Importance of Non-Technical Skills For Physical Therapists

importance of soft skills for physical therapists

Importance of Non-Technical Skills For Physical Therapists

Physical therapists must support patients physically and emotionally. Education and experience devoted to developing non-technical skills and patient-centered care prepare them for taking on this role.

Traits of Successful Physical Therapists

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the core values physical therapists should possess are:

  • Accountability—responsibility for the role physical therapists serve in positively influencing people’s lives.
  • Altruism—placing the needs of patients and clients ahead of self-interest.
  • Collaboration—building trust and rapport with other healthcare professionals, patients, families, and communities to achieve shared goals.
  • Compassion—care and concern that considers the needs and values of others.
  • Duty—being committed to providing physical therapy services and positively influencing the health and well-being of others.
  • Excellence—consistently using quality skills and extensive knowledge to embrace advancement and challenge mediocrity.
  • Inclusion—creating a safe and equitable environment while acknowledging personal biases that could impact patient care and standing for anti-discrimination.
  • Integrity—adherence to ethical principles and standards, honesty, fairness, and follow-through on commitments.
  • Social Responsibility—responding to societal needs for the health and wellness benefits physical therapy can provide.

An overall positive attitude and excellent communication skills reinforce these values. A successful physical therapist is a person who is easy to talk to. They listen well and patients can discuss their worries and feelings with them. If patients have a lengthy or difficult recovery process, a physical therapist’s positive attitude helps motivate them.

Importance of Patient-Centered Care in Physical Therapy

Patient-centered care has grown in prominence in recent years. Although many people will agree it is important and contributes to efficient and effective health care, there still are barriers to implementing patient-centered care in the U.S. healthcare system. More concerning is that healthcare professionals may not be receiving the appropriate education to practice patient-centered care.

Carlow University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program focuses on teaching students to address the social determinants of health by providing patient centered care. A recent article discusses how Carlow’s physical therapy degree program is changing the way the practice is being taught.

In the article, Dr. Rhonda Maneval, Dean for the College of Health and Wellness at Carlow University, explains how aspiring physical therapists should develop the soft skills they will need for successful professional practice.

Physical Therapy Program at Carlow University

Carlow’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program features a curriculum designed to provide institutional knowledge and professional skills. The doctorate program’s students will view the patient’s life circumstances broadly, considering where they live, their environment, genetics, income and education level, and relationships with friends and family.

A well-rounded approach to physical therapist training, doctorate degree candidates will be trained to understand the impact safe and affordable housing, access to public safety, availability of healthy foods, and toxin-free environments have on the health outcomes of their patients.

Carlow’s DPT program also offers dedicated courses designed to teach students about interprofessional collaboration, entrepreneurship, leadership, health informatics for decision-making, and understanding healthcare policies and economics.

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