For me, physical therapy seems one step shy of a course in medicine. After all, if you’re going to help treat someone’s body, you might as well become a “pure” doctor, right?
Not necessarily. It turns out that the kind of person who’s cut out to be a physical therapist may not be cut out to be a doctor, and vice versa. Just what kind of person is meant to pursue physical therapy? Let’s find out.
What Makes a Good Physical Therapist?
There’s a reason they put the word “physical” in physical therapy—the profession involves a bit of physical activity in itself, so a certain degree of physical fitness is in order. Good observation, precision, accuracy and analytical skills are the norm when it comes to this field
As with most professions, it helps if the therapist can communicate clearly. You may know how to set someone’s body right, but if you have trouble getting your ideas across, then you’re sunk.
According to a recent study, you may either be a physical therapist of the generalist type or the specialist type. The former focuses more on precision and proper procedure; the latter focuses more on flexibility and adaptability.
Regardless of “which way you swing,” your patients will always benefit from a good amount of patience. Enjoying working with people is a great asset—not only will you be dealing with different kinds of patients, but you’ll likely be working on or with a team composed of different health care professionals.
That, perhaps, is the moral of the story: you may be involved in a field that focuses on technical skill and physical health, but EQ is just as important, if not more so.