Clinician perception of the impact of deployed physical therapists as physician extenders in a combat environment.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

UNLABELLED: Physical therapists (PTs) serve as physician extenders performing direct access evaluations for musculoskeletal conditions. The previous war-time mission of PTs was limited to level III medical care. Recently PTs began providing care at levels I/II with brigade combat teams (BCTs). PURPOSE: Determine the sentiment of battlefield providers at levels I/II regarding the operational impact of PTs. METHODS: Surveys were provided to BCT medical providers. RESULTS: There were 107 responses (response rate of 51%). According to the responses, PTs made a significant impact on overall mission accomplishment (97%) and patient prognosis (83%) and were considered local experts in musculoskeletal pathology (92%), including the ordering of radiographs (79%). Their presence was thought to significantly decrease medical evacuations within theater (68%) and out of theater (73%). CONCLUSION: There was a positive sentiment toward PTs in the BCT, suggesting they are highly valued. Future studies need to clarify further operational, medical, and fiscal implications.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rhon, DI; Gill, N; Teyhen, D; Scherer, M; Goffar, S

Published Date

  • May 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 175 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 305 - 312

PubMed ID

  • 20486500

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0026-4075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.7205/milmed-d-09-00099


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England