Healthcare is one of the most prominent needs of people globally. There are various patient care and treatments available today, two of which are physical therapy and nursing. Therapies and nursing have become widely known cures for both prolonged and temporary illnesses. They treat a patient irrespective of age. From children to old age adults, they have embraced the knowledge of medicine and incorporated it with natural ways. 

The therapy technique is being adopted in many health-related areas, including surgical, sports and fitness, rehab, home, and more. Therapy is available both privately and constitutionally. Physical therapists and nurses can be found in various healthcare facilities like rehab centers, old age nursing homes, nursing homes, fitness schools, gyms, outpatient offices, research centers, and many more. 


In the USA, there was a study that showed that between 2016 and 2026, the growth of nurses is going to fall within the range of 13% to 16%. While the growth of physical therapists will rise by 18% to 23%. Moreover, there has been a distinguishing study on how physical therapy has become a necessity in nursing homes

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is rehabilitative care in the medical field. It focuses on reducing the effects of surgery, illness, injury, or accident. It is otherwise known as “physiotherapy” in some countries.

Nursing Vs Physical Therapy
Nursing Vs Physical Therapy

The main goals of physical therapy:

  • Decrease pain and troubling ache
  • Preventing any condition to get worse
  • Restoring one’s health
  • Improving strength, range of motion, and movement
  • Providing education on body’s functionality and overall fitness

Various Types Of Physical Therapy

Geriatric physical therapy: Helps older patients suffering from mobility and physical functionality due to some conditions. These conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, joint or hip replacement, arthritis, balance disorders, incontinence, and osteoporosis. This type of therapy focuses on restoring mobility, increasing the physical fitness level, and reducing pain. 

Wound care therapy: It ensures the flow of adequate amounts of blood and oxygen circulating near the healing wound. This wound care therapy consists of manual care, wound care, electric stimulation, and compression therapy.

Orthopedic physical therapy: This is the most common type of therapy that treats musculoskeletal injuries. Patients who have gained injury in their muscles, bones, fascias, tendons, or ligaments are advised to go through the same. It is most suitable for conditions like sprains, fractures, recovery or rehabilitation from orthopedic surgery, bursitis, tendonitis, and chronic medical problems. The treatment care includes manual therapy, mobility training, joint mobilization, strength training, and other modalities.

Pediatric physical therapy: This therapy aims at diagnosing, treating, and managing the conditions that happen to affect infants, children, and adolescents. The conditions could be spina bifida, developmental delays, musculoskeletal system defects, and cerebral palsy. 

Pelvic floor rehabilitation: It helps in treating urinary or fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, and urinary urgency in both males and females. 

Neurological physical therapy: It helps people suffering from neurological conditions and disorders like Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, stroke, and spinal cord injury. Increasing limb responsiveness, revival from paralysis, and improvement in muscle strength are noticed after proper care.

Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation: This therapy focuses on giving relief to people affected by cardiopulmonary conditions or any underlying injury from surgical procedures – the treatment results in increasing stamina and endurance. 

Vestibular therapy: It treats problems with the body’s balance after being affected by an inner ear condition. Manual techniques and exercises are involved in helping a patient regain coordination and balance. 

Decongestive therapy: Patients with fluid accumulation conditions like lymphedema undergo this therapy to drain the excess fluid. 

When Should One Go For Physical Therapy?

Below are the recommended reasons by experts when someone should opt for PT to its proper use-

  • Pain management
  • Improving mobility after an injury
  • Joint conditions
  • To recover from a surgery or a medical procedure
  • Limb conditions like trigger fingers and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Heart conditions like a heart attack or failure
  • Pulmonary conditions like cystic fibrosis and COPD
  • Renal conditions
  • Neurological rehabilitation for conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s

Benefits You Receive From Physical Therapy:

  • Chances of surgical procedure minimize
  • Movement and mobility of joints and muscles improves
  • Pain management improves with decreasing dependence on opioids
  • Faster recovery from any trauma or injury
  • Prevention of fall
  • Balance is improved significantly
  • Age-related medical issues are managed
  • Speedier recovery from a stroke or paralysis

Physical Therapist- What They Do And How To Become One?

Trained professionals in physical therapy evaluate a patient’s condition and choose a line of treatment for their body’s situating abnormal physical functionality. This abnormality could be caused due to an injury, disease, or any underlying condition.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines a physical therapist as a licensed medical professional trained to diagnose a physical abnormality, restore mobility and physical function, promote physical activity and proper function, and maintain physical function. The licensed physical therapists work at numerous health facilities and also provide personal care.

You will commonly find physical therapists in chiropractic centers and rehabilitation centers. Doctors recommend physical therapists to their patients who have undergone a severe illness. They usually have one in their medical facility, but they have tons of contact to provide the patient care under a physical therapist. 

How Can A Patient Expect To Be Treated By A Physical Therapist?

When a patient visits for physical therapy, they undergo the following,

  • A physical exam and evaluation considering the health history
  • Testing procedures with an assessment of movement and flexibility, posture, and muscles and joint performance
  • Receiving a declared clinical diagnosis, prognosis, short term and long term treatment goals, and plan of care
  • Physical therapy treatment and interventions are adopted according to the findings
  • Receiving recommendations on self-management

Physical therapists also use some additional treatment procedures:

  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Light therapy in which lasers and unique lights are used
  • Ultrasound, for promoting healing and blood flow to muscles, tissues, and tendons
  • Electrical stimulation (E-stim); for improving functional capabilities and reducing pain by using topical electrodes on the skin. When anti-inflammatory medications are also used, it is called iontophoresis.
  • Phonophoresis, to deliver steroids using ultrasound. 

How Does One Become A Physical Therapist?

The professionals undergo training for many years with study areas of anatomy, physiology, biology, cellular histology, biomechanics, neuroscience, exercise physiology, behavioral sciences, endocrine system and metabolism, pharmacology, cardiovascular and pulmonary, musculoskeletal studies, and kinesiology. Nursing vs. physical therapy differs with educational requirements and their way of treatment of patients. 

They can opt for any of these specializations-

  1. Health for older people
  2. Cardiovascular and pulmonary health
  3. Clinical electrophysiology
  4. Neurology
  5. Orthopedics 
  6. Pediatrics
  7. Women’s health
  8. Sports physical therapy, etc.

What Is Nursing?

Nursing Vs Physical Therapy: Everything You Need To Know
Nursing Vs Physical Therapy: Everything You Need To Know

Nurses are known to be a savior of inpatient care. Questions might arise for nursing vs. physical therapy, but the truth is, nurses are needed everywhere. They are the support system to every therapist or a doctor from a specialization. For example, at a nursing home, both the physical therapist and nurse are needed for the cumulative healthcare of patients.

A doctor or a physical therapist diagnoses evaluates and determines the line of treatment, but a nurse stays put throughout each step and beyond it. Nursing starts when a patient arrives at the healthcare facility and ends with the patient leaving. A nurse is known to be a catalyst of a patient’s recovery. 

You will be able to find a nurse commonly in places like clinics, hospitals, schools, offices, ambulances, senior living communities, pharmacies, home healthcare settings, and more. 

Who Are Registered Nurses & How To Become One?

A nurse who has completed a nursing degree passed the NCLEX-RN examination, and fulfilled the licensing requirements is known as a registered nurse. Nurses have many duties, among which include:

  • Communicating with the doctors.
  • Checking vital signs.
  • Taking care of the patient.
  • Administering medications, and much more. 

The career growth of nursing keeps rising with increasing medical needs. Almost every medical facility is now acquiring as many nurses as possible to have balanced care and no delay with patient emergencies. 

If one wants to become a registered nurse, they need to follow three steps- choose the right nursing program, obtain a nursing degree, and become licensed. A minimum of an associate’s degree is necessary. Apart from this, a bachelor’s degree and above and an NCLEX-RN exam shall be obtained to practice nursing legally. 

There is a detailed guide on how to become a registered nurse here

What Does A Nurse Do?

Nursing is a field that asks for full attention and patience. A nurse should be able to monitor and evaluate a patient with calmness. A nurse needs to be intelligent, educated, skilled, and adaptive to the pressure of work. The responsibilities of a nurse do not stop at one specialization. It lays out its roots to all disciplines and works alongside each of them. 

Nursing Vs Physical Therapy
Nursing Vs Physical Therapy

Some of these duties include-

  • Conducting physical exams
  • Taking health history in detail
  • Listening to the patients and analyzing their needs
  • Providing counseling 
  • Providing healthcare education
  • Coordinating care with the specialists
  • Stay updated with the advancements of a patient’s treatment, medications, and healthcare options.
  • Checking vital signs
  • Drawing blood and performing other testings

Types Of Nursing Or Nurses

This profession continues to provide a prosperous career to many. The different types of nursing and nurses are:

Nurse Anesthetist: Assists in medical procedures constituting infusion of anesthesia. 

Family Nurse Practitioner: Aims at family-centered healthcare. 

Labor and Delivery Nursing: Assists with the birth of newborns.

NICU Nursing: It focuses on sick newborn babies

Neonatal Nursing: It is also for sick babies. 

Pediatric Nursing: It works for maintaining children’s routine healthcare. 

Travel Nurse: This nurse takes on short-term contracts and travels to multiple locations to provide healthcare.

Ambulatory Nursing: Specializes to assist in ambulances and handle numerous emergencies.

School Nurse: Provides education, medical support, and treatment within school premises. 

Clinical Nursing Specialization: It focuses on many specialties within an advanced setting.

Nursing Educator: Instructs, supports, and teaches other aspiring nurses. 

Where Can A Patient Find Physical Therapists And Nurses?

Physical therapists and nurses can be found according to specialty, patient assurance acceptance, and geographical location. In modern countries, insurance companies ought to have a list of these trained professionals in each area it covers. The patient receives different kinds of healthcare plans according to which they can be provided by a professional. 

Other than this, the doctor recommends the therapist or personal nurses as well. A patient can even look online for them. 

To Conclude-

To the ones asking about nursing vs. physical therapy– both are a great choice of career paths and provide their benefits. There are familiar benefits, while some differ. Not one profession lacks in its particular field. A nurse is going to take care of a patient as much as a physical therapist would.

The associations of the respective fields have come up with thorough data focused on what impact a nurse or a physical therapist puts on a patient. The roles, legislative impact, and benefits have been marked to show that nurse practitioners are equally valued as therapists in medicine and rehabilitation. 

Although, it is always wise to consider the patient’s history, current health condition, and expected course of treatment before placing a finger on nursing or physical therapy.