This is one of the most common questions asked during an interview so you need to have your answer memorized. To determine your strengths, think of the job- related skills that others compliment you on. Are you a patient person? Good listener? Provide amazing customer service? Have a great clinical skill?
"My greatest strength is my ability to build professional patient/therapist relationships. Patients confide in me, respect me as a provider as well as a person."
"As a new Physical Therapist entering the field, the program that I graduated from put a heavy emphasis on technology in the field and I'd bring a great knowledge of modern technologies for Physical Therapy to the team here. I have extensive training in utilizing video technology for telehealth purposes and utilizing modern video games to make therapy processes more stimulating for patients."
"Through my years of practicing as a Physical Therapist, I'd say that the biggest strength I could bring to the team here is my ability to customize care plans for each individual patient. I am a firm believer that each person is unique in their rehabilitation and my excellent assessment skills will be a big strength for the team here."
As a Physical Therapist, you have a handful of options of where you can work. Sports Physical Therapy may be a career field that interests you because you've dreamt of the opportunity to work with your favorite sports team. Be honest when answering this question. If you've had no desire to work within sports just relay that you enjoy working in a clinic.
"I've never considered working within sports physical therapy. I've been working within the healthcare center setting for 5 years and I enjoy the new challenges I face every day. Different patients and different injuries keep my job exciting and make me want to continue in a clinic setting."
"My initial drive to become a Physical Therapist started in the sports world when I was a high school athlete rehabbing an ACL injury. As I've progressed through my schooling, I've gained a larger appreciation of the field as a whole in being able to work with a larger population of patients."
"Through my career, I've found great pleasure in treating sports injuries. I've worked with local high school and collegiate level athletic programs and am greatly interested in getting athletes back on the field of play along with seeing other patients as well."
As a Physical Therapist, there may be a time that you have to delegate work to your co-workers. Tell the interviewer about a time that you had successful communications with your co-workers and were able to delegate work to get the job done. Talk about the teamwork you and your co-workers have and how you help each other out with delegated duties.
"I am comfortable delegating work. When I delegate work, I explain why I'm delegating, provide training, don't over-task and most importantly say thank you."
"In a busy setting, it is extremely important for members of the team to communicate and help each other out. In my internship, I learned quickly that communication was important to help everything run smoothly. I know that I am effective at delegating work when needed as long as the colleague I am working with understands why I am delegating and what I am delegating."
"Working for years on an inpatient rehab unit, delegating was an important piece of our daily life and I wouldn't hesitate to do it. The members of our team had workloads that could fluctuate on a daily, and even hourly, basis. By remaining in communication throughout the day, we never hesitated to help each other out and this made our operation run as smooth as possible for our patients."
If you're leading well, you won't have just one leadership style. You'll mix and match to engage your team and meet your goals. Let the interviewer know you understand new challenges require new leadership skills, behaviors, and ways of communicating with your team. Do you monitor performance and provide feedback to your team? Do you prefer to stay out of the limelight and let team accept credit for results?
"With my style of leadership, I include the whole team in decision making and provide tools to get the job done. I know that tailoring my leadership to each individual is important as people prefer to be led in different manners."
"As a new Physical Therapist, the thing I'm most looking forward to is leading a team of PT Assistants. I am a leader that believes in leading by example and putting what I preach into practice. I know that communication is key to have a highly functioning team and my assistants will easily find that I'm approachable, understanding and fair."
"Through my career working closely and being responsible for the work of my assistants under me, I have been the type of leader that educates my staff and lets them work independently. My assistants know that I have an "open door" policy should they need to approach me and I never hesitate to give constructive feedback."
Did your anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry or physics inspire you? Did a particular professor mentor you through your journey? The interviewer about a particular person or class that empowered you to be a physical therapist.
"I knew I wanted to be a Physical Therapist when I started taking anatomy classes. I love learning something new every day about the human body and working with my patients to see it work in action."
"Entering college as an undetermined major but knowing that healthcare was a career path I wanted to pursue, my freshman year kinesiology class really piqued my interest into the career path into Physical Therapy. The mechanics of the human body were inspiring to me and helped me choose this path."
"During pursuit of my doctorate, my professor in my cardiopulmonary disorders class became a mentor to me to inspire me to work with the population that suffers from heart conditions and the importance that physical therapy plays for those patients. He knew that I had a knack for working with that patient population and he let me know that, which inspired me to specialize with that population."
Interviewers ask this question to establish how well you will fit in at the company and with the company culture. It also helps them identify your most productive environment. Most often, the company's size, the work-life balance, the leadership style, and the office structure will make up the work environment.
"The type of work setting I prefer most is one that has a good work-life balance and positive energy. I thrive on human interaction and I am a person that needs this one a day to day basis."
"As a new Physical Therapist, my perfect setting will be a team based environment where I will be able to learn and grow as a professional with the help of others. Being new to a team, I would hope to bring new life and new ideas to my colleagues while being able to soak up all of the knowledge I can from them in return."
"Having worked as a therapist in many settings, I find myself the most comfortable and most productive in a relaxed atmosphere where I am given autonomy to work with my patients. I truly appreciate a leader that has an open door policy and is open to new ideas and feedback while providing me with constructive feedback at the same time."
Your goal as a Physical Therapist is to promote the patient's ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. When you both meet these milestones together it is progress for your patient and motivation for you to keep doing what you do. Tell the interviewer about a success story with one of your patients. How did their determination and positivity motivate you to stay in the career field?
"One of the things that I love about my job is seeing the progress that my patients make. Whether it is a step taken or strength gained, the goals they surpass and progress made motivates me to continue to work in this field. It's encouraging to know that my work helps the lives of others."
"As a young man, watching my father's life get turned upside down from a fall at work was devastating to me. As his rehabilitation process enabled him to slowly regain movement in his legs and slowly start to walk again, we can enjoy a game of pickup basketball at any time when I go back home to visit. His story drove me to pursue a career in Physical Therapy and I can't wait to help patients along their own personal journeys."
"Every day, I am motivated to come to work and see my patients based solely on the fact that I am 100% committed to their recovery. Whether I am working with a patient recovering from a minor knee surgery or a lengthy hip replacement surgery, ensuring that they leave my care in the best shape possible is my greatest priority in this career."
Stamina is important while seeing your patients for treatment. Do you break up an appointment with small talk? Humor? Tell the interviewer about a particularly lengthy appointment you had and how you overcame the physical and emotional exhaustion.
"Besides a good night sleep and comfortable footwear, I find that starting a casual conversation with my clients helps the session go quickly and helps them keep their mind off of any pain they may experience during our treatment."
"During my internship, I learned from my supervising therapist that getting to know each individual patient and talking with them was vital to both the patient and to me as their therapist. For the patient, they can get to know me and trust me throughout the process. For me as the therapist, I can learn about what motivates the patient in their treatment and use that to better work with them."
"Actually, one of the things I love about being a Physical Therapist is the lone one-on-one time that I get with each individual patient. While their physician may not be able to take the time to get to know them and what makes them tick, I feel fortunate to be able to do this and I'm able to tailor my approach to each patient by getting this extra time with them."
For this question, the interviewer is looking to assess your problem solving skills and your people skills. Be sure to think of a situation where you took on a challenge, used critical thinking and got a great result out of the situation. The interviewer will be looking for you to learn something from the situation moving forward as well.
"The most difficult problem I faced recently was working with my schedule to get two walk-in appointments in between scheduled patients. I made a point to explain to the walk-ins that I would do my best to get them in but they may have to wait a bit. The fact that I was up front with the possibility that they could wait made them understand why they had to wait a bit longer than normal. After communicating with my team, another therapist was able to help out with one of my regularly scheduled appointments and we made the situation work."
"During my internship, I was given a lot of freedom to work with patients without my supervising therapist present. I had a patient that was rehabbing a sports injury to their knee who had recently been in a car accident. During the accident, the patient had felt some neck pain but had not had it treated. Once the patient had consulted me regarding the neck pain, I was unsure how to handle the situation moving forward. I explained to the patient that I wanted to get the expertise of my superior and they were very understanding. After speaking with my supervising therapist, we made the recommendation for the patient to see their primary care doctor for the neck pain. In situation like this as a new Physical Therapist, I won't hesitate to seek the advice from my colleagues."
"I recently had a patient I was working with that suffered from a mental illness on top of their physical injury. After my first session with the new patient, I realized that they would be more demanding of one on one time when in our office rehabbing. Knowing that at most times I am working with multiple patients, I spoke with my manager about the demand for time that this particular patient would have. Being a patient centered therapist and clinic, we made the decision to set aside separate one on one scheduling time between the patient and myself."
The interviewer wants to hear how you assist your patients with their physical therapy needs. The first thing you need to tell the interviewer is that you determine the patient's learning style. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, tell the interviewer that you take advantage of technology when appropriate. You keep family members in the loop and occasionally check in with patients to ensure that they understand your information.
"Fist I evaluate how my patient learns best: verbally, visually or both. Once I have identified how to best educate my patients I encourage a question and answer session so they leave with all of their questions answererd."
"Like myself, I think most patients learn best by doing so I openly take a hands on approach to educating my patients on the therapy they receive. If I was teaching a patient how to do standing quadricep stretches, I would first demonstrate to them by doing it as well as demonstrating different balance techniques. Then, I would request that they try it. "
"Over my career, I've learned that education to patients is best delivered by helping them understand the reason why they are doing something. Without being too technical, I explain the physiology in layman's terms while stressing the importance of each step in the process. I've found that as long as a patient understands why they are asked to do something, they become much more receptive to it."
Anterior muscle strains are common to see in your line of work. Tell the interviewer how often you see these types of injuries and the treatment you give to help the client get stronger and repair their body. Tell the interviewer that you may have an elderly patient sit in a chair while a more capable patient lies on the floor.
"Because the tibialis anterior facilitates ankle flexion, I would have my client press their foot through the opposite range of motion to stretch the muscle, pull their foot up as far as they will allow, hold the end position for a second or two, and then slowly relax back to the starting position. I would assist with this exercise for 10 to 15 repetitions or until their anterior tibialis muscle tires and they can no longer flex their ankle."
"During my internship, I worked with a runner that had a major strain to this muscle. We worked with her on two routines to strengthen the muscle back to running strength. The first exercise was toe raises while leaning against a wall. The second exercise was heel walks. After a brief training session on the two exercises, they ended up working perfectly for the patient to help get her back up and running in no time."
"Having worked this injury before, my first line of action is to completely rule out a stress fracture versus a tear or strain of the muscle. In hoping that an x-ray was completed by a physician, I can easily rule that out. My most successful rehabilitation patients with an injury to this muscle have included basic exercises like toe raises and heel walks. I have also highly recommended knee high compression socks to patients that have had chronic issues with great results."
Although you don't prescribe medication, you do have the opportunity to review your patient's medication with them. Tell the interviewer how you review medication to assure the patient understands why they are taking it and how to take it.
"I encourage my patients to bring their medications to the appointment. We review what each is for and how they are to take it. If I'm unable to answer their questions, I get the answers from their pharmacist or refer them back to their physican."
"Through my schooling and training to become a Physical Therapist, I learned the importance of understanding both the prescribed and over-the-counter medications that my patients are taking and the relation that they play in their rehabilitation. I will talk to my patients about the medications that they take and the effect that they could potentially have on their rehab process."
"As a patients Physical Therapist, it is important for me to know and understand the medications that a patient takes. I review medical records of my patients and also ask each patient if they are taking anything additionally for pain or discomfort. If a patient has questions or concerns, I don't hesitate to refer them back to their pharmacist."
This question is similar to 'tell me about yourself.' This question will give you the opportunity to tell the interviewer more about why you chose to be a physical therapist. Did you decide to help people because it personally affected you as a child? Did a family member benefit from a physical therapist and you decided you wanted to help people as well?
"I chose physical therapy over everything else because I feel it's important to stay healthy and keep your body healthy. I've found that as a physical therapist I have the opportunity to specialize down the road if I'd like to change it up a bit."
"When I was in high school, I had a brief time where I was seeing a Physical Therapist due to a car accident I had been in where I suffered a back injury. Seeing how my therapy turned my injury around in a quick manner inspired me to want to help people in a similar predicament that I was in back then. After my schooling and internship, I am confident that I made the right career choice."
Many rehabilitation clinics/organizations have spread their wings over a large territory or provide in-home care to patients. For this question, it is important for you to have reviewed the expectations of the position prior to the interview. If travel was an expectation for the position, there should have been details in the job posting. Researching the organizations website will also tell you if they have multiple sites or make in-home visits. Be open and honest with your interviewer on your availability.
"In getting to know the organization better, I am open to providing therapy outreach to any of the clinics in the territory. Are you able to tell me how scheduling works for outreach opportunities?"
"Coming into my first position, I am willing to do whatever it takes to see patients that need my services. I don't have direct experience providing in-home care to patients, but with some job shadowing with an experienced therapist, I would be more than willing to make these types of visits if ever required."
"Throughout my career, I have performed both in-home visits and took part in outreach opportunities as well. To better serve the needs of the patient, I am willing to take part in any of the opportunities that may come."
For this question, think about a unique skill that you could bring to your potential new employer that may not be visible on your resume. Hiring managers are looking to have a complete group of physical therapists that have great general skills along with each person bringing their own unique specializations to the team.
"During my career, I have taken great interest in patient education and have recently completed a CME course on health coaching. Since doing so, I have been the go-to person in my clinic for assising with patient education. This is a role that I thrive in and would like to continue with it moving forward."
"During my pursuit of my doctorate degree, I conducted extensive research and wrote my thesis on physical therapy in the treatment of vertigo. Being personally touched by the condition, I am passionate about helping future patients with vertigo in the treatment methods that I learned."
"With my current employer, they asked if I would become a certified aquatic therapy trainer and I didn't hesitate to jump at the chance to do that. Through my training and since working with patients, aquatic therapy can play a huge role in helping with rehabilitating patients experiencing pain."
Working closely with your PT Assistants is an important part of your job. Your interviewer will be looking to assess how you effectively communicate and work as a team with your assistants. They also will try and assess how you manage your assistants and the work that they perform. Talk about great working relationships you've had with your assistants and possibly talk about a coaching situation you had to do with one of your assistants.
"With my current employer, I work one on one with a specific assistant throughout my workday. When our team switched to a one on one model, my assistant and I had a learning curve to be able to work effectively from each other. Being his direct leader, we held regular meetings to discuss our workflow as we moved forward together and this helped significantly. Now, we work as a cohesive team for each of the patients that we work with on a daily basis."
"As a new graduate, I was fortunate enough to experience hands on PT experience during my internship. Here, I was able to work with a number of PT assistants that spanned a wide range of experience levels. I was able to see the wide range of duties that PT assistants perform and was amazed at how much work they do to assist rehabilitating patients. I know that moving into my first job that I will be able to work well with my assistants to foster a great team atmosphere."
"In my current position, I work with a variety of assistants as most are employed on a part time basis. I have also worked in a clinic on a one on one basis with an assistant. In my current role, it is important for me to work closely with my assistants in educating them on my procedures and expectations for us to have a great working relationship. I keep the lines of communication open and meet regularly one on one with them. Their importance in the treatment of our patients is critical."
As a Physical Therapist, the patients that are referred to you can come from many different physicians. Miscommunications on patients can happen and the interview is looking to see how you handled a particular miscommunication between yourself and a physician. In your answer, make sure to point out the importance communication plays in the overall well-being of the patient and that you are not hesitant to follow-up on communication.
"In my current organization, I receive patient referrals from many physicians on patients that need PT on their knees. Without having direct access to the patients medical records through their physician, my administrative staff are great about obtaining records in a timely manner. Recently, I had a new patient come in that we hadn't received medical records for. Rather than relying solely on what the patient told me, I made a quick phone call over to the physicians office to have the records quickly faxed over. After verifying the release form was signed on their end, I had the medical record within ten minutes. I fully realize that since some patients don't fully understand their medical history so the call to expedite the process was vital."
"While I haven't experienced this directly in patient care while interning as a Physical Therapist, I know that we work in a world where communication is extremely important. If I every learned that there was a miscommunication on a patient, I would do my best to get to the root of miscommunication to ensure that it doesn't happen again. If needed, I would talk with my manager as well to hopefully prevent it from happening again."
"For some of the sports related patients that I treat, a fast turnaround time is often requested from the patient and the referring physician. Based on a simple clerical error, the patient became frustrated with me upon my initial consultation with them because I began working with the wrong shoulder. Based on the records I received, the left shoulder was the one that was injured. According to the patient, it was the right shoulder that needed rehabilitation. In following protocol, I contacted the referring physicians office right away to see if and where an error occurred. Within minutes, the referring physician called our office back and said that the record he input into their system was incorrect. Within a short period of time, I had the correct records in hand to treat the patient and it was because I was willing to reach out to the referring physician."
A career as a Physical Therapist can bring stress to your life in many different ways. For this question, it is okay to be open and honest about the parts of the job that cause you stress. The interviewer will be looking to gain insight on what causes you stress and how you handle those situations. If you've found a particular part of the job to be stressful but you've made personal strides to overcome the stress, make sure to let the interviewer know.
"Throughout my career, I've taken personal pride in the progress of my patients and I've found myself most stressed when a particular patient is rehabbing according to my plan. Over time, I've learned to analyze the progress of each patient individually and take into account personal pieces from each patient that may be impeding on their progress."
"As a new Physical Therapist, I may feel stressed at times when the patient schedule is full. Throughout college, I learned great techniques to help manage my time when my schedule if full and I see myself being able to utilize these same techniques with my patient load."
"The biggest stress that I face in my current position is dealing with the insurance coverage end of things for each individual person. With health plans having such a wide variety of coverages for each individual patient, it is important for me to know what their insurance will cover because most patients don't understand their own coverage. I have spent a lot of time reading and speaking with the insurance companies to get a better understanding of how they work to help alleviate this stress."
As a physical therapist, your success with a patient relies on their motivation throughout the rehabilitation process. Outside of your sessions with them, what the patient does can greatly effect their progress in the rehab process. For this question, talk about the importance of having a motivated patients and talk about some strategies you utilize to help motivate them.
"To help keep my patients motivated through their rehab process, I've found it extremely helpful to set achievable goals for each patient. As the patient hits each goal and we celebrate it together, I find that they're even more driven to hit the next goal prior to the timeline that I set for them."
"As a new Physical Therapist, the number one tool that I will utilize with my patients to help motivate them is to build a trusting relationship with them. By listening to what is important to the patient and getting to know them better, the bond that we build will enable them to take my therapy with them to heart."
"Throughout my career as a Physical Therapist, I have taken great pride in my ability to stay positive with each and every patient and I know that this helps motivate them. I have worked with some patients that have long, hard roads to recovery. By being a positive light for them and sharing success stories of other patients, I can help them stay the course through their rehab process."
Working with patients that are rehabilitating sever injuries, it is very important to include any family members or caregivers in the rehabilitation process. The interview will be looking for specific examples where you involved the family of a patient and how you effectively communicated with them throughout the process.
"Working as a PT in a hospital setting, I've been able to work with many patients who were on extended stays for spinal cord injuries. For one young man with a family, I invited his wife to our inpatient therapy sessions while he was hospitalized. While with me, she was able to see the types of exercises I was utilizing and learning why each was important in her husband's rehab process. I stressed to her how important these things would be once he returned home in a few weeks to continue his progress. As I was able to follow up with outpatient sessions down the road, his progress made it clear that the spouse was working with the patient at home which brought a smile to my face."
"In knowing that the rehabilitation process for any patient involves their life outside of our clinic, I wouldn't hesitate to involve any caretakers or family members in a patient members rehab process. Educating the family members on the importance of the rehabilitation process is vital to any patient."
"Having specialized on workers compensation cases for a long time, my time with patients can often be very limited so it is important for me to involve family members in the rehabilitation process. For spouses of injured workers, they want their loved one to be able to return to work in a healthy and happy manner and involving them in the educational process is vital. I've become particularly skilled in spotting the patient that wants to milk out the rehab process to stay off of work and for one particular person, involving the spouse in the process helped make him realize that rehabbing and returning to work was the most imp"ortant thing for his family."
During the career of any even great therapist, they may have experienced a time where a patient requested another therapist to work with them. The reasons for why the patient did so are important to find out. The interviewer is looking to see how you would handle this situation and how you would go about finding out why the change was requested. Learning from a situation like this is of critical importance. If it has happened to you in your career, don't hesitate to talk about a specific situation rather than a hypothetical situation.
"Fortunately, I've never had a patient request this at this point of my career. If it were to happen, I would first review all of my interactions with the patient to see if there was anything I could see that may have sent the patient to another therapist. If not, I wouldn't hesitate to talk to the source from who I found out the patient was leaving. If it was the patient directly, I would ask for their reason why they are leaving. If it was from my manager, I would if they knew the reasons why. This would be a great learning situation that I could use for future patient interactions."
"Having never been in this situation, I would want to know why the patient had requested another therapist and use that as a learning situation. If the reason was due to any interactions that I had with the patient, I would want to know. If it was for personal reasons from the patient, I have pretty thick skin and would be able to handle the news with ease."
"In my current position, my manager informed me that a patient I had been working with for a couple of months on a knee injury had requested another therapist in the clinic and my manager had granted the request. In talking to my manager, the patient had requested another therapist due to the fact that I had not granted her permission to rejoin her summer golf league that she participated due to the possibility of her impeding her progress in the healing process. To appease the patient, my manager granted her request to the patient but also let the patient know that the new therapist would be following the same protocol as I had in her treatment."
When you are required to complete routine tasks and procedures, you will need to be able to organize yourself. Tell the interviewer what tools you use to keep yourself organized. Do you use a calendar to keep yourself on track? Do you keep a to-do list? Do you spend time each morning planning out your day? Do you take notes during meetings? Share your favorite tools and tricks for staying organized!
"I stay organized by using my organizer and prioritizing throughout the day. During my career, many great technological advances have occurred. Having always taken notes by hand and keeping a written to do list has evolved into me using an iPad to help keep my organized each day and week."
"I am a meticulous planner by nature so I keep close tabs on all of my patients that are scheduled by 15 minute blocks of time. By doing this, I am able to build in administrative time and also time for me to unwind in the midst of a busy day."
"As an experienced Physical Therapist in a very busy setting, our schedulers are my first line of defense to help keep me organized through the work days. I am in consistent communication with them on my availability for the coming weeks and my patient schedule is always coordinated well. For myself, I utilize my email calendar to schedule any tasks outside of patient care like the committees that I sit on with my employer."
A tough patient might be someone who was angry or had a bad attitude. It could also be someone who had an impairment that made it difficult for you to communicate with them. In your example, focus on how you handled the situation, rather than the issue that made it difficult.
"I had a patient last week with a hearing impairment. I didn't have a lot of experience with this and I didn't know sign language. We figured out a solution together. I wrote him a message asking if we could communicate in writing, and we ended up writing messages back and forth. It was much easier to deal with than I expected! Sometimes you just have to get creative!"
"During my internship, I was working with a patient that clearly wasn't invested in his rehabilitation process. I became frustrated when I realized that the patient wasn't following the physicians orders to keep full weight off of his injured leg and I could see that he wasn't obeying by his lack of progress each week. I was pretty direct with the patient and talked to him about the need to be non weight bearing on his leg while outside of our time together and talked about how the healing process could be seriously impeded. By explaining the effects of his actions, the patient was able to understand the harm he was doing to himself."
"The toughest patient that I ever worked with came very early in my career and gave me great perspective on how to work with similar patients in the future. He was a large man that became very vulgar when in pain and at times right away, I feared that he may become violent. I asked a co-worker to treat the patient with me at first and we moved our treatments to a more open area of the clinic. By doing this, the patient was less prone to cuss and had a much better attitude as he knew others were watching."
Before you answer, consider the position you are applying for and how your current or past positions relate to it. The more you can connect your past experience with the job opening, the more successful you will be in answering the questions. Keep your answers focused on work and show the interviewer that you're organized and efficient.
"The first thing I do on Monday morning is to check my voicemail and email, then I prioritize my activities for the week. Each morning, I also make a to do list for the day so I am prepared along the way in knowing my schedule. I hold evening hours on Wednesdays and early morning hours on Fridays for patients that prefer to be seen during those times as well. At the end of each day, I make time for any administrative tasks that I need to catch up on as well."
"During my internship, a typical work week involved 4-6 hours of direct patient contact every day. At the end of every workday, I utilized my Outlook calendar to make a plan for the next day and worked in time for my documentation duties as well. By staying organized each day, it ensured that the following day ran as smoothly as possible."
"In my current position, I hold hours at three different locations so staying organized is key for me. I start my week at our home office and see patients on Monday and Tuesday. During my afternoon on Tuesday, I prepare for my Wednesday patients at a small clinic in another city. On Thursday, I am back in my home space and then have to utilize that afternoon to plan for traveling to see patients on Friday. By planning out each day the day prior, I am able to alleviate as many potential problems as possible for the next day."
Are you interviewing for a position that works with a population you haven't worked with before? No worries, this could be your chance to provide input with a new set of eyes. Conversely, if you have a preferred population that you prefer to work with or have expertise with, let the interviewer know.
"I'm excited to get the chance to work with children. In my past positions, I've only worked with adults. I'm excited to tap back into my internship days and work with kids again."
"My journey to become a Physical Therapist began when I was rehabbing a sports injury in high school. I'm most looking forward to working with athletes and other patients on orthopedic related rehabilitation issues."
"My favorite population that I have had the chance to work with are geriatric patients. In watching my mother receive great care from her Physical Therapist while battling Alzheimer's Disease and Osteoporosis, I want to be able to provide that same great care to a generation that much deserves it."
As a Physical Therapist, it's important to 'practice what you preach.' Promoting a healthy lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise will only go so far if you aren't in shape yourself. Do you do yoga? Run marathons? Walk your dog each night? Do you stay away from sugar and starches? Are you a vegetarian? Tell the interviewer how you stay healthy and how you encourage your patients to do the same.
"I find myself running, exercising and dancing alongside my patients. I love to be apart of my treatment with my patients. It motivates them, helps the time go by and keeps me in shape as well."
"Part of my motivation to become a Physical Therapist was my lifelong desire to stay physically fit myself. Outside of work, I am a dedicated long distance runner that participates in a couple of marathons each year. I also actively play volleyball as well."
"As a career Physical Therapist, I've been very motivated to keep myself in shape and healthy to set a great example for my patients. I keep myself and my family on a pretty strict diet while not being overly strict. Yes, I still indulge in a treat once in a while. I also remain physically active by swimming laps three days a week at the YMCA and walking nine holes on the golf course a few times a week as well."
What sets your customer service skills above the rest? How do you provide the best care to your patients? Tell the interviewer about a time that you provided excellent patient care. Were your efforts noticed by your boss? Did the patient submit a patient comment card to give kudos to you? End your story with a big impact so the interviewer won't be able to say no to you and your customer service skills.
"I was working with a patient recently that was experiencing some major spinal pain during her rehab process. Even she was on pain medication, there were times that her sessions with me were becoming painful. Looking to reassess her plan, we decided to limit her movements that were causing pain for the time being and this made her time in our clinic better for her. I recommended other exercises she could perform at home to build strength and she really appreciated the extra effort I took with her."
"During my internship, I was working with my supervising therapist on a patient rehabbing an ACL tear in his knee. The patient was extremely overweight and was unable to utilize one of the pieces of exercise equipment that our space had. To help safely modify his exercise, I brought in a mat that he could use with some resistance bands while laying on his back."
"As a Physical Therapist that prides herself on providing customized care to my patients, I can think of many great examples here. I recently was working with an elderly gentleman that was coming off of a double knee replacement. Knowing how hard his process would be for him physically, I asked if he would be willing to try out aquatic therapy for the first few weeks in our new aquatic therapy center. He agreed that it may be best and he loved it right from the start. His process is now running very smoothly."
This question is being asked of you to see how strong your administrative skills are as a Physical Therapist. Tell the interviewer about a patient plan you worked on recently that included a general statement of interventions being used, the duration and frequency of services required to reach each goal and the anticipated discharge date.
"A patient plan that I developed just yesterday included exercises to keep a patient mobile after a recent ACL repair. Knowing that the patient was younger in age and very physically fit, I was able to plan a fairly aggressive approach to his plan and the patient was completely on-board with the plan as well in our review."
"Having only worked with my supervising therapist during my internship, I learned the important factors to weigh when creating individualized plans for each patient. Through an initial assessment and a review of the patients medical record, I'll be able to factor in all of the correct pieces to make a detailed plan of care for each patient with timelines. I fully trust in my abilities to do this."
"Recently, I was working with a geriatric patient coming off of hip replacement surgery. Upon my review of the patients records and after my initial consultation with the patient, I realized that I would need to take a slower approach to the rehab plan due to the patients heart history. Even though most of the exercises involved in hip replacement therapy are low risk, I wanted to ensure that the patient was able to handle everything from a cardio perspective."
This is a question where your interview will be looking for a personal touch you have received from your career as a Physical Therapist. It will be important to take the emotion out of this answer. Such a personal question may prompt you to give an inappropriate and personal answer. Keep this work-related and you'll be good to go.
"I had the opportunity to work with a Veteran that had been hurt in combat. Not only did I enjoy our time spent rehabilitating but I enjoyed his stories and time together and gained a new appreciation for those that put their lives on the line for our freedom."
"During my years pursuing my doctorate, I became close friends with a non-traditional student in my program that was coming off of many years volunteering worldwide with Project HOPE. Seeing a person that dedicated time in their life to help those in need in other parts of the world helped me gain a new perspective on the true importance of things in life."
"Early in my career and working in a small town, I had the opportunity to work with a patient who grew up with my father. My father had recently passed away when I met his friend and during out time in therapy together, we shared many great stories about my father and I learned some great things that I didn't know about his life growing up. This interaction gave me a great perspective that I could learn and grow from every patient that I work with."
As a Physical Therapist, you have to adjust your style of therapy quite often. Working with older patients require a softer approach than a man in his 30's in good health. Tell the interviewer about a time you successfully rehabilitated an older patient. What steps did you take and how did you adjust your regular style of treatment?
"Last week I started working with a patient that is recovering from a hip replacement. Treatment may be running slower than some but we are still making progress. I have found with this patient, and with other geriatric patients, that taking a slower approach and talking through each step of the rehabilitation process is important to the patients success."
"Through my training and internship as a Physical Therapist, I had the chance to work with a few older patients that were rehabbing from injuries. As a young therapist, I found it very helpful to talk to the patients to get to know them better to help build a trusting bond between us. Once the patients felt comfortable with me, they were able to see that the care I provided to them was worth while in their rehab process."
"Through my years of being a Physical Therapist, I have grown to really enjoy working with older patients. I have found that they require a friendly approach where I can help them relate to me and get to know me better to help build trust between us. One particular gentleman was very hesitant to open up to me and was very bitter when we began rehabbing together. Over time, with my careful and open approach to him, he really opened up to me and became very receptive to the therapy he was receiving. This surely helped enable a full recovery on his end."
In the continuously changing medical field, staying educated and up to date in the field of Physical Therapy is important. Talk to the interviewer about any groups or organizations that you are a part of in the field. If you've attended any seminars or training in the field, be sure to point that out as well.
"I am an active member of the APTA and subscribe to the Physical Therapy Journal. I attend several conferences per year that the APTA puts on and am greatly looking forward to the upcoming NEXT APTA Conference in June."
"As a new Physical Therapist, I know that remaining educated in the field is extremely important. With changes in processes and new technologies, the field of Physical Therapy is continuously changing and I want to stay on the forefront of changes to be the best therapist that I can be."
"I pride myself on being a life-long learner and continuing education credits have always been something that I cherish in our field. Recently, I attended a course on treating concussions as a Physical Therapist and my was opened to many new therapy techniques for patients that have suffered major concussions. Without continuing education, our field wouldn't have been able to evolve the way it has and that would be very unfortunate for the patients that need us."
As a Physical Therapist you consult with patients to learn about their physical condition and symptoms, develop a treatment plans, teach patients how to properly use exercise techniques, provide stimulation or massage, use equipment and devices to assist patients, maintain patients records, keeping track of goals and progress and advise patient and family about in-home treatment options and exercises. You work with diverse patients in many settings, from hospitals and outpatient clinics to schools and homes.
A blend of scientific know-how and people skills are just a few skills needed to be a successful Physical Therapist. You will need to be able measure, calculate, reason and analyze data. As a Physical Therapists, you spend most of your time working with patients, so strong communication skills are vital. You must be able to understand patients and their concerns while taking client histories. You also have the ability to instruct patients on proper exercise form and care regimens. You'll earn your bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program. Once you’ve completed your education, you’ll need to become licensed by your state. You can also earn professional certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and specialize in areas such as geriatrics, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports or women’s health.
To prepare for your interview, you'll need to convince the interviewer that you are the best Physical Therapist that he or she could ever hire. Plan on being able to talk for about 5 minutes about your background, education, experience and why you’re the best candidate for the job. The interviewer will also ask a number of behavioral questions to evaluate your people skills and your bedside manner since your job is to work with patients every day.