Graduates in private practice frequently express their sense of frustration at not having access to the example, support and feedback of senior therapists. The response from graduates is that they did not feel entitled to that support or want to annoy the senior therapist, or look incompetent. They felt if they knew that the senior therapist was dedicated to their learning process and they had a relationship with them they would have felt more willing to ask that particular senior therapist for help.
You see it's like this:
- When they ask the boss, they feel they might loose their job or not live up to expectations.
- When they ask their peers in practice, they feel they may be judged that they should already know that information
It appears that some form of connection, relationship or knowing that this senior therapist/ mentor is dedicated to my learning was needed before new graduates were willing to ask questions.
It is a very scary thing to make yourself that vulnerable with someone you are trying to impress (senior therapist, owner) Simply saying to your graduates, "if you have any questions just come and ask", is not normally acted on.
This dilemma indicates that a more formalised system of support that ensured a trusting relationship with an experienced mentor will create more conversations in regards to learning. Graduates express feeling more comfortable discussing issues and incompetencies with a dedicated mentor/ facilitator as they felt that they would not have any underlying judgement. To eliminate the behaviour of graduates that they must know it all NOW and are too proud to ask for fear of getting it wrong, it is important to make allocated time to allow graduates to discuss their caseload, get feedback and voice fears in a private environment to enhance professional growth and build a relationship for learning. Graduate development and mentoring is not done in between patients or in rooms on the fly-by, it needs dedicated time to let them know this is your time to tell me and ask me your problems and I am not here to judge you as the boss or your colleague but I am here to mentor you to be an exceptional private clinician.
As busy practice owners, we often let a graduate know that if they have any problems just find someone to ask, but we all know once the doors open to a private practice, finding that someone to ask that has the time to answer is a difficult task without getting a rushed, quick response or the feeling they are too busy with their own caseload.
Take Home Note for Private Practice Owners: Make the investment in time in your graduates now, for it will only enhance the clinician you mould for your business and overall patient satisfaction and retention. Squash the 'I should know it all' illusion from the beginning. Private Practice is a whole new ball game for graduate physiotherapists and an area that they have had little exposure too in clinical placements.
Take Home Note for Graduates: So graduates, become a 'sponge' and learn as much as you can in your graduate year, because you will not be a graduate again.