Article Written by Sarah Brinkman
Shortly after graduating college I began working at the front desk as a Customer Service Representative at Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Specialists, Inc., or prominently known as PTOSI. I knew I wanted to work in a physical therapy office during my gap year (or maybe years?) mainly to gain experience as I pursue a career as a Physical Therapist, and partly for my love of climate controlled office spaces. Working in an outpatient physical therapy clinic has helped refine my communication and time management skills, learn about different approaches to treatment and given me insight into the kind of clinician I want to be.
Working at the front desk requires a certain skill set. You must be able to have your attention pulled several different directions at once, but still have focus to prioritize which tasks need to be completed first. It can be chaotic as patients arrive and need to be checked it, while those leaving need to get scheduled, on top of the phone ringing and therapists asking for help. In order to juggle the needs of the patients and therapists, efficient and thorough communication is needed. I’ve gained an appreciation for how the front desk operates, and how working as a team with therapists helps the productivity of the office.
The front desk handles the insurance part of therapy, and all of its nuances and nuisances. Most Physical Therapy programs will require courses about insurance, but in a constantly changing insurance market it can be difficult to know where their patients stand, or where insurance will be in the future. Whether it’s meeting a deductible or if a certain insurance puts a cap on the number of visits someone can have, therapists, office staff, and patients should all understand how different insurances operate. Grasping an understanding of insurance helps the clinician and patient set timely goals, stay on top of payments, and creates a trusting relationship.
One of the greatest benefits of working at a physical therapy clinic is the opportunity to shadow physical therapists and get to know the physical therapy community. Engaging with patients at the front desk is easily the best part of the job. Whether it’s discussing the trivia question for the week, or sharing weekend stories, a positive encounter with the patients (hopefully) helps them on the road to recovery.
Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Specialists, Inc. has provided an invaluable experience for someone who wants to be a Physical Therapist. Through my experience of working in a physical therapy office I’ve refined my communication and time management skills, gained an in-depth knowledge of insurance, and an appreciation for a patient’s journey towards recovering.
P.S. – Next time you or one of your family members are in the office, be sure to say hi! It makes our day to talk to patients!