Similar to continuing education, having great mentorship is essential to personal and professional development for a new physical therapist. Mentorship should ensure that you are healthy and happy in your job. It is important to find a mentor who is experienced in practical skills that are applied in the setting in which you work. Ideally this is a senior staff member who can take you under their wing. This relationship should not be limited to informal meetings in passing. Proper mentorship requires planning and implementation.
It is important to note that mentorship can be confused with orientation. Orientation typically lasts for a short time after joining an employer. As a new grad or as a new member of a clinic, you may encounter treatment questions, clinic culture questions, systems questions about notes and billing, questions about specific clients, and so on. There is a dramatic difference between answering these questions once or twice during your beginning stages of your new position, versus ongoing mentorship as your skills and knowledge grow and illuminate deeper questions, discussion and understanding at your particular place of work. As your schedule fills, mentorship is often the first thing that is forgotten in the absence of formal, scheduled program.
Considerations for mentorship as a new therapist or therapist joining a new clinic might include:
- What is the mentorship training plan and how structured is it?
- How fast are you ramped up to a full client load?
- Is mentorship available to new physical therapy graduates and to experienced therapists who are new to the clinic?
- Who provides mentorship to employees?
- How much mentorship is one-on-one, individualized time?
- Does mentorship allow for scheduled opportunities to ask questions and have discussion?
- Does the clinic expect mentors to meet with you in addition to a full client load or limit their mentorship to happening during their time off?
- Does the clinic require your mentor to see a full case load in addition to mentorship time, or limit mentorship to your time off?
- Is mentorship limited to just co-treatment or observation time?
- Does formal mentorship continue after the initial orientation period? If so, for how long and how is it formalized?
- How and how often can therapists request mentorship meetings at different times of employment at the physical therapy clinic?
- Can therapists receive physical therapy treatment during mentorship time?
At Rose Physical Therapy, we have a formal mentorship program that starts during orientation and then continues throughout your career.
- We have a structured mentorship schedule that is tailored to the challenges faced by each new team member.
- At Rose physical therapy, mentorship applies to all new hires and senior team members. We foster a learning environment and mentorship is one of our favorite ways to learn together.
- To allow our new Rose team members time to learn our systems and culture from our senior team members, we ramp up client load over a 5-week period so that new hires do not see a full client load until week 5 of working at Rose.
- Whether this is your first job as a therapist or you are experienced, every new hire physical therapist at Rose has weekly meetings with senior therapists for one hour per week, every week for the first year of employment.
- After the first year, Rose mentorship occurs on an as-needed basis, but frequency of meetings decreases depending on the needs of the therapist and usually happens about once or twice per month.
- Rose has scheduled topics and a protocol for professional development so that every team member has a foundational understanding of our internal systems, expectations, culture and treatment protocols that allow us to deliver the highest quality physical therapy and rehabilitation support to our clients.
- Mentorship at Rose includes time for you to develop treatment plans for clients, or to experience treatments, yourself. Experience has shown us that treating our team members is critical for experiential skill development. This gives our physical therapists unique perspective and high skill level for manual therapy. It also ensures that our staff members have the highest quality of life that we can impact with our substantial skillsets.
We urge you to find a physical therapy practice that offers the right level of mentorship for you.
If you are interested in applying to work at Rose, you can view our Careers page.