In ten to fifteen years I would like to be working in the physical therapy industry as a sports trainer. I like the idea of being around sports while dealing with medicine and sport injuries. I have participated in athletics since I was very young and have played contact sports. Now I would like to work in the sport therapy field to prevent these injuries from happening. My goal would be to work with high school athletes anywhere up to professional athletes. The person I interviewed was Norm Paquin, who was the sports trainer at my high school and also worked as a physical therapist at Jordan Hospital.
He received his Bachelors degree from Northeastern in the field of Sports Medicine. He returned to school this year to receive his Masters at the University of Southern Maine. The starting salary for a full time physical therapist averages about $755 weekly. The middle fifty- percent earns between $577 and $1055 a week. The top ten percent earn at least $1294 and the bottom ten- percent earns less than $400 a week. According to the American Physical Therapy Association’s survey of physical therapists practicing in hospital settings, the average annual base salary of a full-time physical therapist is $48,000.
The middle fifty- percent earns between $42,000 and $57,000. Norm told me that his starting annual salary was about was about $41,000. When he was first hired at Jordan Hospital, Norm had the opportunity to begin as a physical therapist’s assistant. From watching the therapist and improving his skills and knowledge of the practice, he could move his way up the staff. He had the opportunity to become a therapist and then head of the therapy ward. He also took a job at Silver Lake Regional High School as the athletic trainer.
After each full year off working at Jordan Hospital therapists receive a 2-3% increase in salary based upon the years figure. Norm started working about seven years ago and is now making close to $60,000. All states require that physical therapists pass a licensure exam after graduating from an accredited physical therapist educational program before they can practice. In July 1997 there were 173 accredited physical therapist programs. Of the 173 programs, 46-offered bachelor’s degree and 116 were master’s degree programs.
By the year 2001, all the accredited physical therapy programs will be at the master’s degree level and above. Currently, the bachelor’s degree curriculum starts with basic science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and then introduces specialized courses such as biomechanics, neuroanatomy, human growth, and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques, and therapeutic procedures. Besides classroom and laboratory instruction, students receive supervised clinical experience. Norm returned to school this fall to obtain his master’s degree.
In a few years it will be very hard to obtain a physical therapist job with only a bachelor’s degree. Competition for entrance into physical therapist educational programs is very intense. Norm said you must obtain superior grades in high school and college to be hired by a well-established facility. Courses useful when applying to physical therapist educational programs include anatomy, biology, chemistry, social science, mathematics, and physics. Before granting admission, many professional education programs require experience as a volunteer in physical therapy department of a hospital or clinic.
While at Northeastern University, Norm volunteered at Mass General Hospital. He said that this experience really gave him a grasp on what the atmosphere would be like when he obtains a job at a hospital. He really enjoyed it and it made him work harder towards his degree. Not only must therapists have exceptional knowledge of his field they must have good people skills. Norm told me that therapists should have strong interpersonal skills to successfully educate patients about their physical therapy treatments.
They should also be compassionate and posses a desire to help patients. Similar traits are also needed to interact with the patient’s family. At Jordan Hospital, Norm is provided with full health and life insurance in which he pays $4 biweekly each month. There is a retirement plan in which the hospital takes a certain amount out of the employee’s check if he or she requests it. Norm is given nine sick days per year, four personal days per year, seven holidays per year, and three weeks for vacation per year.
Unlike the hospital there is no charge when students come to see Norm in the trainer’s room, unless they need x-rays or have to go to the hospital. The school pays him but his services are free to the students. At Jordan Hospital and many facilities there is a fixed rate of charge. The rate by which they charge patients and insurance companies is determined by taking the pre-established government standard, 80%, and adding 20% to the bill, to obtain a full 100%, allowing the company to make a 20% profit.
This rate of charge is fixed for all patients no matter what their financial status may be. Jordan Hospital is really a non-advertising company. Hospitals rarely advertise their facilities. They make a name for themselves by their treatment of patients and their medical success. Any medical breakthrough is advertisement in itself because the community will trust the hospital to provide them with the best treatment. The hospital supports many charity events and that also helps them to make a good name for themselves in the community.
Any new treatments, success, and community service the hospital does is enough advertisement. Technology is paving the way to the future and in this new technological era it is very much improving the treatment in physical therapy. Jordan Hospital contains top of the line machines and state of the art equipment. These advanced machines help to rehabilitate patients to full health and strength and they also help to ease the pain. Every patient is also kept in the computer database, which is networked throughout the whole hospital.
The computer takes care of each patient’s billings, records, treatment, and progress. If I became a physical therapist or athletic trainer, I would use my skills and knowledge of my field to help my patients to healthy a complete recovery. I would work well with my colleagues along with my patients. I would also make sure that my patient and their families are always fully aware of how they are and what is going on. My goal and priority would make sure all my patients are successful and happy on their road to recovery.