Profile of a PT-A in West Virginia’s CAMC Health System

The Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Health System profiled one of its physical therapist assistants in a video interview. This PT-A, Wayne Damron, had some interesting things to say about working as a physical therapist assistant within the CAMC Health System in a hospital setting.

At the beginning of the interview Damron explains how he became interested in physical therapy through an ironic twist of fate. In high school he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee.

His experience with physical therapy gave him an appreciation that being around knowledgeable physical therapists can make a big difference. He was able to recover from his ACL tear without surgery thanks entirely to physical therapy and he hasn’t had a knee problem since.

When describing what he enjoys most as a PT-A, Damron references what many will agree with. He’s fondest of watching his patients make progress as they recover from their injuries, especially when those injuries are debilitating to the point of reducing independence.

As far as the aspects of the job he thinks are most challenging, Damron says he takes finding physical therapies that work best for each individual very seriously. Establishing a routine that has the right strategies and techniques is always based on an individual person’s own strengths and weaknesses, and it can be challenging to find the right balance.

As a PT-A, Damron starts each day meeting with his supervising physical therapist to ensure he is working within an established plan of care that is right for each patient. While there is a wide range of possible physical therapist assistant duties, Damron says he focuses on exercises, functional mobility, and balance activities.

At the end of the interview Damron touches on an important point many PT-As will consider, and that is how working in this profession can open up door to more advanced careers.

He mentions the obvious progression for PT-As using their experience as a reference when they apply to physical therapy education programs. He also notes that today many physician assistant education programs look favorably on applicants who have a background in physical therapy because this demonstrates an advanced practical and theoretical knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.