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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Career

Career Description

Diagnose and treat disorders requiring physiotherapy to provide physical, mental, and occupational rehabilitation.

What Job Titles Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Might Have

  • Attending Physiatrist
  • Residency Program Director
  • Attending Physician
  • Medical Director
  • Physiatrist

What Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Do

  • Document examination results, treatment plans, and patients' outcomes.
  • Examine patients to assess mobility, strength, communication, or cognition.
  • Assess characteristics of patients' pain such as intensity, location, or duration using standardized clinical measures.
  • Provide inpatient or outpatient medical management of neuromuscular disorders, musculoskeletal trauma, acute and chronic pain, deformity or amputation, cardiac or pulmonary disease, or other disabling conditions.
  • Monitor effectiveness of pain management interventions such as medication or spinal injections.
  • Develop comprehensive plans for immediate and long-term rehabilitation including therapeutic exercise; speech and occupational therapy; counseling; cognitive retraining; patient, family or caregiver education; or community reintegration.
  • Coordinate physical medicine and rehabilitation services with other medical activities.
  • Perform electrodiagnosis including electromyography, nerve conduction studies, or somatosensory evoked potentials of neuromuscular disorders or damage.
  • Prescribe physical therapy to relax the muscles and improve strength.
  • Consult or coordinate with other rehabilitative professionals including physical and occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, behavioral psychologists, social workers, or medical technicians.
  • Prescribe therapy services, such as electrotherapy, ultrasonography, heat or cold therapy, hydrotherapy, debridement, short-wave or microwave diathermy, and infrared or ultraviolet radiation, to enhance rehabilitation.
  • Instruct interns and residents in the diagnosis and treatment of temporary or permanent physically disabling conditions.
  • Diagnose or treat performance-related conditions such as sports injuries or repetitive motion injuries.
  • Prescribe orthotic and prosthetic applications and adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, bracing, or communication devices, to maximize patient function and self-sufficiency.
  • Conduct physical tests such as functional capacity evaluations to determine injured workers' capabilities to perform the physical demands of their jobs.

What Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Should Be Good At

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

What Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

What Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Need to Learn

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $206,920

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.