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Physical Therapists Burnout Is Okay... They Said!

Metaphorical Physical Therapist Burnout

If growth is a priority for your clinic in 2024, one of your biggest barriers will be the loss of a licensed physical therapist. Hiring seasoned physical therapists is challenging, probably not new news to you, but

  • What can you do about preventing attrition in your own clinic?

  • How can you prevent turnover to avoid the costs of a vacancy and lost profitability from a vacancy?

We’ve curated a few points of view:


Listen to the early findings from PT-led UpDoc Media‘s 2023 Practice Management Report on their Corporate Quality Podcast: 40% of respondents report taking 3-6 months to fill a vacancy, costing $40k-$250k in lost revenue. This kind of financial risk is not to be overlooked. The best clinics operate at 20% profit margin, on a $1m annual revenue, you could be risking your entire profit margin.

When it comes to implementing performance incentives as many practices do to boost compensation packages, articles like this one suggests a variety of models but to start by simply asking your clinician team what is most valuable to them. Tread carefully with pay incentives as they are not directly solving business problems that create low morale and burnout. Nothing worse than employees feeling like they are wearing golden handcuffs – good pay but not happy.

Rafi Salazar with Rehab U discusses on his podcast, The Better Outcomes Show, turning to software to help ease administrative burdens that contribute to low moral and burnout. physical therapists leaving your practice is a business risk you must mitigate. Think about software use and design so they are not adding workflow burdens. While various factors contribute to burnout, if software does not consider the impact to physical therapists, it could be contributing indirectly to team dissatisfaction, particularly when they are spending hours using it.

What's in the News

There is a nationwide shortage of physical therapists in the United States, leading to long wait times for patients seeking appointments. The job vacancy rate for therapists in outpatient settings was 17% in 2022, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. The shortage is particularly acute in rural areas and places with a high cost of living. The industry has not recovered from the mass departure of physical therapists during the pandemic. Furthermore, the economics of physical therapy have shifted with Medicare cutting reimbursement rates coupled by the encroachment of private equity firms. The deficit of physical therapists is expected to continue, despite efforts to keep practitioners and increase graduates from physical therapy schools. The fact remains, the cost of obtaining a physical therapy doctorate is rising, and salaries don't keep therapists in the field, making entry difficult... Read the full article here.

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