Blog #3 - Do You Remember Your First Experience as a New Graduate?
Chances are if you are still in the profession, it was an experience that didn't deter you. Or on the other hand, if you are interested in Physiomentor it may be that you did have a terrible start in your career and don't want to expose another graduate to that experience.
The following is a quote from an experienced therapist recalling her first position as a newly graduated physiotherapist.
Quoted from "THE LlVED EXPERIENCE OF NEW GRADUATE PHYSIOTHERAPISTS IN THE FlRST YEAR OF PRACTICE: MENTORSHIP AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT"
"There was supposed to be another physio working there who had been there for about 12 years, who was doing paediatrics, and then myself as a second therapist. Perfect situation for a new grad. So I was quite excited. But when I got there she was on extended medical leave. This huge caseload I had.
I wasn't sleeping at night when I got there ... it was brutal. Parents would ask me things, like "Will my child ever walk again" I had no idea! I was ready to cry almost every day driving to work. I hated it. I felt so alone. I'm sure it affected my treatment and I'rn sure the parents couid pick up that I wasn't very self confident. It was horrible!
I was reading all the time, I just totally felt overwhelmed and my caseload was huge so I wasn't really able to do a lot of treatment, it was more consultation. Well, I had to think right on the spot there, when I first saw them, what was I going to tell them? I hated it. I didn't feel supported. No. I wanted to be in a situation where I could have another therapist around.
It was awful. It was absolutely terrible! Like a nightmare! And then I was always questioning, well, 'Should I even be a physio?" And then you're questioning your profession, I didn't feel like I was really helping anybody. So it was hard! I got out of there as fast as I could!"
As she recalled this first work experience the anxiety and stress was still raw even in the re- telling so many years later. The initial excitement and anticipation of her first opportunity to work in her chosen profession was soon replaced by an overwhelming feeling of incompetence. Her level of stress was so high that she left the position.
Most of us remember the anticipation and the anxiety of our own first year of practice. The possible sense of isolation and uncertainty in a position of such responsibility without apparent resources raises an important question. A graduate's academic training in physiotherapy prepares them for a position alongside an experienced peer or mentor but not for immediate independence and success in private practice.
In my first role, I was well mentored and supported and this led me to staying in this role for a number of years and even returning to this position after travelling the world. I did have some colleagues that started in private practice roles that were isolated due to busy senior staff and no time to talk to anyone for feedback, time pressures with 15 minute appointment slots and no professional development that hence led to them dropping out of the profession or leaving that role in less than 6 months. The motto to the story here is, support your graduates but make them accountable for there input and work ethic in your business.
This new generation of graduates has been labelled as the generation that has no loyalty to a job, however they are looking for career progression and pathways and extensive learning opportunities. If you create the right environment for development and irresistible learning to advance their career and make them a cut above the rest of their peers, then leaving will be a difficult decision. If they leave for a job with a higher wage but no support for learning, trust me they will be back, as career satisfaction will trump money making in the majority of young physiotherapists.
Learning and development targeted at creating a profitable private practitioner will make them a valuable commodity not only in your business but for the future of their career (cause lets face it, everyone moves on eventually).