# 66 - What to Look for in a New Graduate Physiotherapy Position
As we start a new year, 4th year physiotherapy students are looking into future employments and physiotherapy pathways. Often students can feel like they have to take the first job that they are offered but it is important to consider a few factors first before applying for positions. This way you can ensure that you are the best fit for a clinic and also that your future employer is a good fit for you and the pathway that you want to embark on. It is so essential to get satisfaction and enjoyment out of your job especially in the first couple of years as a physiotherapist when you are still finding your way and figuring out your main passions. So many physiotherapists now are in positions that they do not enjoy which leads them to think that physio is “not for them” and they decide to change their career pathway or go on to further study. It is such a diverse career and if you can take the right steps straight out of university, you will ultimately start your career on the right foot.
Here are some points of what to consider when applying for a role.
- Look for a good Mentor- will your employer be a good mentor and align what your beliefs are as a physiotherapist
- Consider the Core Values of a Clinic/Employer
- Be Open Minded- often it is so easy to be deterred from a role due to a low starting salary or not in a location that you were originally planning but starting out as a physiotherapist, mentorship and growth are so much more valuable. You can always climb the clinician and salary ladder once you have some experience. The quicker you can gain experience in a varied caseload, the more confident you will feel and the better clinician you will be.
- Base salary- working purely off commission or contracting to a company straight out of university can cause overwhelm and lead to burnout and exhaustion. It can be beneficial to look for jobs that offer a base salary to give you time to increase your caseload and settle into the role without the stress of making enough income to live.
- Professional Development Focus and Professional Development Funding/Paid Leave-Does the private practice or future employer offer in-services which are going to improve your clinical understanding and knowledge? Does your future employer put a focus and emphasis on professional development and sound like they will motivate you to improve as a physiotherapist?
- Supportive Team Environment- are there other physiotherapists that you will be working alongside that can offer you advice and guidance? Colleagues are so beneficial when working in a physiotherapy position. They can offer knowledge and support from their own experiences and be a sounding board if you have any patients that you need to debrief about or clinically discuss
- Varied Caseload- Does the position offer the opportunity to treat a varied caseload? This often leads to you finding your areas of interest or areas that later you might like to specialise in
- Professional Support- Ensure that the position you are applying for will support you both on a personal and professional level
- Roles where you can grow- think about where you would like to see yourself in 3-5 years- would this role allow you to expand and grow as a clinician?
- Work-Life Balance- Consider the roster and whether the business does weekend work. Think from the start, does this align with my lifestyle. If you throw yourself into a role too quickly, very soon you will not get satisfaction out of your job and will find yourself not as committed to your work
- Ask about Appointment Times/Slots: As a new graduate you want to be in a supportive environment which allows you enough time to treat effectively whilst also making income for the business. Many businesses have short e.g. 15 min appointment slots which can make it difficult for new graduates to treat and educate patients successfully. It can also lead to burnout and exhaustion which can ultimately affect how much you enjoy your job and the satisfaction you get from it.