What is a Physical Therapist?

Pamela Bork - Physical Therapist(Photo: Kevin Fitzsimons - OSU)

Meet Pamela Bork, Physical Therapist

What exactly do you do?
I am a physical therapist. I help people recover from sports injuries.

Describe a typical day.
Evaluating patients and treating them, which includes giving them exercises to complete at home. Talking to doctors about the patients’ progress and when they can return to sports. Writing medical records so all of the health professionals involved the treatment of the patient can follow the patients’ progress.

What’s the coolest part of your job?
Helping patients return to their sport and being able to compete again. Educating patients about injury prevention so that they can become even better at their sport. Working at OSU I get to meet people from all over the world, and I help with the OSU marching band.

How do people react when they learn what you do?
People are always asking me about their own personal injuries or pain and how to treat their problem.

How did you become a physical therapist?
I went to college and also completed internships at sports medicine clinics. I was an athlete who became injured and received treatment from a physical therapist. I wanted to help athletes return to their sport after my experience with rehabilitation.

What disappoints you about your job?
When a patient does not put any effort into their rehabilitation process.

How has your job changed over time?
When I first started as a physical therapist, a patient who tore a knee ligament would not be able to walk for at least 6 weeks. Now 20 years later a patient can walk that same day. So athletes are now able to return to their sport in a shorter amount of time.

How have you changed over time?
I listen more to the patients because what you learn in school is different than the real world. I realize that you can learn a great deal from the people you are treating.

How will your job be different ten years from now?
I expect that the amount of time to return to a sport after an injury will be even faster due to better rehabilitation techniques and improved surgery techniques.

What are some of the most important skills and abilities needed for this job?
Listening and patience.

What information do you need to keep up in your field and where do you get it?
Physical therapists go to courses and lectures given by other health professionals working in the sports medicine field to help stay up to date on surgery and rehabilitation techniques.

What advice do you have for people who want to enter this field?
If you want to become a physical therapist look at all the different areas of the field not just sports. You can also work with children, elderly patients, patients with spinal cord injuries, heart difficulties, and facilities including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and rehabilitation clinics.

What do you wish someone had told you before you left high school that would’ve helped you with your career?
Always go for your dream, and do not sell yourself short. You can do anything that you want to do if you put your mind to it.