have been a PTA for 21 years and have have 4 back operations. Patients keep getting fatter and fatter as the years go on. I am now looking for another career path. Most of the jobs are found in nursing homes or hospitals. If you have any back issues at all and done want to do heaving lifting, pass this by and look elsewhere.

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the_cure in San Antonio, Texas

63 months ago

Coder in Pembroke Pines, Florida said: I know that the program is 2 years for an associate in science. There is supposed to be a lot of heavy lifting, but I want to know how much toileting is required. What is the average burn-out rate, 5 or more years?

PTA is great profession if you love working with people and feel good about helping others. There is alot of lifting and stooping and walking involved that is why it is called physical therapy. Toileting is an essential thing that PTA's do. It may sound like eeww but we work on transfers on a variety of surfaces including the toilet. It is important in the daily life of an individual. I think if you work in a setting you love then there will be low burn out rate. I work with the geriatric population and I love it.

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WIMHAUSER in SOMEWHERE, Illinois

63 months ago

I THINK DavidT in Berwyn, Illinois COMMENT WAS JUST FINE, HE WAS ONLY LETTING YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU HAVE BACK ISSUES IT MAY NOT WORK OUT. I WORK FOR AN AMBULANCE CO. AND I WOULDNT WANT TO SEE SOME ONE WITH A BAD BACK HELPING PATIENTS. NOT ONLY DO YOU HURT YOURSELF YOU COULD END UP HURTING A PATIENT. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?? BESIDES, HE GAVE YOU PLENTY OF INFO. YOUR VERY RUDE AND I HIGHLY DOUBT YOU WOULD BE GOOD WITH THE PUBLIC IF YOU FREAK OUT THE EASY.

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scoot in Waterloo, Ontario

63 months ago

You do not know me personally. I think you would change your mind. I was referring to the comment posted above about me being on disability leave and not putting my work off on others. I CAN take constructive critisizem and Respect others

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WIMHAUSER in CHICAGO AREA, Illinois

63 months ago

WELL THATS JUST GREAT TO HEAR SCOOT!! SO HAPPY FOR YA!

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scoot in Waterloo, Ontario

63 months ago

After thinking about it I want to apologize to David for the comment I made. I took it too personal I guess. Thanks for your input and feedback.

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egush in Dayton, Ohio

58 months ago

It kills me how people claim to want to help people but don't want to really get their hands dirty so to speak. Toileting is part of life-either you want to help someone or you don't. Sometimes you have to put your own issues away for that person who needs your help.

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bunnyv in Summerfield, Florida

58 months ago

egush in Dayton, Ohio said: It kills me how people claim to want to help people but don't want to really get their hands dirty so to speak. Toileting is part of life-either you want to help someone or you don't. Sometimes you have to put your own issues away for that person who needs your help.

As someone who asked the same thing, I think it is a very valid question. Just because someone wants to help people doesn't mean they want to clean up their p*ss and sh*t and wipe other peoples privates. When most people think of PT, they don't think that type of work will be involved, and it certainly isn't something that one would want to find out AFTER they have put in money and time into schooling.

When I asked on this board no one answered, but I was able to get an answer on a different board. So for anyone else wondering, yes, you will at some point probably have to clean up bodily fluids, but unless you at working at someones home (home health), you don't have to clean the actual person. I was told that usually if someone goes in their pants, you call the nurse and they are sent on their way, while you would clean up whatever happened in your area.

Regards

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lory in Laredo, Texas

53 months ago

yes as a pta you may occationally find yourself in a position you would wish otherwise, like having to deal with toileting but honestly it is more embarrasing for the patient. Your heart sinks when you see their faces completely flushed from embarrasement and the inability to help themselves, beleive me your instinctive reaction will be to help or at least offer your help. It sounds horrible to have to help someone when they are soiled but when and if it happens you'll realize your more humane that you thought! good luck to you :D

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Becky in North Highlands, California

52 months ago

I have been a PTA for nearly 10 years now. You learn in school about proper body mechanics and the proper way to work to keep both you and your patients safe. However, there are times that you can be in a difficult position. I would be less than truthful if I didn't tell you that yes I do come home with a back ache every so often. But there are numerous areas and specialties. Lifting really only happens on a routine basis in Skilled Nursing homes, Rehabilitation Centers and in the acute (hospital) settings. Basically places where patients are at their weakest. In the out patient settings there is minimal lifting of patients. You spend more time working, dependent on the out patient facility, on showing exercises, proper lifting and on modalities.

Bottom line, if you are interested in helping people to regain, maintain and return to good physical health this is a great field. Don't worry about your size or abilities. Most likely there will be a place for you in this field. If back problems are a concern, what about hand therapy? You would need to move past PTA and look at PT or OT but that is a great option with a large need also.

Good luck!

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Paula in Neuss, Germany

52 months ago

Thanks Becky, your reply was a lot of help!

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anton in San Antonio, Texas

52 months ago

Anyone looking for work as a PTA? I work for this great company with excellent benefits.

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kim-n-fla in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

51 months ago

Is there anyone in south florida that's PTA. I would like to chat with someone. I was in sales & marketing for 20 years and have walked away from it. I'm looking into BCC for the PTA program and would love to know the + and - in this field.

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student in Port Neches, Texas

49 months ago

Anton,how much do you make per hour?

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Devanna in Temecula, California

49 months ago

Hi I was talking to my dad and he told me he went to a physical therapist for 3 months and the physical therapist assistant told him she needs two jobs just to make money. She also mentioned that it is not in high demand so my question is this job in high demand and do they get well paid for new PTA's I would love to hear from people who are PTA's thank you

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Becky in Sacramento, California

49 months ago

Where to start on a reply. There is a high demand for PTAs depending on where you are willing to move to. Some areas the field is crowded other areas companies have a hard time filling positions. The PTA that worked with your Dad may have to work several jobs to get full time or possibly depending on what the companies are paying. I work for one company and typically do get nearly my 40 hours. To get the full hours I do sometimes have to float from one location which is slow to another clinic that needs help. So being flexible I am typically getting near my full hours. If I didn't have family obligations I really could get full hours without a problem but I would be working 6 days a week and no consisitancy in location or time that I work. That is the advantage of working for a company with several locations. I do recommend when talking with employers is to find out what they do if the patient load decreses. Being a new employee are you going to be the one sent home and if yes, how often?

It would be interesting to hear from other PTAs on how often they are called off. I have a lot of seniority and I am getting tired of being sent home while the PTs get to stay and get their full hours. Does anyone else have that happening?

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student in Nederland, Texas

47 months ago

anton in San Antonio, Texas said: Anyone looking for work as a PTA? I work for this great company with excellent benefits.

What school did you attend?

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marks. in Sacramento, California

47 months ago

Becky in Sacramento, California said: Where to start on a reply. There is a high demand for PTAs depending on where you are willing to move to. Some areas the field is crowded other areas companies have a hard time filling positions. The PTA that worked with your Dad may have to work several jobs to get full time or possibly depending on what the companies are paying. I work for one company and typically do get nearly my 40 hours. To get the full hours I do sometimes have to float from one location which is slow to another clinic that needs help. So being flexible I am typically getting near my full hours. If I didn't have family obligations I really could get full hours without a problem but I would be working 6 days a week and no consisitancy in location or time that I work. That is the advantage of working for a company with several locations. I do recommend when talking with employers is to find out what they do if the patient load decreses. Being a new employee are you going to be the one sent home and if yes, how often?

It would be interesting to hear from other PTAs on how often they are called off. I have a lot of seniority and I am getting tired of being sent home while the PTs get to stay and get their full hours. Does anyone else have that happening?

Hi Becky. I'm also in Sacramento and I'm thinking about going for the PTA program at Sac City College. I would love to get your opinion on the "real world" aspects of the job. What do you hear about the job market? Would you do anything over again knowing what you know now? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

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iamtd35 in New Britain, Connecticut

46 months ago

anton in San Antonio, Texas said: Anyone looking for work as a PTA? I work for this great company with excellent benefits.

Where do you live?

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Amberly in Sacramento, California

46 months ago

I am also interested in entering the PTA program at Sac City College, Does that program help with job placement?

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marks. in Sacramento, California

46 months ago

Amberly in Sacramento, California said: I am also interested in entering the PTA program at Sac City College, Does that program help with job placement?

They don't directly. But alert students when there are job openings. If you have any other questions let me know. i_be_mark@sbcglobal.net

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David in San Antonio, Texas

46 months ago

anton in San Antonio, Texas said: Anyone looking for work as a PTA? I work for this great company with excellent benefits.

I live in San Antonio, and I'm considering going to school to become a PTA. It looks like St. Philip's is the only place to get schooling here. Do you know if it's a good school?

Can I also ask how much you make here in SA, as well as how much the average starting pay is? Any advice you can give would be very helpful!

Thanks!

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Sassielady in San Diego, California

46 months ago

I am amazed that there are only 2-3 programs here in AZ for PTA's aand OTA's. Only one of those is a community college. Tehrefore the tuition at the other schools are well over $30K. Im torn between the two f\different occupations. I was originally going for nursing so the bodily fluid thing isnt that big of a deal. I since both are very similar, Im inclined to go with what pays more. OTA program is $36K and PTA program is only $8K. Feedback please....

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sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona

40 months ago

Well, I did all my pre-req's and volunteer hours. I just applied and I am number 162 on the waitlist at Gateway community college. I am excited but, it may be up to three years on the waitlist!

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Future PTA in Gilbert, Arizona

40 months ago

sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona said: Well, I did all my pre-req's and volunteer hours. I just applied and I am number 162 on the waitlist at Gateway community college. I am excited but, it may be up to three years on the waitlist!

I would just leave the Phoenix area. The time you will waste on the waitlist won't be worth the money you will save. I'm leaving the state. Already got accepted to a school in Minnesota. I'll be entering a program in August that will only cost me 7K or so. I'll make that up working in a month. Gateway is just not worth the wait, and almost every other school in the country accepts students based on the merit of their application (eg grades, voluteer time, etc.), not some three year waitlist nonsense.

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KitCat in Victoria, Texas

39 months ago

Im looking into becoming a PTA then a few years later going for a PT DR degree.... I want to mostly work with kids.... is there a high demand in pediatrics for PTA's? whats better working in a hospital or a busniess office setting?

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liju in Kottayam, India

38 months ago

David can u please give me your mail id...want to ask u something

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Pta grad in Concord, North Carolina

38 months ago

KitCat in Victoria, Texas said: Im looking into becoming a PTA then a few years later going for a PT DR degree.... I want to mostly work with kids.... is there a high demand in pediatrics for PTA's? whats better working in a hospital or a busniess office setting?

Bad idea! Becoming a pta with plans to transition to.pt or dr or dpt whatever, its a waste of time and money. If that's what you want go get it. As far pediatrics goes, there is not a big demand for ptas. Pediatrics is a specialty practice. I would be affraid as a pta that I would be utilized more as a tech. Not saying that tge jobs aren't out there because they are. If a pta program finds out that you are planning to attend pt school later on then tgey will not accept you. Its a waste of their time and yours.

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sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona

38 months ago

Future PTA in Gilbert, Arizona said: I would just leave the Phoenix area. The time you will waste on the waitlist won't be worth the money you will save. I'm leaving the state. Already got accepted to a school in Minnesota. I'll be entering a program in August that will only cost me 7K or so. I'll make that up working in a month. Gateway is just not worth the wait, and almost every other school in the country accepts students based on the merit of their application (eg grades, voluteer time, etc.), not some three year waitlist nonsense.

Unfortunately, not everyone can just pick up and move. And, while I'm not being defensive (no reason to be) I believe Gateway IS worth the wait. The waitlist is based on the number of applicants. I happen to be the 162nd applicant waiting to get a spot. The reason is there is only the ONE accredited program in the valley. So, not sure what you mean by "nonsense" it is what it is. It's a great school and highly regarded in the PT field. I've done my research. If I was young and did NOT have a family, moving may be an option. But, it's not so I will wait! The only other option is a private for-profit school that just opened it's doors to the PTA program. $35K...no thanks! Glad you got into a program, wherever it may be!

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Future PTA in Phoenix, Arizona

38 months ago

I do understand you that for many people leaving isn't an option. That is precisely why I stated that the waiting list is unfair.

It is unfair to make people wait three years just to start their careers. It turns a two year degree into a five year degree. It is insane in my opinion, and what's more is that its just totally unsustainable in the long run. How much bigger can the list get before the wait just turns from ridiculous to totally unmanageable? It is growing bigger every year. In just the past year or two it went from being a one year wait to a three year wait.

You noted that you are the 162nd applicant in line. They take thirty students per year from whatever waitlist you are on (online hybrid vs. classroom option). Even if 50% of students each year reject their spot (eliminating 60 people from the waitlist per admission cycle), you're looking at three years, maybe even four just to get in the door. That's just not right!

To expect that people can just hold out like that, year after year. I think that people who make a plan and work hard to execute it deserve the opportunity to put that plan into action. Not sit around and wait three years for the phone to ring.

This whole waitlist also does a disservice to the profession itself in terms of the quality of students entering into and coming out of Gateway. The criteria for getting on the list is too light. They base it on passing two classes and putting your name on a sheet. That's just no way to judge an applicant whatsoever. Almost every other school in the country grants admission based on merit. No waitlists. You apply and the best applicants get in each year. Gateway is in the minority here big time when it comes to this. In my opinion, Gateway needs to find a way to convert to a competitive admission system. It is more fair for applicants and better for the profession as a whole.

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sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona

38 months ago

Well, in that respect you are absolutely right. To be honest with you, anything can happen in three years time. By then, I may have found another career path altogether! I seriously dont see me just sitting around waiting for that long. I did even go check out the private school route but cannot and will not swallow that amount in loans for this particular program! I can't justify it! So, either way my name is on the list and whatever happens between now and then....we'll just have to wait and see!

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martie-b in Gretna, Louisiana

37 months ago

Can anyone give me some insight on a career in the Physical Therapy Asst. position working in home health care. I am really interested and looking into classes. I know in my heart this is what I want to do but am reluctant because I am a small female (100lbs) and a bit affraid of not being able to meet the jobs physical demand. I really appreciate any feedback. Thank You!

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Erica in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

37 months ago

I am currently in the pta program, and I was just wondering if anyone out there that is my age (35) can tell me if this is a job I will be able to do for years to come?

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Sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona

37 months ago

My experience during my volunteer work was this: Yes there is a big demand for this. Pay is good, it a field that requires a degree therefore most people are serious about this and are competent. Not saying ALL are, but the people I worked with at the SNF were all excellent PTA's and had been in the field ofr quite awhile. All had great things to say. Many were wome older than I. There were a few men as well. The youngest was a PTA that was a recent graduate and was in her late twenty's. a few of the women were not large in stature. Alot of the lifting and assisting with waling was done by the male PTA's. Nt walkin assistedlike with a walker, but in between the double bars, kind of walking. So, to answer a few of your questions, ou do not have to be a large person to do this, but strength is somewhat important. and as far as age I'd say almost everyone was over 35 at the place I volunteered at. I am still hoping to have my number called on the waitlist, sooner rather that later....

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Becky in Rio Linda, California

37 months ago

I'm 36 and have been a PTA for 11 years now and sincerly hope to con't in this field for at least another 30 years. Use good body mechanics, don't try to lift someone without help, basically use what you are teaching your patients and you should be good. I know of several PTAs that are in their 60's and still going strong. But I also know of young nurses that have hurt their back because they were lifting patients and didn't get help.

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martieboudreaux@yahoo.com in Gretna, Louisiana

37 months ago

Thank You Sassielady for taking time to answer my question. I am look forward to starting the program. Good Luck I hope your number comes up soon.. sending positive thoughts.

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Erica in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

37 months ago

Thank you Becky and Sassielady for answering my questions. I think sometimes just the stress of trying to go to college and raising two kids makes me worry about everything, so it is nice to hear from you guys that there 60 year olds doing this job. You hear so many things from so many people about whether you've made the right choice, and I just have to believe that I have. I love working with people of all ages so I think this will suit me well. I just have one more year to go! Also, I have heard that this last year will be my busiest, so if anyone has any advice on managing it all, college and a family, that would be great. I have been a part-time student up until now, so full time will be different. Any advice from anyone who has been through the program with having a family?

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sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona

37 months ago

Wow, I aplologize for my many typos, I was on my laptop when I replied yesterday!

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sassielady in Phoenix, Arizona

37 months ago

Erica~ I too am 35 (turning 36 this month)and I have a family as well. The program I am waiting to get in to is about 4 days a week, and from what I remember is from about 8-4pm. I will not be working during my program. It will have it's days Im sure, but I will work through it as best I can! Whats tough right now is the waiting game. I just applied in April/May (can't remember) and they said 2-3 year wait. UGH!

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Erica in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

37 months ago

Wow, I'm sorry you have to wait that long. I'm surprised there is such a wait. There didn't seem to be a wait at my school, but every state is different. It is difficult at times with a family, but it has also made me more driven to divide my time between my family and my schoolwork evenly. I can honestly say it has been a wonderful experience, except for taking college algebra because I suck at math. After I got over that hurdle, It was a lot easier for me.

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Rachel L in Deerfield Beach, Florida

37 months ago

kim-n-fla in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: Is there anyone in south florida that's PTA. I would like to chat with someone. I was in sales & marketing for 20 years and have walked away from it. I'm looking into BCC for the PTA program and would love to know the + and - in this field.

Hi Kim!! I am curious...Did you ever enroll into the PTA program at Broward College? I am a new student at Broward College and will begin my pre-requisites THIS Fall, with the hopes of being accepted into the PTA program next year.

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brandon in Auburn, Washington

36 months ago

martie-b in Gretna, Louisiana said: Can anyone give me some insight on a career in the Physical Therapy Asst. position working in home health care. I am really interested and looking into classes. I know in my heart this is what I want to do but am reluctant because I am a small female (100lbs) and a bit affraid of not being able to meet the jobs physical demand. I really appreciate any feedback. Thank You!

Home Health is cool! You pretty much make ur own schedule, not alot of heavy lifting at all. The bad part is it gets pretty lonely and diving quickly becomes a drag

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Edu- florida.. in Miami, Florida

36 months ago

kim-n-fla in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: Is there anyone in south florida that's PTA. I would like to chat with someone. I was in sales & marketing for 20 years and have walked away from it. I'm looking into BCC for the PTA program and would love to know the + and - in this field.

I also want to join the program at bcc, And is pretty good to get to know all of the different comments on how PTA works out there.
i thanks everyone on their comments.

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Jeremiah in Sanderson, Florida

36 months ago

romansroad in Cleveland, Tennessee said: Lots of heavy lifting. I have been a PTA for 21 years and have have 4 back operations. Patients keep getting fatter and fatter as the years go on. I am now looking for another career path. Most of the jobs are found in nursing homes or hospitals. If you have any back issues at all and done want to do heaving lifting, pass this by and look elsewhere.

Romansroad, do you still monitor this chat window? Local PTA here in Northeast Florida and noticed that supply/demand for our profession looks weak up there in TN. Any input?

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honeybeechanger in new port richey, Florida

33 months ago

lory in Laredo, Texas said: yes as a pta you may occationally find yourself in a position you would wish otherwise, like having to deal with toileting but honestly it is more embarrasing for the patient. Your heart sinks when you see their faces completely flushed from embarrasement and the inability to help themselves, beleive me your instinctive reaction will be to help or at least offer your help. It sounds horrible to have to help someone when they are soiled but when and if it happens you'll realize your more humane that you thought! good luck to you :D

I know that if someone needed help because they soil themselves I would help them but I'm not sure that I want this is a job requirement. We do this for babies and for pets and for elderly parents but don't know if I want this as my job. I just don't know.

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K in Portland, Maine

33 months ago

WIMHAUSER in SOMEWHERE, Illinois said: I THINK DavidT in Berwyn, Illinois COMMENT WAS JUST FINE, HE WAS ONLY LETTING YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU HAVE BACK ISSUES IT MAY NOT WORK OUT. I WORK FOR AN AMBULANCE CO. AND I WOULDNT WANT TO SEE SOME ONE WITH A BAD BACK HELPING PATIENTS. NOT ONLY DO YOU HURT YOURSELF YOU COULD END UP HURTING A PATIENT. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?? BESIDES, HE GAVE YOU PLENTY OF INFO. YOUR VERY RUDE AND I HIGHLY DOUBT YOU WOULD BE GOOD WITH THE PUBLIC IF YOU FREAK OUT THE EASY.

Learn how to spell, moron. "Your" not exactly a peacemaker yourself. These are legitimate concerns. If "your" this confrontational, and losing grammatical skills, maybe "your" suffering from burnout yourself
.

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ginger in Clinton, Tennessee

31 months ago

Vallon in Nashville, Tennessee said: Oh, and is there toileting involved? How much heavy lifting are we talking? I have scoliosis (back issues) and if there is a lot of heavy lifting, I don't see myself lasting in this profession.

there's alot lifting!

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