Physiatrist jobs center around helping patients regain mobility and the use of voluntary muscle groups through physical therapy. As such, their jobs tend to be strictly limited to those specific therapeutic applications. The primary source of diversity in physiatrist jobs is the setting in which the work takes place. Some may work in hospitals. Others may work in physical therapy centers or residential rehabilitation centers.
Physiatrist jobs in the hospital setting are often the most intensive, simply because they will be working with patients who have only recently become injured. The patient will likely still be living at the hospital for a certain period of time. These initial efforts to regain the use of muscles are very important, especially following an injury or medical condition such as a stroke. Therefore, those looking for physiatry jobs in a hospital setting will likely want to seek out additional training in trauma or neurological disorders, above and beyond what may be required for most positions.
Another type of intensive therapy also takes place in residential settings. The physiatrist jobs in these locations are likely to be centered around getting the individual back to independent living, if possible. By this time, it is likely the patient will have already received at least a few sessions of physical therapy. Upon transfer to a residential or rehabilitation center, a new physiatrist will likely take over to help achieve further progress.
In addition to treating those who only plan to be at a residential facility a short period of time, physiatrist jobs in these locations may also center on the treatment of elderly patients who plan to reside at the facility for the long term. Often, elderly patients will need help as they age, and their mobility becomes more limited. Some of this may be preventative, to make sure they can stay mobile. Some of it may be restorative in nature.
Those interested in physiatrist jobs in physical therapy outpatient centers will likely be dealing with individuals who live on their own or with family at a private residence. They have enough mobility to feel comfortable living outside of a professional care setting. Even so, there still may be some patients with significant needs who visit these centers, simply because their families have decided to take care of them for personal or financial reasons.
Though all of these physiatrist jobs will involve slightly different types of care and work, they will require nearly the same training. Those who go into this line of work are medical doctors, and must meet the requirements of any other medical doctor. Thus, the job setting chosen is often a matter of opportunity and personal preference.