Graduate cancellations in private practice can be frustrating for any business owner. The worst cancellations are those that cancel and do not reschedule. This can be a red flag that your graduate is not conducting themselves clinically and non clinically to meet client expectations. It is a competitive market in healthcare these days and with so many options available to patients, they can be quick to move on to the next best thing if your graduate does not deliver.
If your graduate is having a high number of cancellations, then be sure to review the following possible causes:
Body language – we can gauge a lot of information about how someone feels about us from their body language. Are you checking your watch constantly? Not making eye contact with the patient? Standing with your arms folded? Fluffing about doing other things while a patient is trying to tell you something? Be in the moment, listen to your patient, look at your patient. Only 7% of what you are trying to covey to a patient comes from the spoken word, 38% comes from tone of voice and speech patterns, the other 55% comes from your body language.
Show empathy – you have a certificate in a frame to show your hard work to become a physio, but what distinguishes those that are great, fully booked, in demand physios from those that are great clinicians but empty appointment schedules is how you show that you care. It can be exhausting, day after day, 30 mins after 30 mins. But you signed up to be a healthcare practitioner and it goes with the label. Be what our healthcare system needs. Graduates can fall into the trap of being judgemental and negative towards their patients actions, especially when they do not do exactly as they have requested e.g. complete home exercises. No patient wants to be judged or see a physio that is continually on their back or negative. There may be a very good reason why your patient was not able to complete your requests and it is your job to find out what the barrier is and eliminate it or work with your patient as a team to achieve results. Every patient's condition and lifestyle is very different and what works for one may not work for another, that is the nature of rehabilitation.
No Hope - Some graduates can imply to their patients that their condition is due to their age or may be due to factors that are beyond their control. Patients then get the impression that their is no hope in continuing rehabilitation or treatment if the condition will not change or improve. Using the age comment in your explanations with patients can come across quite condescending when you are a young graduate so take care with this comment. In many of the worst or degenerative conditions there is always the hope that your patient can be better then what they are now. Age is not a reason to give your patients no hope that their condition can not be better managed, gain more function, less pain or better quality of life. Yes there will come a point that is reached when your patient may meet their potential, then the hard part is maintaining this level of improvement.
Stay Tuned for Part 3