A Day in the Life of a Physiotherapist Assistant


Aurelie Dimandja

Aurelie Dimandja2

A Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA) is an important part of the rehabilitation team. Working closely with a physiotherapist, PTAs help to carry out the patient’s treatment plans safely and effectively. Not only do PTAs help patients reach their goals, they help to educate and motivate patients each day.


There is a quote by Homer Rice that states,

“You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.”

What does a typical day of PTA look like?

We help carry out the physiotherapist’s treatment plan to instruct and assist the patient/client with exercises, stretching, and strengthening programs to increase function. We educate the patients/clients on proper ambulation using a cane or walker; we help individuals move from a seated position to a standing position, or transfer from a wheelchair to a bed. We always stay in constant communication with the physiotherapist, who is then able to continue with the whole caseload, and manage the higher acuity patients, assess new patients and plan for discharges.

Motivating patients

For me, motivation is as simple as getting in the habit of getting up in the morning and showing up at physio. Being a PTA means that I help someone to gain self-motivation. I hope that each time I meet with a patient I am empowering them to reach their goals, and with the passing of each milestone, they become more self-motivated to meet their next goal. If everything that I have listed is a reason to gain self-motivation, then that is just a glimpse of what a day in the life of a physiotherapist assistant resembles.

To compliment my first quote, I’ll follow-up with a quote from Jim Ryun, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”. Despite the pain clients feel from attending physiotherapy, remember that the physiotherapist and physiotherapist assistant team help inspire patients to create the habit in order to achieve maximum potential in their recovery!

About the National Physiotherapist Assistant Assembly

To reach this goal of healthier Canadians, the National Physiotherapist Assistant Assembly (NPAA), a component of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, offers membership to physiotherapist assistants (PTAs) and student physiotherapist assistants across Canada. The NPAA represents the unique interests and needs of their members, and is actively engaged in the growth and advancement of their roles in the physiotherapy profession. PTAs benefit from the networking, professional development and an ability to have a direct voice in shaping the future of physiotherapist assistants Canada. Both PTs and PTAs will be enhancing their knowledge and building their skills during the upcoming Congress in Edmonton in June!

Learn more about the National Physiotherapist Assistant Assembly