Traveling physical therapists, as the name suggests, are professionals who are similar to outpatient focused physical therapists with one key difference. While outpatient physical therapists are usually limited to one area, traveling physical therapists make no such distinction. Whether it is the next city or the next state, traveling physical therapists will go wherever they are needed. While this does pose some challenges, it also comes with its benefits. Read on for a quick rundown of the major pros and cons of traveling physical therapy.
Con: Strains of Traveling
With travel being a part of the job, the logistics of it all will require a significant amount of effort. Assignments will have you go from state to state, often uprooting your life for several months to see a job through. And while the physical strains of constant travel are familiar to many, there’s another issue that traveling physical therapists will have to deal with. A study conducted by the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis reveals that the strains of constant travel raise the risk of depression, which could make individuals more prone to other mental disorders down the line. This, coupled with the physical strain of constantly moving is something that potential traveling physical therapists should consider before taking on the job.
Pro: Accommodating Underserved Areas
An article on Medical News Today lists the most common conditions that physical therapists treat, which include debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke paralysis, and vestibular dysfunction. To call these cases severe is a gross understatement, and it’s only made harder for the people who have no access to proper treatment. Indeed, Maryville University states that there is a need for healthcare practitioners in hard to reach areas, like rural and inner-city communities. This issue becomes redundant with traveling physical therapists, as they can go to wherever their services are needed. This means patients in underserved areas can receive the much-needed treatment they would otherwise have no access to.
Con: Lack of Patients
While it can certainly be helpful for people in underserved areas, finding a steady stream of physical therapy patients while constantly traveling to different locations across the country could prove to be a difficult task. And seeing as patients are the lifeblood of the physical therapy industry, it could put the traveling practitioner in a tight spot when it comes to financial security. A quick fix for this would be the PtEverywhere app that serves as an all-in-one physical therapy clinic management solution. It lets physical therapists connect with patients via a HIPAA compliant patient portal that provides convenient online and mobile scheduling, documentation (EMR), and home exercise programs (HEP). Traveling physical therapists no longer have to scour for multiple software platforms to attract, connect, motivate, and retain new patients thanks to this app.
Pro: Financial Incentives
While it may be a little more difficult to find clients as a traveling physical therapist, the job does come with a number of financial incentives. Seeing as jobs of this nature are considered more specialized, they come with higher hourly rates, bonuses, and living fees depending on how long a particular job lasts. Not to mention that traveling could land you a job in a state that pays physical therapists more for their services. Forbes notes that some states pay their physical therapists more than others, with the state of Nevada being the highest at $107,920. This is in stark contrast to the national average rate, which is at $57,652.