Once we start pursuing physical therapy as a career, we learn something pretty quickly: No two physical therapists have the same job. There are so many variables in play! These variables include the types of settings, the patients they see, parts of the country/world they practice in, and even changes from clinic to clinic, and company to company that can determine what a day in the life of a physical therapist is like. Join us as we learn more about our exciting future PT careers!
Hi, I’m Dr. Jasmine Marcus, PT DPT, and I’ve been a physical therapist for a little over two years now. I work at a private, outpatient clinic in Upstate New York and I also do a lot of writing about physical therapy. I love what Jess and Samantha are doing with the Pre-DPT Society and I’m excited to contribute by showing you what a day in my life is like. Feel free to connect with me via my blog or on Twitter.
Here is a typical Thursday for me:
0535: My alarm goes off. I’ve become a morning person in the past year since I started working four, 10-hour days a week – a schedule that I love!
0545: I make coffee, make and eat breakfast, and make lunch for myself for later. For breakfast, I almost always eat steel cut oatmeal with blueberries and peanut butter, and for lunch, I almost always have a big salad and Greek yogurt. For snacks, I bring in a handful of mixed nuts and baby carrots. As I eat, I scroll through social media and also check my schedule of patients to prep myself for the day.
0615: I head upstairs to get dressed in business casual clothing and get myself ready for work.
0625: I drive to work. I have a very beautiful drive past farms and hills, and I’m lucky that since I start work so early, there is never any traffic.
0650: I arrive at work, chat with the front desk staff, fire up my computer, and discuss our morning with my student. I am six weeks into being a clinical instructor for a physical therapy student for the first time, and it’s been a really great experience.
0700: We go in to treat our first patient of the day. At my clinic, we see each patient one-on-one for half an hour. My student and I see four returning patients and do one evaluation of a new patient.
0930: A patient doesn’t show up (she ends up showing up later, having mixed up her appointment time), so we take a break to have a snack and prepare for our late-morning patients. I also read an article in Physical Therapy journal about arthritis.
1000: Again, we see four more returning patients and do an evaluation on a new patient. Today, we are almost booked solid, which I like since it makes me feel like I’m being productive.
1230: Lunchtime! On Thursdays, I work with one other physical therapist, a physical therapist assistant, a physical therapy aide, and our office manager. We all decided to have a dessert party today, and I have brought in “nice cream.” It’s made from bananas, but tastes better to me than most other alternatives to ice cream. If you’ve never made it before, give it a try!
1300: Still lunchtime. My student and I finish up our notes from the morning and prepare for our busy afternoon.
1330: We evaluate a new patient, followed up by three returning patients, another new patient, and one more returning patient. At this point, my student is treating many of my patients with some guidance from me. I’ve realized from teaching her how much I’ve learned in the two-plus years I’ve been working.
1630: We have a spot that wasn’t filled, so I teach my student upper limb nerve tensioning tests. I used them earlier in the day during an evaluation and we realized she hadn’t learned most of them in school.
1700: We see our last patient of the day. I treated this patient two-and-a-half years ago when I was doing my third clinical internship at this same clinic, so it is cool that now I am treating her again, but this time I’m the physical therapist and have a student of my own.
1730: I wrap things up with my student and double check that all our notes are done for the day.
1745: I change into gym clothes that I brought with me this morning. To keep myself consistent with exercising, I almost always change into my gym clothes at work. Once you’re dressed, there’s no way you can go home and sit on the couch!
1830: I take a class at a fun, new gym that opened up near me. The class is a mix of cardio and strengthening, and I’ve actually used a few moves from class with my patients.
1930: Back at home, I make dinner from leftovers and shower. I unwind for a few minutes on social media and talk to my husband on the phone since he is away on a business trip.
2130: Since I was an editor of the student newspaper during my undergraduate days at Cornell and a journalist after college, writing and editing are still passions of mine. My bosses have been putting these skills to use by having me edit our company’s new website. I spend about half an hour making changes to the latest addition of the website.
2230: Bedtime! It’s actually the weekend for me since I don’t work on Fridays.
Want to know more?
Dr. Jasmine has also been blogging about her Physical Therapy journey for over SIX years! Find Dr. Jasmine’s blog : here.
Some of her articles you don’t want to miss:
- Applying to Physical Therapy School: The Application
- Applying to Physical Therapy School: Where to Apply
- How to Turn an Internship into a Job
If you’d like to share your ‘A Day in the Life’ & be featured on our website, please send your submissions to: PreDPTsociety@gmail.com