Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Career

Job Description: Diagnose and treat disorders requiring physiotherapy to provide physical, mental, and occupational rehabilitation.


Is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Career

What Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians do:

  • Consult or coordinate with other rehabilitative professionals including physical and occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, behavioral psychologists, social workers, or medical technicians.
  • Document examination results, treatment plans, and patients' outcomes.
  • Examine patients to assess mobility, strength, communication, or cognition.
  • Prescribe orthotic and prosthetic applications and adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, bracing, or communication devices, to maximize patient function and self-sufficiency.
  • Prescribe physical therapy to relax the muscles and improve strength.
  • Provide inpatient or outpatient medical management of neuromuscular disorders, musculoskeletal trauma, acute and chronic pain, deformity or amputation, cardiac or pulmonary disease, or other disabling conditions.
  • Assess characteristics of patients' pain such as intensity, location, or duration using standardized clinical measures.
  • Develop comprehensive plans for immediate and long-term rehabilitation including therapeutic exercise; speech and occupational therapy; counseling; cognitive retraining; patient, family or caregiver education; or community reintegration.
  • Coordinate physical medicine and rehabilitation services with other medical activities.
  • Diagnose or treat performance-related conditions such as sports injuries or repetitive motion injuries.
  • Prescribe therapy services, such as electrotherapy, ultrasonography, heat or cold therapy, hydrotherapy, debridement, short-wave or microwave diathermy, and infrared or ultraviolet radiation, to enhance rehabilitation.
  • Monitor effectiveness of pain management interventions such as medication or spinal injections.
  • Instruct interns and residents in the diagnosis and treatment of temporary or permanent physically disabling conditions.
  • Perform electrodiagnosis including electromyography, nerve conduction studies, or somatosensory evoked potentials of neuromuscular disorders or damage.
  • Conduct physical tests such as functional capacity evaluations to determine injured workers' capabilities to perform the physical demands of their jobs.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Holland Code Chart for a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician