Evan Gorton, a physical therapist assistant at Brookdale Health in Brooklyn Center, talks about his job.

Q: What's a typical workday like for you?

A: I am one of two physical therapist assistants who assist Steve Wynia, a physical therapist. We carry out his plan of care for each patient. I see patients of all ages and backgrounds, most of which have been in motor vehicle accidents. Many have whiplash. Others have been referred after knee replacement, hip replacement or rotator cuff surgery, or are trying to avoid surgery.

Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?

A: I help patients get better and become stronger so they can return to normal life and work in up to three to 12 weeks. I also save patients and health insurers money because my work helps patients avoid surgery.

Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?

A: I work in an integrative health clinic, so in addition to patients, Dr. Wynia and his other assistant, I interact with our chiropractors and massage therapists. I also keep in contact with medical doctors who refer patients here.

Q: Why did you become a physical therapist assistant?

A: I used to work at a nursing home and got to know the physical therapist there. I wanted to be a bigger part of the medical picture and wanted to help people, and thought being a physical therapy assistant would be a good way to go.

Q: What do you like about your work?

A: Every day is different. Physical therapy is one of the most fulfilling jobs. You can go home at the end of the day and just know you did some good.

Nancy Crotti is a freelance writer who lives in St. Paul.