Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Exercise Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Daniel Czech


Physical therapists are constantly searching for aspects of their professional practice to improve, in order to enhance interactions with patients, eventually leading to a more successful practice (Resnek & Jensen, 2003). Although this is the case, limited research has been found which has examined optimal qualities of physical therapists from neither a qualitative perspective, nor based upon their location. Thus, the purpose of this study is to use a qualitative approach to describe optimal qualities necessary for a successful physical therapy practice. In addition, this study aims to determine if therapists practicing in a rural community describe different qualities than therapists practicing in a metropolitan area. The study found that effective communication skills, deeper relationships, vast knowledge and the ability to teach it, a motivating mentality and a calm demeanor are essential professional traits for physical therapists. There were no major differences in professional traits between rural and metropolitan areas.