Physiotherapist Program Trains PTA & OTA Students on Workplace Duties

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    Feb 19, 2014
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Physiotherapist Program Trains PTA & OTA Students on Workplace Duties Photo by Natalie Carrigan

Old age catches up to us, diseases and illnesses impairs our abilities, and accidents cause temporary or permanent damage. The healing process is hard and some people need to live through the pain every day for the rest of their lives. But there are ways to mitigate the pain and make some things better through therapy. Patients in acute care and long-term care facilities can receive occupational therapy and physiotherapy from trained professionals.

Centennial College offers a physiotherapist program, where students will study for two years to gain the skills to assist registered Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists in supporting people with impaired abilities. The Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant (OTA & PTA) program contains courses that will study anatomy and physiology; courses that will teach physiotherapy skills, including how to apply therapeutic modalities; courses that will require them to plan and organize programs for rehabilitation; and various communication courses. Additionally, the final year consists of several on-the-job training, where students work alongside real patients.

Professor Patricia Lee tells us that a five-week placement takes place in the third semester, while two five-week placements, a pre-grad and grad, take up most of the final semester. She says that students will perform duties like bathing and tub transfers. Since many patients lose their motor skills and have difficulty performing tasks, students will reorient them on day-to-day activities, and teach them tasks like how to dress themselves.

“We really get to work with the patients. Patient handling: moving them while they’re in bed, and moving their arms and legs past a range of motions. We get to teach them exercise classes and strengthening exercises. It’s really fun. We’re taking what we’re learning in lab and applying it out in the field,” says Fiona, an OTA & PTA student.

Centennial students learn relevant knowledge and skills that can be translated into the workplace. Prior to entering placements, they must complete a CPR course, Standard First Aid course, and a police background check. Employing organizations seek out credentials and skills that Centennial provides. Below are some common job qualifications for OTA and PTA professionals:

• A college diploma from an accredited Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist Assistant program
• Knowledge of anatomy and physiology regarding to a rehabilitation setting
• Ability to plan exercise classes and group activities
• Demonstrated excellent communication skills and good relationship working with others
• Ability to apply physiotherapeutic modalities
• Strong mentality and body to handle the physical and mental demands of the job
• Certified in First Aid and CPR and a police clearance

Students come out of school prepared and ready to work in their field, at hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other healthcare and community-based organizations. The occupational therapy program at Centennial College allows students to hone their physiotherapy and therapeutic skills through class practice and field placements. Many new graduates are hired directly by the employing organizations from their field placements.

Author's Profile

Jason White emphasized on the learning gained from the Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant program and listed career requirements, to connect school teachings and workplace demands. Occupational Therapy Program

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