How to Dress as a PTA? The modern American healthcare sector has seen a dramatic growth in the use of physical therapy to treat a variety of conditions.
From major hospitals to outpatient clinics and small private practices, the need for qualified physical therapists and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) is greater than ever before.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 2012 there were over 71,000 employed PTAs in the United States. Furthermore, this number is expected to increase by at least 41 percent by 2022 which will result in over 100,000 job openings for PTAs in America. When this is coupled with attrition among already-employed PTAs due to retirement and other causes, it is apparent that newly licensed PTAs will continue to enjoy excellent job opportunities in this field.
Types of Dress for PTAs
Because PTAs work in a wide range of settings, the type of uniform any given PTA will wear may vary dramatically. For this reason, PTAs who are concerned about any uniform code should speak with their potential employer regarding the employer’s dress code policies. However, there are a number of common trends in this industry regarding proper attire.
Practical Dress Requirements for PTAs
PTAs help their patients carry out the physical therapy that has been prescribed by a physical therapist or other medical professional. For this reason, the PTA will be physically active during the course of his or her day.
Clothing should be designed to permit the greatest possible freedom of movement on the part of the PTA. In addition, most PTAs remain on their feet for much of the workday. For this reason, the PTA should only choose shoes that are comfortable and durable. Heels and other types of awkward footwear should never be worn. In addition, open topped sandals should be avoided due to the potential for injury should a patient accidentally step on the PTA’s feet.
Many PTAs work with patients who are suffering from a variety of diseases and injuries. For this reason, easily washable clothing should be chosen. This is especially true when working with patients who are incontinent or prone to vomiting. Finally, depending on the region’s climate, the PTA should consider choosing the type of clothing that will be comfortable during the working day.
Clothing With Logos or Art
A PTA should always be aware that he or she will be working with a wide variety of patients. Even if the employer has no explicit dress code, the PTA should avoid wearing shirts or other articles of clothing with logos or art that could be offensive to some individuals.
This would include items that disparage specific ethnic or religious groups, political statements or artwork that may be seen as distasteful to some individuals. In many cases, the PTA’s employer will specifically forbid such clothing in order to ensure that the PTA presents a professional image inside the workplace.
PTAs are required to maintain their hair in a neat and attractive condition in order to properly represent their employer. In addition, some equipment that is used by PTAs can pose a safety risk around long hair. For this reason, most PTAs will be expected to wear their hair in a style that does not interfere with their duties. An employer may have further conditions, based on the impression he or she wishes the establishments employees to make.
Many establishments mandate a certain type of uniform on the part of the PTA. These uniforms can range from simple surgical scrubs to company provided uniforms that include the company’s logo and other identifying material. The uniform will also be designed to ensure that the PTA is adequately protected during his or her duties.
Personally Purchased or Provided Uniforms
Depending on the employer, the PTA may be required to either purchase his or her uniform directly from a uniform supplier or have it supplied by the employer. In many cases, the employer will deduct the cost of the uniform from the PTA’s salary. The employer may retain ownership of the uniform it provides to the PTA. If the PTA changes employment, he or she may be required to return the uniform to the employer or compensate the employer for the cost of the uniform.
Most PTAs who work in hospitals wear traditional surgical scrubs or nursing uniforms. These clothes are designed to be easily cleaned and disinfected after the PTA’s shift. This can be especially important if the PTA is working with patients who are suffering from infectious diseases.
In addition, most hospitals require that the PTA have a hospital ID badge in a clearly visible place. In some cases, this badge may be worn around the PTA’s neck on a lanyard. However, many types of PTA uniforms include a badge holder in order to reduce the danger of the badge becoming entangled in other objects or lost.
For those PTAs working in a doctor’s office or other small setting, casual business attire may be acceptable. This depends on the types of services the facility offers and the preference of the PTA’s supervising physician or physical therapist. In addition, the PTA’s duties may include working in an office setting where business attire would be more appropriate than a specialized medical uniform.
In Home Care
In home care is a type of physical therapy that is provided at the patient’s home. This type of care is primarily used to assist those individuals who are unable to travel to a medical clinic or rehabilitation center in order to receive their physical therapy.
PTAs who are working as in home care specialists must wear clothing that is appropriate for a wide range of conditions. Hot or humid climates will often demand a different type of clothing than cool climates will.
Ultimately, PTAs wear a wide range of clothing that will be influenced by their position’s specific duties and and work environment. However, by ensuring that they comply with their employer’s dress code, PTAs can be assured that their appearance will promote confidence in their professional ability and personal qualifications alike.