What does a Prosthetist do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
A prosthetist also known as an orthotist is a trained health care professional that designs and measures medical supportive devices called prosthesis. A prosthesis is an artificial device that is used to replace a body part that may be missing, malfunctioning, or partially or completely damaged.
The literal meaning of prosthesis is attachment or addition and application. If a person doesn’t have one or more external body parts or has damaged them, prosthesis can be used to replace that external body part. Prosthetic arms, prosthetic legs, and similar prosthetics are quite common in cases of amputees and for those who have congenital deformities.
How to Become a Prosthetist
To become a prosthetist you must earn a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics and must become a certified prosthetist (CP) before you can start practicing. All of these programs should have psychometrically validated certification standards and a set of educational criteria laid out by The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics, Inc. Courses in upper and lower extremity devices, spinal prosthetics, and materials used for fabrication are taught in these programs.
Once you graduate with your Masters degree you are eligible to get licensed to practice as a prosthetist or orthotist. To become certified you must pass a series of exams and complete a residency. The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC), and the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) offer these licensing pathways. Check with your state to ensure you take the correct one. Once you are employed or working in this career field there are mandatory continuing education courses one was adhere to during their career in addition to the Code of Professional Responsibility set for this occupation.
Job Description of a Prosthetist
A prosthetist works closely with physicians, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to determine the needs of their clients. They measures the dimensions and note the nature of prosthetics that has been recommended for their patients. They find the correct prosthesis and then fit it to the clients affected limbs or body parts. They are also responsible for ongoing maintenance or adjustments of the prosthesis as needed.
At times, prosthesis recommended by a physician may not be available and in such cases it is up to the prosthetist to find ideal alternatives or to tweak existing designs so the prosthesis fits.
Seldom does a prosthetist diagnose the need of prosthesis or gets involved in surgeries and operations prior to the need of prosthesis. Most are employed full time and work for manufacturing companies followed by medical supply agencies. A majority of the time is spent in office, but at times they may travel to the clients home or healthcare facility they may be admitted to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there is faster than average growth in this industry so those seeking this career field will have good prospects.