What clinical practice guidelines to ask about when interviewing for a PT job

When you’re looking for a physical therapy job, it can be tempting to accept the first offer or choose the clinic that provides the highest salary. While there are many things to consider, one of the largest contributors to your decision should be the clinical practice guidelines.

While you’re in an interview for a physical therapy job, it’s important that you ask the right questions. You should learn about the procedures that you would have to follow if you take on the position. There are many clinical practice guidelines that are paramount to a practice’s treatment quality and efficiency. Addressing them during the interview can provide insight into their overall vision.

We’ll talk about the importance of clinical practice guidelines and which ones to ask about while interviewing for a physical therapy job.

The importance of clinical practice guidelines

Clinical practice guidelines, or CPGs, refer to how a clinic makes decisions for patient care. The goal of the statements is to provide assistance during the decision-making process that will lead to the best practices. They are published by the American Physical Therapy Association. CPGs are based on the review and evaluation of literature on specific topics.

There’s a CPG for nearly every possible concern that a physical therapist may see in a patient. There are guidelines for everything from hip osteoarthritis and hamstring strains to peripheral vestibular hypofunction and treatment after a concussion. They are often categorized by specialization, such as musculoskeletal issues, health promotion and elderly care.

The benefits of following evidence-proven practice guidelines include:

  • Transparency of evidence for treatment.
  • Increased practice of treatments that have been proven effective.
  • Consistency throughout a clinic.
  • Direct access to expert knowledge.

It’s important to note that these are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. A physical therapist must use their own judgment on a case-by-case basis while keeping the guidelines at the forefront.

Which clinical practice guidelines you should ask about during a PT interview

When you’re interviewing for a physical therapist position, you should be familiar with the most common issues that they address on a regular basis. Then you can determine which practice guidelines you will most often be following. You’ll also be able to see how your skills and regular processes align with the clinic you’re applying for.

Here are some common clinical practice guidelines used in physical therapy that you should learn about during an interview:

  • Back pain — One of the most common reasons that patients seek physical therapy is back pain. While there can be an ache in nearly any part of the back, there are several CPGs that are geared toward lower back pain. It’s important to ask about what type of physical examination the clinic carries out for patients struggling with lower back pain. You should also ask about what exercises they often encourage. You should inquire about what type of education they endorse to prevent further back pain for patients in the future.
  • Arthritis — Arthritis can occur in nearly any joint in the body. That’s why it’s one of the most common chronic pain conditions treated by physical therapy. Asking about how the clinic treats chronic pain can help you understand which techniques they are practicing most often. You’ll also learn about how they help patients manage their pain between sessions. What self-care recommendations do they make? How do they address knee osteoarthritis as opposed to posttraumatic arthritis? It’s important to know.
  • Workplace injury — CPGs are always helpful. They’re especially important when your patient comes in for an injury or condition they received on the job. During your interview for a physical therapy position, you should inquire about their standard procedures for patients who are trying to return to work following an injury. CPGs play a vital role in how workers’ compensation cases are handled.

At Back in Motion Physical Therapy, we’ll answer all your questions about our clinical practice guidelines 

Understanding how a prospective employer approaches the clinical practice guidelines can tell you a lot about how they treat their patients, the education that they promote and the types of treatments that you would be regularly practicing if you were to start working there.

At Back in Motion, we want to make sure that physical therapists who are looking to join our team see how we use CPGs to guide our patients toward a healthier version of themselves.

Call us today to learn about our clinical practice guidelines and how you may utilize them as a new PT on our team. 

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