In the final part to this series we will discuss some of the common traits graduates display to their clients that hinders them from re-booking. Most graduates are paid on a salary basis in their first year to enable them to learn and develop the necessary skills for private practice. However, after this first year majority of practices will pay on a commission model and therefore if a graduate has not mastered the art of building a recurrent clientele or rescheduling patients, then their income can be impacted. Here are some final points to watch out for in your graduate;
Confusion - Do you ramble on? Do you talk so much that your patient can not respond? You are probably confusing the hell out of your patient. Confusing a patient will kill their confidence in your abilities to help them. Be concise and to the point and always ask the patient if they have any questions they would like to ask to clarify. Remember a patient will only retain about 30% of what you said in a consult, so reinforce your clear diagnosis and plan by writing it down for them. ‘Wishy washy’ words have no place in your vocabulary. If you feel you are being confusing because you are lacking the confidence or clinical knowledge to convey the message without ending up tongue tied then start practising your pre-made spiels in the mirror for common conditions and make it seem real not pre-rehearsed.
Deliver on promises – Having a timeline gives people the confidence they can get through their treatment plan working with you to achieve the outcomes they desire. If you say you will write a report for their next GP appointment, then get it done, if you said you would ring, then do it. But most importantly if you have delivered a timeline for treatment and your clinical skills and diagnosis are correct then you should be able to deliver on your promise. Patients will only tolerate no results for so long without an explanation before they will move on to someone else for another opinion. You need to make it so hard for them to want to try someone else because you are serving them so well in all areas of empathy, listening, friendliness, professional skills and achieving results. If you are not getting to the results as quick as what you expected then explain it, don’t hide from it, and get a reason why or find out why e.g. investigations. Otherwise, perhaps you need to review your timeframes for recovery that you are recommending to your patients are they unattainable and unachievable and making you look bad…. You are a graduate, not the best version of a physio yet, it is coming but it takes time and ongoing learning. You will not be able to heal that Achilles tendinopathy in 2 sessions or that chronic low back pain, so stop setting yourself and your patient up for disappointment.
So, if you are still not able to get your patients to come back then you will be sincerely limiting and hindering your learning opportunities at this stage of your career as a graduate. Now should be the time that your complex reasoning should start to sky rocket, but that will be difficult to achieve without the patients to learn and develop from.