After graduating from therapy school, the prospect of becoming a new therapist is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Facing the real world could be a daunting task especially if you don’t have the slightest idea what to do next. Whether you’re dealing with patients or doctors or just looking for your first gig, here are some best practices to take into heart to help your period of apprenticeship go smoothly:
- Keep learning. Learn from the experts and those who had been on the same road as you. While you might feel that you know all the theories, practice is a whole different education unto itself. One surest way to develop and enriched a career in physical or occupational therapy is to cling to a mentor or an experienced therapist. Form a professional relationship with your mentor and learn all that you can from them.
- Re-connect. Speaking of relationships, don’t think that just because you’ve graduated you no longer need to keep in touch with your fellow graduates. Sure, life will take each of you on your separate paths but do keep the lines of communication open. Speak with them whenever you can and exchange experiences and advice. They might encounter situations which you had recently dealt with and vice versa. It’s good to have a support system and no one can fully know what you’re going through except the people who are also experiencing the same struggles and frustrations as you.
- Take the time to read your new facility’s policies and procedures. These rules were put into play to ensure patient safety so it would do you a lot of good if you know them intimately. Knowing what you can and cannot do will also help you perform better.
- Remember to live life outside of work. At the end of the day, there has to be an end to the day. This is one way to avoid burnout and fatigue. Try not to be overwhelmed with your tasks. In order to gain a little perspective on why you chose this profession in the first place, talk to your patients and they’ll tell you exactly how you’re helping them. Find inspiration every day at work and you will always look forward to it.
- Find out what you’re good at and what you are most passionate about. As you go through different patients and methods, you will discover just what kind of a therapist you are. So don’t worry if at first you seem clueless. The important thing is not to give up. Once you find your niche, you can concentrate on that setting and discover that the healthcare industry has thousands of opportunities for growth for your specific talents.
It’s not easy to become a successful therapist but there’s no reason why you can’t do it. Remember why you’ve chose this profession in the first place and good luck!