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Physical Therapists And Massage Therapists: Staying Within Your Scope Of Practice


Most professionals know what they need to do when it comes to their work duties, but sometimes the line is not so clear. There are often gray areas, particularly in the healthcare field. When you’re hired as a physical therapist or massage therapist, you will be tasked with touching the patient. This can bring about issues concerning ethics, boundaries, and truth in advertising.

It’s often assumed that physical therapists know how to deal with every medical issue or that massage therapists are trained in every area of massage. However, this is not always true. A person can become a licensed professional without receiving training and education about every aspect of physical therapy or massage.

The safety and well-being of your patients and clients needs to come first. Therefore, engaging in practices that you are not qualified to do or offering advice about medications are risky behaviors that you need to avoid. Here are some things you may do that deviate from your scope of practice and lead to ethical issues.

Offering Advice on Nutrition or Supplements

Recommending nutritional supplements or dietary changes to a patient could interfere with their medications. It could also cause serious health risks, especially if you, for example, recommend pills to someone with a swallowing disorder. You could end up seriously injuring or even killing the patient.

Offering Services Outside of Your Scope

Do not engage in services in which you are not trained, certified, or competent. It can be tempting to offer a service you think you can handle but are not adequately trained in. In this case, though, honesty is the best policy. Sometimes it can be harmful to do therapy or massage on a person with certain medical conditions, so your best bet is to be honest and refer the person to someone who can.

Using Invalid Techniques

Massage therapists are often confused with physical therapists, so if you are taking a class, it’s possible it could have components that both a physical therapist and a massage therapist could use. Just because you have taken a class does not mean you can always use that information in your practice. It’s up to you to be familiar with the regulations in your state. 

Working With Clients With Trauma

Providing a safe environment for clients is important. So is knowing about trauma-informed care. Be mindful of what you are asking your clients. Make sure there is a clear line between trauma-informed physical therapy and massage and mental health care to avoid violating any boundaries.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Physical Therapist License Lawyer 

Physical therapists and massage therapists engage in physical activities with patients, so it can be easy for them to cross a line and get in trouble.

Being ethical is part of being a licensed professional. If you are having issues with your license, get them resolved with help from a Tampa physical therapist license lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (813) 968-6633.