Physical Therapy Assistant – Helpful Job Information

Even in a tough economy, the health care industry continues to grow, offering many employment opportunities. For those who want job security while working with patients on a daily basis, becoming a physical therapist assistant is an excellent idea. The education required is minimal compared to that needed to enter many other medical jobs. It offers a rewarding occupational choice and is an excellent step for those who want to get involved in the health care field.

The Duties of a PTA

A physical therapist assistant (PTA) offers support to the physical therapist, taking care of certain office duties and treatments. Therapists rely on their assistants to ensure patients are comfortable and performing physical therapy exercises safely. Some of the potential duties of a PTA may include the following:

– Applying cold packs and hot packs

– Taking patient notes

– Documenting patient progress

– Taking care of electrical stimulation equipment

– Assisting with stretching or exercises

– Teaching certain exercises

This job includes quite a bit of standing, lifting and kneeling. Schedules may fluctuate, depending on the specific facility where a PTA is working. While assistant jobs are available in hospitals and private practices, schools, skilled nursing facilities, fitness centers, rehab facilities, hospices and nursing homes often employ physical therapist assistants as well.

Educational Requirements

While this medical job requires less education than many other careers, there still are some education requirements that must be fulfilled. Most states require that PTAs attend an accredited program and earn their associate degree. These programs, offering at quality physical therapy schools, include classroom instruction and clinical instruction. Expect to take classes in first aid, lifesaving skills, physiology and anatomy.

Salary and Benefit Information

For those just starting in this field, the starting salary usually ranges between $15-20 per hour. On average, the median salary for a licensed PTA is close to $46,000 per year, although some make more than $55,000 a year. Smaller practices usually pay a bit less than some of the larger institutions that hire PTAs. Usually good benefits are offered to PTAs, which may include sick days, health care, pension plan, insurance, education reimbursement, paid time off and bonuses.

Advancement Opportunities

After becoming a PTA, opportunities for advancement are available. One of the best ways to advance in this field is to specialize in a specific therapy area, such as cardiopulmonary therapy, pediatric therapy, integumentary therapy, geriatric therapy, neuromuscular therapy or musculoskeletal therapy. Once a PTA has some experience, other high paying alternatives may be an option, such as contract work or self-employment. Other ways to advance include being promoted to supervisory jobs, gaining seniority within a company or taking a job at a larger institution. For those who want to go even further in the medical field, it is possible to become a licensed physical therapist with a bit more education, which requires a bachelor’s degree.

Good Health Leads To A Good You

A person’s health is of utmost importance to him or her. Health is basically defined as the complete and definitive mental, physical and social well-being of a human being. Being in good health simply means that the person is free from any disease and is in good shape. The World Health Organization has stated that a healthy person must fit perfectly in all three aspects that have been mentioned above; physical, mental and social. This trio is sometimes also called the health triangle. According to diagnosticians, there are a few critical and key factors that determine whether a person is healthy or in a same mind. A few of those key factors include, firstly a person’s biological health, the person’s development as a child, the social and external environment the person grew up in, education, income, literacy, lifestyle, social networks of the person, the culture the person lives in and personal health practices conducted by the person in the form of exercise, diet, yoga, training or any other physical activity undertaken to keep the person fit.

One can maintain health at a very personal level so as to escape from the many deadly diseases found. The first and most important thing that comes into consideration is a person’s personal hygiene. If one doesn’t keep oneself clean, by bathing on a regular basis, brushing teeth, washing hands, keeping the environment they live in clean and basically avoiding anything that could harm their body, they are bound to fall sick. Health is a very critical matter, since your health makes or breaks you. A healthy person has all the happiness in the world, but a sick person is dependent on others to provide him or her with basic care, which leads to mental instability as well.

Your health also depends greatly on the relationships that you have, meaning how strongly intact your social life is. If all your relationships are going well and you do not have social interactions issues i.e. mingling with others, having a group of people sharing similar interests, this shows that you are in good mental health. If a person shows deteriorating social relationships, this shows that the person is unstable and has self esteem issues, which can lead to development of mental illnesses such as depression, alienation and stress. Your biological health is directly related to your mental and social health, since stress has been known to cause a number of biological diseases.

Healthcare Jobs That Involve Traveling

The high demand for short-term or temporary healthcare professionals in different places all over the United States and the world has fueled a new type of career option for healthcare workers everywhere.  The travel healthcare industry has actually existed for close to twenty years.  In the early days, healthcare-staffing companies matched qualified professionals with hospitals and clinics that were in dire need of short-term staffing solutions.  Because needs in highly specialized medical fields could not always be met locally, people in medical careers are now able to enjoy regular travel as a part of their working lifestyle. 

Seasonal Demand

One of the primary reasons that medical careers that involve traveling across the country or the world exist is fluctuating demand.  One of the primary reasons that demand can fluctuate greatly has to do with the seasons.  In areas where the population suddenly increases or shrinks dramatically based on whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter, maintaining an adequate level of healthcare staff in local hospitals and healthcare centers can be challenging.  Hiring permanent, full-time or part-time staff to handle the influx during busier seasons (such as the state of Florida might have to during the winter when all the New England snowbirds migrate south) can be too committal.  When the rise in population subsides and returns to more normal levels, the area can suffer from massive layoffs and unemployment in the medical field.

The costs of staffing in this way can become very high for medical facilities, as unemployment insurance premiums are likely to rise and the cost of training new staff every season can also be high.

Benefits of Healthcare Jobs That Involve Traveling

There are many benefits to having a career in the travel healthcare industry.  Some of the benefits are very obvious, while others are not.  Working with a good medical staffing agency will allow you to earn top pay and excellent benefits including the ability to save for retirement in a qualified plan such as a 401K.  Most travel healthcare assignments provide private, quality housing that is free of charge for medical staff.  Most healthcare workers know the experience of working in world-renown research facilities or teaching hospitals is priceless.  The opportunity to work at not only one prestigious facility but several in different parts of the country is another benefit of travel healthcare.

Get Started

Getting into the travel healthcare industry is not difficult if you are already a medical professional or healthcare staff member.  There are several different agencies that can help you get placed in short-term travel assignments.  Many of these agencies can be found online.  The process for getting started is very similar for most personnel agencies that specialize in healthcare travel.

1. An application is completed

2. You are assigned to a recruiter/contact at the agency

3. After being interviewed by your recruiter potential assignments will be identified for you

4. You will be interviewed by the director of the medical facility over the phone

5. After accepting an assignment, the agency will assist with all details including licensing, housing and benefits

How to Maintain Physical and Mental Health

Health is a very important part of human life, and plays a crucial role to the development of human beings, the revolution of society, the updating of culture, and the change of lifestyle. However, what is the definition of health? In 1948, the World Health Organization gave a specific one: Health not only means no disease of body, but also emphasizes the mental health. How to keep a healthy body and mind? The following tips will give you a reference.

First, set clear goals in life. We always pursue a lot of things during our life. However, due to the living environment, social culture, and individual condition, we cannot make all our dreams come true. And this requires us to set goals for the limitation of one’s time and energy. In order to realize the value of life and pursue larger development in the limited time, it is better make sure what you want and set clear goals. With a clear goal, you can effectively eliminate all kinds of negative emotions and keep vitality to challenge.

Second, keep a forgiving attitude towards others. Nowadays, the competition among people is fierce for the advanced science and technology. Clear goals and success in life are certainly the elements to keep health, but be lenient with others and gain corporate progress also make benefits to one’s happy and health. Sometimes, you will get unexpected results by helping others selfless.

Third, develop good living habits. Good habits can make contribution to people for a lifetime. We cannot underestimate its value to health. But in our real life, many people ignore this important aspect. They always keep bad habits in life. For example, some people like to spend all night to play cards or watch TV, which will do serious harm to health. According to the scientific research, the activities of the human body are controlled by biological clock. The violation of it will cause the disorder of body function. So, we should keep good habits in all aspects of life to ensure the best function of whole body system.

Fourth, ensure enough exercises. It is proved that physical activities can keep clear mind and nimble thought. Because exercises can enable enough rest for brain to maintain its work ability, and promote the blood circulation to improve the function of heart. Moreover, sports can adjust person’s psychology to keep vitality. Regularly exercises can also improve person’s adaptability and strengthen the resistance to disease, then to live a health and longer life.

In addition to these, reasonable nutrition composition and essential hobbies are also in favor of physical and mental health. In order to live an easy and happy life, please draw attention to the maintenance of your health.

Available Jobs in Health Care

If you are interested in a career in medicine, then your options are about as many as the number of colors in the world. Just in nursing alone there are at least six levels. Beginning with the entry level and working our way up in pay, job opportunities and responsibilities there is the Certified Nurses Aide, Licensed Practical Nurse, Associates Degree Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Masters in Nursing and the Nurse Practitioner. This is a list for just one arm of medicine, so as you can see jobs in health care are many. If your having a hard time deciding which area you would enjoy, you can research the duties of each area online.

Maybe becoming a therapist is of interest to you. There again is a wide range of the types of therapy one could pursue. Respiratory therapy is one such position. These therapists focus on the well being of a patients’ respiratory system. They receive orders from physicians for various types of treatments to help patients utilize oxygen in a beneficial way. Other jobs in health care include; physical therapist. These individual focus on teaching patients how to strengthen muscles, perform exercises and use special equipment to improve function and restore mobility. Other therapy positions are occupational therapists, speech therapists and audiologists just to touch the tip of the ice berg.

And then again, maybe working in a laboratory is appealing to you. A phlebotomist is responsible for obtaining, transporting and running tests on blood samples. They must know how to draw blood using various techniques and equipment as well as the proper care for each sample ordered. This position requires constant contact with blood, so this person must have a ‘strong stomache’ for bodily fluids. Another position that requires this attribute is the Emergency Medical Technician or EMT. In this field there is the basic EMT, intermediate EMT and the paramedic. Each has its own scope of practice which is easily found in a web search.

If you would rather teach there are health educators, dieticians, or counselors. No matter what your heart desires, in medicine there is a place for most anyone. On the surface most of us think of physicians and nurses as medicine, but this is only the beginning. For these two areas to function, they need a lot of support services in medicine. This article is only the beginning to a huge list of the available jobs in health care.

Sex – For the Pure Health of It

Given the degree of negative attention sex can provoke in the media, I thought why not offer a synopsis for my readers on the current science of Why Sex is Important for Your Physical and Mental Health! I am pretty darn sure that this is the first time I have written on the subject here. Yep, definitely sure. Outlined below are just a fraction of how sex can be beneficial to your physical healthy and well-being. I do however need to share that you should consider the following: Act responsibly, be kind, all good things in moderation (but who defines moderation?), check with your doctor (really?) and do not partake in while driving.

Sex and Happiness:

A 2004 study of 16,000 U.S. adults found as a primary finding “That sexual activity enters strongly positively in an equation where reported happiness is the dependent variable. They found simply that sex made a huge difference in reported happiness measurements. While I will not in this synopsis report on the standard query of how much sex are people having (you will have to look up the study for those factoids), I will tell you one significant finding; that the number of sexual partners that resulted in the greatest amount of happiness reported, was… drumroll please… One partner.

The Brain on Sex:

Ongoing brain research continues to show the impact of sexual activity resulting in countering the deleterious effects of stress in important areas of the brain that have to do with memory and anxiety reduction. A Princeton study for example in rats show that regular sex in rats resulted in reduced stress hormone levels and the stimulation of neurogenesis (new nerve cell growth) and neuroplastic features (an enhanced ability for neurons in the brain to adapt, grow and change with new learning). Other similar studies have shown increased nerve cell growth in the brain’s hippocampus (yes again in rats) and with regular sexual activity, increased recognition memory. So while this has not yet been demonstrated in humans, these studies show an encouraging trend!

Sex and Longevity:

A comprehensive study published in the respected British Medical Journal, involved 918 men in Caerphilly South Wales. Extensive medical interviews in this cohort study and performed with a ten year follow up studying mortality (death) with related lifestyle factors and health conditions taken into account for. The conclusion was a 50% decrease in male mortality who had more frequent orgasms! The authors of this study humorously point out that perhaps improved methods “intervention programs could also be considered, perhaps based on the exciting “At least five a day” campaign aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption-although the numerical imperative may have to be adjusted.” Wink wink. the Duke Study on Aging also found that the frequency of sex was directly inversely related to mortality in men (while the Enjoyment of sex was the significant factor in the decreased mortality for women! Dr Oz reported that he found a study that showed that 200 orgasms per year reduced physiological again by six years.

Sex and Physical Health:

Research has shown that in men, regular male climaxes (depending on measures of frequency) can decrease the risk of prostate cancer by between 14-34%. Sex can act as natural pain reliever with increased release of oxytocin and endorphins (though of course warnings and exceptions need to be in place in the case of physical injury). Sex increases estrogen which in women can relieve menopausal symptoms. Cardiovascular health and weight loss can be improved, with reports showing that 20 minutes a week of vigorous participation can result in the burning of over 7500 calories per year. Antidepressant effects has been found to result for women in unprotected heterosexual activity. Immunoglobin A, a measure of immune function, was shown in one study to improve by 30% with sexual activity 1-2 times per week.

So you have my blessing to share this information with your partner or loved ones and if you must, ask your doctor for a prescription to improve your health in an enjoyable fashion.

Types of Health and Wellness Businesses and Their Contribution to Society

The health and wellness market is a booming industry. People are buying health products such as targeted vitamins and minerals and wellness services such as massage and acupuncture so as to ensure physical wholeness and overall good health. The motivation comes from the improved knowledge that the modern man has about his body and environment.

The public has obtained access to health education and promotion through various media, and as a result, there is a rapid transformation on how we have looked at health and wellness these last 30-40 years. A few decades ago, the house-call doctor who had a strong educational background but an equally strong intuitive knowledge went the way of the dodo, to be replaced by institutionalized “Big Health” that has proven over the years to be faceless, uncompassionate, and ridiculously expensive.

In the meantime, we as a people have been exposed to theories of health and wellness from the Far East and our own ancient times, and we’ve come to recognize that perhaps there’s more to staying healthy than popping pills and getting broken bones set.

Health and wellness products have indeed been in demand over the last few years, and this is due in part to the exposure they have received through the media. We see health issues addressed in internet websites, magazines, books, newsletters and even on television, where Oprah’s ‘Doctor Oz’ now has his own show, and ‘The Doctors’ is a common daytime panel show about health and wellness.

Health journals are cropping up, even major news magazines such as Time, Newsweek and Focus have contributed a lot of articles, editorials and special issues to nutrition and wellness.

Economists in the United States suggest that in the years to come, the wellness business will be one of the leading contributors of economic growth. In fact, in this country, the sales of this industry have already reached $200 million and will soon match the sales of the ‘traditional’ health care sector!

The health and wellness industry is all about selling wellness products and services which improve the health of their customers. Since there is a wide range of products and services included in this scope, we can divide them into a variety following types of health and wellness businesses. Here’s a partial list:

  • Voluntary medicine – examples under this type are lifestyle drugs and plastic cosmetic surgery.
  • Wellness resources – these are the information segment of the society, or media informing the people regarding wellness products and services.
  • Wellness insurance – financial resources for a large number of wellness services and preventative medicines, including chiropractic care and even acupuncture.
  • Nutritional services and products – including vitamin supplements, nutritionist, local organic food stores, etc.
  • Fitness services and products – including massage therapists, spas, chiropractor, etc.
  • Preventative health care – treating, modifying or controlling health risk factors
  • Alternative health care – this includes meditation, yoga, herbalism, homeopathy, hypnosis, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, etc.
  • Health and wellness tourism – characterized by customers who would use traveling expenses to look for medical tourism hubs across the globe, offering products and services for these health and wellness seekers.

As you can see, the health and wellness industry has grown significantly, thanks to the huge support it has obtained from several other sectors. New opportunities have opened for health and wellness initiatives, whether it be on the side of selling products and services or in the dissemination of valuable health and wellness information.

The industry is indeed a huge network of products and services, all together with a common theme of being the answer to the sicknesses and diseases that are growing rampant in our society today. Many of these are caused by industries that sell unhealthy goods and commodities. All the types of health and wellness businesses have blossomed in order to come to our rescue.

Because of all of this blooming and blossoming, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to start a business, a health and wellness business is an excellent choice — the competition might look stiff, but it’s an industry where the consumer is trained to be suspicious of success and look for the local, ‘little guy’…which is exactly where you could fit in!

Health Care Issues

In an age where the size of the house determines your level of success in life and the colour of hair no longer determines your age, the word ‘health’ has now come to mean much more than what it did hitherto. Health is no longer an absolute determinant of longevity and vice versa holds true too. Health has now become an umbrella term where the diameter of the umbrella is constantly being rechecked and reset; it is progressively inclusive.

Health, as defined by WHO, is a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing and not the merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Each part of the sentence can be analysed further for a more comprehensive understanding of the term. Health doesn’t imply mere freedom from diseases or handicaps but a more fulfilling life. The definition steers us towards a more holistic view of life and health where a person is physically normal, mentally stable and socially well-adjusted. Not just that, the person is capable of earning a livelihood and live a spiritually satisfying life.

Physical health is the easiest to gauge and take care of amongst all the three sub-categories of health that WHO mentions. With advanced technology, numerous blood tests and imaging procedures are available which help us easily determine any abnormalities within the body and correct them promptly. Clinical signs and symptoms tell us of any abnormalities in any particular organ. A pink, smooth skin with white dentine, lustrous hair, absence of body odour and sparkling eyes are all signs of a healthy body. Basic measures of hygiene need to be adhered to, to maintain a healthy body. Adults can manage their health easily but kids’ health can be a major concern for their parents.

Mental and social healths are far trickier to determine and deal with. For a person to be mentally healthy, it is necessary that he have a certain amount of introspection, some aims and goals in life, the capacity to bear failure and an inquisitive and curious mind that seeks answers. A person, who is endowed with a desire to enjoy life and at the same time keep focus on the aims in life, will be able to live a healthy and gratifying life in spite of failures that might occur. Such a person can bounce back from setbacks and not tend towards socially mal-adjusted behaviour. Socially well-adjusted people enjoy the company of others while valuing the privilege of solitude. They have patience and agree to disagree with others occasionally. They enjoy the company of friends and family, equally. People with anti-social behaviour are not considered to be healthy despite complete physical fitness.

Such is the new age definition of health. Spontaneous recovery from minor ailments is also considered as part of being healthy. This just gives us an understanding that health is like a spectrum of light where total health is at one end of the spectrum and death at another end. Everything in between is owing to some amount of health.

Health – How Do You Know What You Mean?

Are you Healthy – or just not Sick? If this sounds like a trivial question, then but how do you answer it? isn’t it interesting that we can easily and specifically talk about our Ill-health at length, but we can’t talk about Health in a way that evokes unambiguous understanding of what is meant? Does it even matter if there is a definition of the rather amorphous term? Well – we wouldn’t dare to go and see a physician in absence of a “symptom” – an exception of your “normal” look or feeling? Of course not, health-care systems do not care about Health, they care about the mendingĀ  manifest diversions from the “Normal” condition. In other words, health-care should be more aptly referred to as “sick-care”, because the system has no answers for the Healthy. Consequently, the definition of “sick” is rather obvious, it is the visible or experienced reduction of normal physical or mental condition or function. There are many different ways of expression, but the essence is unequivocally the same.

Now try to define “Health” and “being healthy” by a term that evokes a universally equivalent understanding. Obviously a challenge, most dictionaries confine the term as something like “the absence of disease”. But isn’t there much more to Health than the absence of an identifiable ailment? Apart from evident Physical Health, what about more concealed Mental Health, Emotional Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health, Intellectual Health – isn’t all that essential to a state of well being? But does that mean “Health” is the absence of any and all (perceived) problems and concerns – would then “Health” be synonymous with Happiness? Even reduced to Physical Health there is a wide spectrum of ambiguity, if you feel tired or fatigued – are you sick or are you healthy? Is weight gain a disease or just a sign of hedonism? Are you ill because you need reading glasses? What about wrinkles and sagging skin – is aging a disease? This thought open a Pandora’s box: what is the normal rate of aging – where is – and who is the authority for setting the benchmark for “normal”?

Are you absolutely or relatively Healthy?

Researchers at Rice University have tried to define the parameters for measuring Health. They conclude that Health is measured in terms of

l) absence of physical pain, physical disability, or a condition that is likely to cause death

2) emotional well-being, and

3) satisfactory social functioning.

But they admit that there is no single standard of measurement of health status of Individuals or Groups, which may be assessed by an observer. It follows that “Health” assessed in this way is relative and subjective, while what we really want to know is:

Am I absolutely Healthy – objectively measured, not subjectively assumed by relative comparison with Others. We don’t compare our pain or disfigurement with the neighbors arthritis or cancer. Quite the opposite: we visualize and strive to look as young and slim as the person on the cover of a magazine. Such natural cravings are the very foundation of an ever growing Beauty and Anti-Aging industry, even in absence of objective standards.

That is exactly the point: if we can’t define Health but only Ill-health – we’ll never look like that Idol no matter what! Because if we measure our Health by its weaning, we’ll wait to act until we can define the symptoms, thereby depriving ourselves from gaining and sustaining utmost Vitality and stunning Appearance.

If we succeed in establishing a globally valid definition for absolute Health – we can actually begin to provide of real Health-care, that is caring for the preservation – or revival of the benchmark Health.


Rice University: Measurement of Health Status

Knowing how Healthy you are

Weight Loss and Beauty, How Does Society React Towards Obesity?

Society has produced a nation of people in denial about weight loss and beauty. The media tries to convince the viewers that it’s OK if you are a little on the heavy side. But in realty real life doesn’t play out the way we see on TV.

The truth is that obese people will never be accepted as normal. People will almost never say it to your face, but the will show it with their actions. In many undercover stunts where a skinny celebrity goes under a transformation to look over weight, they get a huge eye opener! They become aware of the discrimination that fat people endure on a day to day bases.

The fact stands that when you walk into a room nobody is going to say “Wow, what a beautiful mind she has” or “She has such a great personality.” If they say that the next thing is “but she’s too overweight.” That’s because society in America is conditioned to hide or ignore the truth.

My mother studied in college for 8 years and got a masters degree. When she was doing her internship at a children’s center she had been promised a job by the person in charge of the program there. In that time the person in charge left, and a new person came in charge. Although my mom had the qualifications and experience, they did not give her the job. She reminds me of this story all the time, and she always says that it happened because of jealousy, but I know it was because she was just too overweight. I only say that because she had applied for other jobs and when she would show up she would be turned down, even though she had all of the experience and qualifications they required.

At my heaviest I was about 312 lbs. I was totally oblivious to how people discriminated against me, because my family subconsciously taught me how to ignore the comments and treatments. You see when a person is very overweight they build up walls. This defense gives the person the permission to eat more and more till they become very obese and unhealthy. My family used pride as a defense against the looks and discrimination. At the time I didn’t see what was going on, but when I finally lost some of the weight I was able to understand that I was using emotional walls to back people away, because I was so heavy. I used my own fabricated reasons to make excuses as to why I was so overweight. Let’s see if any of these excuses are familiar to you

“I am fat because it’s hereditary.”

“It’s in my DNA”

“I’m just big boned.”

“People like me don’t look good skinny.”

“Healthy food is expensive.”

“Healthy food taste nasty.”


Whatever your excuse, it will never overshadow the fact that society will treat you a certain way if you are obese, or thin. I’ve been on both sides of the scale, and I must say I like being on the smaller side way better. I am in no way close to being at my best yet, but since I have lost some of the weight I’ve noticed a huge change in the way I’m am treated by people. Sometimes it’s really good and sometimes it’s really bad. For example, there are times when I might be on the NYC subway with my son and young girls give me a dirty look, because they assume I am his girlfriend! After losing some of the weight I look younger some how, and it causes women and girls to be envious of me. I know this, because I was actually told by a young girl one time. We where at the Department Of Motor Vehicles, because my son wanted to get his drivers license. He was still underage so I had to go with him. when it was his turn we both came up to the line, because I knew I had to sign something. The young lady behind the counter spoke to him very hastily when he asked “Where’s your parent? You can’t be here without your parent!” My son turned to me and said she’s right here!

Although I was standing there the whole time, she didn’t know I was his Mother. After she realized she said “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought she was your girlfriend.” On the other side there have been times when it is a good thing, because I blend in well when I am with a younger crowd.

I take good care of my skin, exercise and drink lots of water, because It pays well to look good. They say beauty is in the EYES of the beholder, and that’s why I make sure peoples eye’s are beholding something pleasing. Your appearance is the first thing people will see when they meet you. Make sure they give you the respect you know you deserve. It’s not vanity, it’s called LOVING YOURSELF.