Top Qualities to Possess as a Physical Therapist

February 5th, 2019
By: Content Staff

Most professions have unique identifiers based on the type of people who commonly have the job. For physical therapists, it is a combination of personality traits and attributes that are needed to be a successful PT and to love the work that you do.

If you are already in the physical therapy profession or planning to start a career in it, read below to see if you possess or need to enhance these qualities.

Caring and Social.

PT’s typically work with other people, helping them overcome personal challenges and return to normal daily life. PT’s should be capable of interacting with patients of all ages and a wide range of backgrounds. Having patients feel comfortable with them and willing to share both struggles and successes with them. Caring for people will encourage them to follow your advice, return for follow-up appointments and begin to feel better and recover, the ultimate goal.


Stay involved with constant learning and industry trends throughout your career. Whether by attending conferences, being a member of APTA or reading evidence-based research, it’s critical to keep up with the state of the practice. You should also be knowledgeable about other related options because your patients will be turning to you for advice. Read the literature and be ready to answer questions about complementary services such as massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture. Bearing in mind that many of your patients have already sought out these other healthcare services.

Cool and Confident.

Often times, recovery is slow over a long period of time and this leaves patients feeling discouraged and resistant to treatment. You aim to have the patient complete therapy strongly and keep them motivated in order to do so. This requires patience, encouragement, and determination. This can be stressful not only to the patient but to the practitioner as well and can take a toll on personal life. Maintain your own mental health and cope with stress in healthy ways.


As your patient goes on their personal journey to recovery, you may share special, sincere moments with them that have them feeling exposed or embarrassed. PT’s who help alleviate nerves and demonstrate composure in difficult sessions with empathy, warmth and a sense of humor are often the more successful therapists.

Support and Positivity.

Every appointment may not be wonderful and it doesn’t have to be glorious each time but a wise PT knows how to redirect negative thoughts, focusing on the positive and continuing to work and improve the patient’s recovery process. Positive things happen when you think positive thoughts. Your patient will begin to share the same belief in themselves.

Health Conscious.

A day in the life of a physical therapist is, well, physical—demonstrating movement techniques for patients and assisting them with movements during treatment. In some instances, PT’s must have the strength to transfer patients safely and support their weight without causing injury to themselves or the patient. In order to navigate through a physically active day, PT’s should walk the walk and talk the talk to display a natural capability of living a healthy lifestyle.

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