Answers For New Graduates
“I made it. I graduated… How do I get a great therapy job?”
When RehabVisions attends career fairs or lunch and learns, these are some of the most commonly asked questions.
Can I ask about a rehab department’s culture?
Understanding the culture of the rehab department or organization you will be working for is an important component of the interview process. While initially you may work with someone in human resources and/or recruiting, then interview with the hiring manager, we also recommend that you request an opportunity to interact or ask questions directly to staff therapists currently working in the department.
Networking with current staff provides important insight into department culture, as it comes directly from the team. Ask staff what they like about working in the department and about working with this team and manager. Also, ask them what three words best describe the department or organization. The information you receive and perceive from staff will likely provide you with a “read” on the attitude and flavor of the department, which is the reflection of culture.
I just got my Doctorate – Why am I entry-level?
We occasionally hear the question, “Why am I considered ‘entry-level’ when I have just completed my DPT or OTD?” First, please don’t be offended by the term “entry-level.” It is simply a designation that differentiates between a new graduate of a PT or OT program versus an experienced therapist who has now completed a transitional doctorate program. Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy (or OTD) program curriculums are specifically designed to prepare students to function as independent entry-level practitioners upon graduation.
At RehabVisions, we greatly value the skills and abilities that DPT and OTD graduates bring to our therapy programs and will provide you with the experience needed to grow from an entry-level clinician to a seasoned and experienced therapist.
What about mentorship?
Sometimes new therapists have a preconceived idea of who can be mentors, so we encourage our therapists to consider all potential mentors. Before seeking one out, write down your specific expectations and the role you want him/her to play in your career. Once you have determined what you are expecting out of a mentor, start reaching out to those who could provide you with that support. At RehabVisions we offer a multitude of resources and opportunities to network and interact with clinicians throughout the entire company, not just in the location you are working in.
Clinical mentors may be a person within your department, overall organization or someone you connect with via the state and national therapy associations. Career mentors may be other clinicians, leaders in your field or even other types of healthcare professionals and leaders. Keep your eyes open. Great mentors can be found in a variety of places, so spend time looking outside your current circle.
Should I avoid certain settings as a new graduate?
Given the right circumstances, any setting can be appropriate and rewarding for a new graduate as long as you are aware of your own areas of strength and put those to use. Choosing a practice setting ought to be driven by your personal clinical preferences and not simply a quest for the highest pay. Working in rural areas can provide a very broad practice scope, which allows greater diversity of patient diagnosis and treatment interventions. It also allows you to gain experience or grow your passion for a particular practice area in which you can eventually specialize.
Therapists who thrive in the rural practice setting are often self-motivated individuals who take initiative, seek mentorship in a variety of areas, and are adaptable in a variety of situations. However, if your clinical passion leads you to start your career in a more specialized setting, such as skilled nursing facilities, acute care or pediatrics, follow your instincts. Look for an employer and a setting that matches your clinical interests and your style.
If you have questions about job searching as a new graduate, our experienced recruiters are available at 402.334.1919.