In It Together

You run a clinic. Your receptionist is rude. Your physiotherapist assistant bills for services not provided. Your brand-new PT burns a patient with a heating pad.

Whose responsibility is all this? If you guess that you’re on the hook for behavior by those you employ or supervise, you are right.

You work for a clinic. The clinic’s website includes testimonials and links to positive Yelp reviews. The clinic’s business procedures won’t let you review your billings, and they require you to work with physiotherapist assistants you’ve never even met.

Whose responsibility is all this?

Yours again—you are accountable for anything that happens under your name and registration number—even if you don’t have control.

Sometimes it can seem like the amount of responsibility associated with being a physiotherapist is disproportionate to the power that you actually have. And that can seem unfair.

The bottom line though is that this potentially overwhelming level of responsibility comes with your role as a health professional. While it may not seem that you have power over your boss or the PTAs you work with, you are the person in the best position to protect your patients. Your duty to ensure that their best interests always come first extends to all aspects of their relationship with you.

It is your responsibility to protect them from receiving poor quality care, over billing, sexual abuse, failure to consent to treatment and every element of the physiotherapy experience.

It can be truly difficult to uphold this responsibility in every situation. And we all need a hand from time to time.

The College has two Practice Advisors to make sure that we are available as a shoulder to lean on, and, we hope, as a trusted colleague, when the going gets tough.

I encourage you to call our Practice Advice line 1-800-583-5885 ext. 241 and speak with Fiona or Shari or email

We won’t always be able to find an easy solution, but we will make sure that you feel confident that you understand the rules and your options. This service is confidential if you need it to be, so get in touch if you are unsure or need someone to talk to—that’s one of the things we’re here for.


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