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 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. Let’s dive in and decode Nursing Vs. Physical Therapy

The therapy technique is being adopted in many health-related areas, including surgical, sports and fitness, rehab, home, etc. In addition, 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, etc.

According to labor statistics, more than 500,000 nursing professionals will retire by 2022, creating a huge demand for new nursing professionals to take up nursing jobs and assume an advanced practice roles.

Healthcare Professionals And Registered Nurses

In the USA, a world report showed that between 2016 and 2026, the growth of nurses would fall within the range of 13% to 16%.

While the growth of physical therapists will rise by 18% to 23%, there has been a distinguishing study based on labor statistics data on how physical therapy has become a necessity in nursing homes

Nursing Vs. Physical Therapy: 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. Moreover, it is an intrinsic wing of the health care system.

Nursing Vs Physical Therapy: Health Care System And Health Care Professionals
Nursing Vs. Physical Therapy

Main goals:

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

Nursing Vs. Physical Therapy: Types

Geriatric therapy: 

It helps the aging population suffering from mobility and physical functionality due to some medical 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 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 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 treat urinary or fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, and urinary urgency in males and females.

Neurological 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 for its proper use-

  1. Pain management
  2. Improving mobility after an injury
  3. Joint conditions
  4. To recover from a surgery or a medical procedure
  5. Limb conditions like trigger fingers and carpal tunnel syndrome
  6. Heart conditions like a heart attack or failure
  7. Pulmonary conditions like cystic fibrosis and COPD
  8. Renal conditions
  9. Neurological rehabilitation for conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.

Benefits You Receive From Physical Therapy:

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

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

Health care 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 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 illnesses. 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,

  1. A physical exam and evaluation considering the health history
  2. Testing procedures with an assessment of body movement and flexibility, posture, muscles, and joint performance
  3. Receiving a declared clinical diagnosis, prognosis, short term and long term treatment goals, and plan of care
  4. Physical therapy treatment and interventions are adopted according to the findings
  5. 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) improves functional capabilities and reduces 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 require education 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 education requirements and their way of treating 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?

Nurses are known to be a savior of inpatient care.

Questions might arise about nursing vs. physical therapy, but the truth is, nurses are needed everywhere. They are the support system for 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 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 outpatient clinics, hospital settings, schools, offices, ambulances, senior living communities, pharmacies, home healthcare settings, and more. 

How To Become Registered Nurses And Their Average Salary?

Registered nurses who have completed a nursing degree, passed the NCLEX-RN examination and fulfilled the licensing requirements are nurses. Nurses have many duties, among which include:

  1. Communicating with the doctors.
  2. Checking vital signs.
  3. Taking care of the patient.
  4. 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 in emergency rooms. The average salary is also decent.

If one wants to become a registered nurse, they need to follow three steps- choose the right nursing program, obtain a nursing associate degree, and become licensed from an accredited program. A minimum of an associate degree is necessary.

A bachelor’s degree and above and an NCLEX-RN exam shall be obtained to practice nursing legally. One can also go for a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. There is a detailed guide on how to become registered nurses here.

Higher-paid professionals have taken the National Council Licensure Examination and paired it up with a master’s degree after a bachelor’s degree in nursing. There they command a higher average salary which also depends on location.

The average annual salary of registered nurses in the US ranges from about $80,010. However, according to the BLS, the annual average wage is about $120,000 in California, accounting for the highest-paid professionals.

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 work pressure. The responsibilities of a nurse do not stop at one specialization. It lays out its roots in all disciplines and works alongside them. There are night shifts because nursing is a holistic profession spread across the 24 hours of the day.

Some of these duties include-

  1. Conducting physical exams
  2. Taking health history in detail
  3. Listening to the patients and analyzing their needs
  4. Providing counseling
  5. Providing healthcare education
  6. Coordinating care with the specialists
  7. Stay updated with the advancements in a patient’s treatment, medications, and healthcare options.
  8. Checking vital signs
  9. 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 Anesthetists: 

Assists in medical procedures constituting infusion of anesthesia. 

Family Nurse Practitioners: 

It 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. 

Where Can A Patient Find Physical Therapists And Nurses?

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

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

To Conclude:- Nursing Vs. Physical therapy

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 will take care of a patient as much as a physical therapist. Around 22.6% of nurses reported having low job security, and 32.7% would go for a change if the opportunity presented itself.

The associations of the respective fields have come up with comprehensive data focused on what impact a nurse or a physical therapist puts on a patient. The roles, legislative influence, and benefits have shown 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.