What is the best advice you have for new grads?


Jenna:  Okay Phil, so a lot of physical therapists are about to start their very first job as a physical therapist.  And I want you to tell them one thing you wish you had known starting your very first job.

Phil:  The one thing I wish I would have known is that you you aren't going to feel confident, and that's okay.  And you will be able to help a lot of people. But even though you may not feel like you have the ability or skills or anything, you know so much to be able to help people, and you will get better. So use both that lack of confidence to drive yourself to be better, but don't disparage yourself, don't get down on yourself, and don't think that other people can do it better than you. Because actually what we find is that new graduates can impact people's lives more than seasoned clinicians because they care so much, they're so much more detailed, they don't go on previous biases nearly as much. How about you?

Jenna:  I would say that it's going to be very easy to compare yourself to people around you. And even people that are maybe only like four to six months out more than you are, are going to seem like they are worlds ahead of you. And you're going to think, "Oh, they're only one year out, I should be similar to them." Or "Oh, they're only six months out, I should be similar to them," and that is just not the case. There is such a steep learning curve in the beginning, where if you look back on where you are now and where you are in just three, six, nine months from now, it's going to be like a completely different physical therapist. So wherever you are now, if you are comparing yourself to other people, that's okay. But don't say, "Oh, I need to be as good as so and so. I need to be as good as so and so when I'm as far out as they are currently."

Phil:  I wonder if though, too, it is more about efficiency . . . maybe it's not that they're not good enough as new grads or not as good as someone who's three, six months, a year, two years out. It's about the efficiency with which you're good. Meaning I think it might take the new grad longer to get to the right solution, and not necessarily much longer. Or it might take longer in an evaluation to get to the diagnosis and things like that. So it's not that you're not as good, it's just you're not as efficient. What do you think of that?

Jenna:  And you're not as experienced. So when you have four months under your belt, you have four months worth of patients to compare back to. "Oh, I tried this with that person, I tried that with that person, and it worked. So I'm going to try that first." And that's how you get more efficient, is you keep kind of using every single experience. And that kind of builds your next one. So when you're new, it's okay.

Phil: You asked me for one, I'm going to give you two. Really quickly start planning for getting a mentor for your career. Because the career is awesome, but it starts to get a little hard at like six months to a year. It starts to become challenging, and if you don't have the right mentor with that, sometimes I think you can get steered wrong.

Jenna:  Good luck to everybody starting.


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