physical therapists working on leg of female patient

Former Reporter Finds Job Satisfaction as Traveling Physical Therapist Assistant


A Livingston, N.J. resident, Jayesh Patel, PTA, earned an associate’s degree in physical therapy at Essex County College in Newark, and has been a physical therapist assistant (PTA) since 2013.  He began working travel PTA jobs in 2014 and is employed by Club Staffing, an AMN Healthcare company.  Currently he’s assigned at the Rock Leigh Jewish Home in Rock Leigh, N.J.

Prior to his physical therapy career, Patel was a TV news journalist, a job he enjoyed until his duties were changed. “I was doing a lot of paperwork instead of going out in the field and collecting stories,” he said.  “Paperwork isn’t my idea of exciting work.”

Why did you choose to become a traveling physical therapist assistant?

“My sister is an occupational therapist and she suggested that I might like physical therapy because this career involves a lot of physical activity, which I enjoy,” Patel said.  “What I really want to do is to give back to the community while also making a living, as opposed to solitary desk work.”

What do you enjoy most about being a travel PTA?

“Being a PTA is a satisfying and gratifying job and I enjoy the work I do,” he said. “Physical therapists assess patients’ therapy needs and develop therapeutic care plans. I come in about the third therapy session and follow the care plan to teach patients how to climb stairs, walk with a walker and perform exercises to strengthen arms, shoulders and legs.  Strength training is also used during post-stroke rehabilitation exercises.  Opportunities to provide care for a variety of patients is an important part of my job, and travel PTA jobs provide physical activity, new adventures and memorable experiences.”

What has been your most memorable experience?

“My most memorable experience was the time when a patient stopped breathing during a rehabilitation session and we had to call a Code Blue,” Patel explained. “The team working to revive him literally brought him back to life, and I’m happy to say he’s back in therapy and is doing really well.”

What difficulties have you experienced on the job and how did you deal with them?

“I haven’t had a lot of difficulties from the physical therapy side,” Patel said. “One difficulty has been trying to treat patients when they’re not ready for therapy. This can happen when the nursing department is short-staffed and nursing assistants aren’t able to get patients ready on time. Being unable to provide therapy on time is difficult for us because our job is to treat them in a timely manner. We do our best to meet that goal.”

What advice would you give to new PTA travelers?

“The work therapists do is very difficult but rewarding and they do a good job even though they have their own therapy styles. PTs [(physical therapists)] are an excellent team to work with,” he said.

What is most important to you when you travel?

“Music is one of the things I enjoy most when I travel because it’s a neutralizer when I’m stuck in traffic, or had a rough day and then have to do a lot of patient care documentation. Listening to music is relaxing for me.”

What are some fun things you like to do on your travel physical therapist assistant jobs?

“I like to travel for pleasure by getting out into new cities to explore the nightlife, restaurants and the local culture,” Patel said. “I enjoy being out in nature, hiking and finding local trails and parks. I also like doing research, and I’m studying the art of Qigong, an Eastern form of exercise and a type of moving meditation. Many Qigong movements are gentle, easy to perform and helpful for patients who are rehabilitating from a stroke or surgery due to a fall or hip fracture.”

A man of many talents, Patel is also a freelance journalist. His article entitled “Minimal Invasiveness: A One-Minute Guide to Mindfulness” was recently published on the website.

Learn more about allied therapy jobs for new graduates, or apply today with Club Staffing to get started on your travel healthcare career.

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