Tricia Nichols, physical therapist at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, Acute Rehabilitation Center, talks about her job. She discusses why she became a physical therapist, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
I work with adult patients who are in the hospital an average of five days to two months for intensive rehabilitation for mobility problems resulting from a stroke, surgery, amputation, car accident or chronic disease such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. In 30- to 60-minute sessions, they work on becoming strong and independent with mobility and daily living skills so they can return home. I build relationships with patients; get to know their families, their home situations and the activities that are important to them.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
Usually patients who have been hospitalized for a long time come to us just before they go home. We try to bring together all the pieces that address all the things that they need to be successful when leaving the hospital.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact mostly with patients, but also with doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational and speech therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and administration.
Q: Why did you become a physical therapist working in rehabilitation?
I wanted to get to know people on an individual basis and assist them to achieve their basic goals of becoming independent again.
Q: What do you like about your work?
It's always different and challenging. I get to meet a variety of people and build relationships with patients.