A Job in Focus: Physical Therapist
By John M. Williams
Editors note: PT Kevin Linde has
worked with writer John M. Williams for nearly three years.
A few years ago, my neurologist, Dr.
Suneetha Manem, told me to find a physical therapist to help me deal with my
Parkinsons disease. Browsing the Internet, I came across a PT named Kevin
Linde whose office is in Fairfax, Va.
From the start of our relationship, Linde
has been very attentive to my needs. He listens. He probes. He recommends. In
my estimation, he has excellent instincts in knowing when you have achieved all
that an exercise can help you achieve and then recommending another one.
He is the fourth physical therapist I have
seen but the only one who has focused specifically on my Parkinsons
disease. I see him twice a week for 45 minutes. He has developed a physical
therapy program that I believe has helped me deal positively with my disease.
We spoke recently about his career. Excerpts from that interview are as
Q: What did you do before you went into
A: I worked as an electrician for about five years.
Q: What motivated you to get into the PT
A: I was a competitive gymnast for about 14 years and during
that time I had a fair number of injuries. I often had physical therapy for
these injuries and was always interested in understanding the injury and the
anatomy. I also like the idea of helping others return to sports or other
activities after an injury.
Q: How long have you been a PT?
Q: Where did you get your degree in PT?
A: I studied at the University of Manitoba in Canada.
Q: What type of a degree does a PT
A: Most programs in the United States offer a doctor of physical
Q: How long does it take to become a
A: One must complete a four-year bachelors degree prior to being
accepted into a program. It takes about three years to complete the doctor of
physical therapy program.
Q: What are the challenges a PT faces?
A: The decline in reimbursement from private and government insurance is
making it difficult to provide quality health care and maintain a successful
practice. Another issue is the amount of documentation required by some payers.
This takes time away from the most important part of our job, which is patient
care. Often, documentation will have to be completed after hours.
Q: Do you have to get training annually to
continue work as a PT?
A: Different states have different requirements as
far as continuing education is concerned. Currently, I need to obtain 30 hours
of continuing education every two years.
Q: Are there areas of specialty that a PT
can specialize in?
A: Yes there are a number of specialties. A few of the
different areas include orthopedics, geriatrics, neurological, pediatric and
Q: As a PT, do you work closely with the
doctors of your patients?
A: Yes. We communicate regularly to maintain
continuity of care.
Q: Is there one injury that is more common
than others that you deal with? What is it?
A: Low back pain is the most
common condition treated. About 80% of all adults experience some form of low
back pain in their lifetime.
Q: Can you write prescriptions for your
A: No. Physical therapists cannot write prescriptions.
Q: Does patient-PT privilege or privacy
exist between you and your patients?
A: Yes. Patient confidentiality is
strictly adhered to and is strongly controlled by HIPPA regulations.
Q: How do most of your patients hear about
A: I have a few doctors that refer them to me quite often, but I think
that most of my patients are referred by previous or current patients.
Q: How busy are you?
A: Fortunately, I
am very busy. My patient contact hours are about 48-50 hours per week.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born
and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Q: How long is the average stay of your
A: The average length of time that I would see patients is about
6-8 weeks. There is a very large range as some diagnoses are very acute while
others may be quite chronic.
Q: Do you call the people you treat
Q: Thank you.
A: You are
John M. Williams coined the term assistive
technology. His website address is www.atechnews.com.