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  • From PT in Motion Magazine: Making the Switch From Clinician to Manager

    It's no secret that many of the skills that make someone a good physical therapist (PT)—empathy, communication, being goal-oriented—also lend themselves to a management role. The question is, would a management role right for you?

    In this month’s issue of PT in Motion magazine, author Michele Wojciechowski reports on the experiences of several PTs who moved from frontline clinician to manager. They describe why they made the switch, skills a prospective manager may need to develop, and what makes an administrative role rewarding.

    "In my role, I need to understand where people are coming from, then help them problem-solve and find solutions," says COL Deydre S. Teyhen, PT, DPT, PhD. "PTs do that every day with their patients. They do it when they create a plan of care. Some of that can be complicated—involving the family, the patient's specific needs, time commitments, and other factors. You're often dealing with these same variables when you're in the administrative realm."

    Physical therapist clinicians may have an edge over administrators with a nonclinical background. "PTs in general are highly qualified for managerial roles because we tend to be type-A personalities, and we're really organized," says LTC Scott Gregg, PT, MHA, MBA. "We're quantitatively focused because we're so used to writing goals for all of our patients. As a result, we're good at setting goals for ourselves," he says. "When we're talking with providers, we can speak their language—whereas many administrators who don't have a clinical background get lost in these discussions."

    The article also suggests ways for PTs to build the skills or knowledge they don’t have on the business side.

    Not everyone would be happy in a managerial role, so it’s important to understand your strengths and what you value in your job. "You need to spend enough time in the field to know what your passion is," Gregg says. "If it's taking care of patients, then keep doing that. But if your passion is more on the administrative side, more having to do with numbers, then you should look at going in that direction."

    "PTs in Management Roles: How to Make the Journey" is featured in the September issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them one of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.

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