How to Know If You Should Hire A Physical Therapy Mentor
So, you’re considering hiring a physical therapy mentor, eh? Good for you. The fact that you’re even considering it shows that you’re committed to growth and providing high-quality care to your patients.
My wife likes to say, "It’s not about finding the right answers; it’s about asking the right questions." Asking questions such as: How can I improve my practice? How can I help people more? How can I reduce my work-stress? How can I improve my work-life balance? means that you're ready to grow and reach those goals.
There are a few things to consider when making the decision to hire a physical therapy mentor. I’ve broken them down into a few categories for simplicity. I’ve also created a worksheet with prompts to help you collect and process your thoughts. You can find it at the bottom of this page.
The first thing to dig into is my favorite question to ask: Why?
Why are you considering hiring a mentor? Do you feel that you’re not practicing at your fullest potential? Do you feel that your practice is stale or has plateaued? Do you feel stressed at work? Do you have difficulty ‘turning off’ after work?
If so, first know that you are not alone. These are all normal and common. I’ve struggled with—and continue to work on—all of these aspects of my practice and life.
This is precisely where I nerd out. Because I’ve struggled with this, I’ve studied it, and it is exactly why I want to help people like you who have similar struggles. Rising tides lift all boats (also a saying my wife likes).
See if you can take a few moments to jot down a few goals that you have for your practice; some things that might get in the way of reaching those goals, and strengths that you can draw from to help you reach them.
The next question to ask yourself is what you are looking for.
What do you feel will help you to reach your goals? What do you need?
Implicit in this question is knowing yourself as a person and as a learner. Many people find that after school or postdoctoral training ends, it becomes difficult to hold themselves accountable to improving their practice. They know what they need to do but have a hard time doing it.
Also common is a vague feeling of uncertainty about practice in general—whether they’re ‘doing it right’. They feel that they need someone as a compass to keep them heading in the right direction.
Others feel that they need a sounding board; someone who has been through it—the stress, the uncertainty, the career decisions—to help them come to a less turbulent place in their work-life.
Take a few moments to jot down what you feel would help support the pursuit of the goals you wrote down above.
This section relates to how Physical Therapy Mentorship is different from other models.
Let me first say that I’m a big fan of formal postdoctoral training programs (residency, fellowship) as well as continuing education courses.
Mentorship is neither better nor worse—it is simply different. Each model has its own strengths and limitations. Let’s look at some of the key differences here.
The main difference between Physical Therapy Mentorship and Residency/Fellowship training is that the former has no curriculum, explicit requirements, or exams.
This gives us the freedom to focus on what’s most pertinent to you and your practice. Any ‘assignments’ that come up will be solely based on your needs and goals and will be mutually agreed upon.
When comparing Mentorship to continuing education courses, the two main differences are personalized attention and accountability.
Everybody learns differently and has different interests, perspectives, and models that all contribute to how they practice. Information is much more likely to stick when it is tailored to you, makes sense to you, and when you can talk it through with another person.
Accountability provides the critical final step of making sure you’re actually implementing what you say you will implement. This assures that you realize the changes necessary to reach your goals.
Are you ready?
The only remaining question is: Are you ready to make changes in your practice and your life?
Change is hard. It requires commitment, determination, and patience. But the energy you put in will not be in vain.
I’ve found that the more I focus my practice on truly helping people, the more I do just that, and the better I feel in turn.
When we seek to help others, we are paid back many times over.
Click here to learn more about my mentorship services and to schedule a free call.
Thanks for reading.