Congratulations! You made it through PT school. No more boards. Hallelujah! Now you are ready to begin your working career. Before you get started, read these common new grad physical therapist mistakes. This article will provide you helpful tips to start your career as a physical therapist off on the right foot.

Common New Grad Travel Physical Therapist Mistakes

1) Not Preparing For The Job Interview. Learn as much as you can about your potential employer. Your recruiter will take time to share as much as they know about the facility or interviewer. The rest is up to you. If your interview is a phone call, read these 10 tips to ace your travel therapy phone interview.

2) Not Researching Where You Want To Work. As a travel physical therapist you have the ability to work in one location and then pick-up and move to another location. Take time to think about where you want to work. Share your desires with your recruiter. Remember, just because you might not get your first choice on your new assignment doesn’t mean you won’t get your first choice on your next assignment.

3) Not Thinking About Your Next Assignment. Most travel therapist assignment are 13 weeks. After that, you can move to a new city, state, or coast. Depending on where you want to work next, it can take time. You might even need a new license. The sooner you can share with your recruiter your next assignment goals, the higher your probability of turning that dream into reality.

Common New Grad Travel Physical Therapist Mistakes – Before Your Assignment

4) Not Being Up Front About Vacation Requests. Nothing makes you or your recruiter look bad then walking in the first day saying you need a couple days off in the next few weeks. If you need time off for an upcoming event first share that information with your recruiter. Then be sure to bring it up during your interview. Most places will be accommodating if they are informed. This way no one is thrown off by your last-minute request.

5) Having A Poor Social Media Appearance. You know the saying, “you only have once chance to make a first impression.” Sometimes that first impression might not be had in person. Some employers will search popular social media channels to get an understanding of who you are. It’s best to clean up any pictures you might not want a potential employer to see.

Common New Grad Travel Physical Therapist Mistakes – During Your Assignment

6) Not Asking For Help. As a new grad travel physical therapist you are not expected to know everything. It is best to ask for help if you need it. Don’t try and “wing it” if you aren’t sure what you are asked to do. Always be honest, especially early on. Being honest will give you respect in the eyes of your peers.

7) Not Asking Enough Questions. As a new grad travel physical therapist you might think you have all the answers to help diagnose your patient. But before beginning with treatment, make sure you feel confident that you have left no stone un-turn. Pain felt in one area could easily impact another area. These are things you patient might not know. So take the time to really understand before rushing to judgement.

8) Skipping Career Building Opportunities. Once you have settled into your grove expand your role. Volunteer to if needed. Expand on your CEUs. At Host Healthcare, we offer free, unlimited CEUs to our therapists.

9) Managing Time. You will need to develop time management skills as you enter the workforce. Sometimes this isn’t learned until you are on the job. Ask your peers for recommendations on how they manage their time. You don’t want to get behind or you will be stressed all day.

Common New Grad Travel Physical Therapist Mistakes – Lack of Connecting

10) Not Staying Connected With Your Recruiter. Your recruiter is a resource for you at all times during your travel physical therapy assignment. If you have a question, big or small, don’t hesitate to reach out to your recruiter. Don’t think you know the answer or think a peer is full informed. When in doubt, it’s best to go to your recruiter if you have a question about your assignment.

11) Not Making Friends With Co-Workers. Just because you are only at an assignment for a short period of time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your time. One of the best ways to enjoy your physical therapy travel assignment is to make friends with your co-workers. Plan events. Grab coffee. You never know what a new friendship could become.

12) Not Having a Mentor. Having a someone you can talk to about how to be the best at your job is something that benefit all careers. As a new grad travel therapist, having a mentor you can talk to will go a long way in achieving success on your first assignment. At Host Healthcare, we offer a mentorship program to our new grads. This person will be a resource for during your first six assignments.

Common New Grad Travel Physical Therapist Mistakes – Patient Mistakes

13) Not Educating Your Patients On The Why. Giving someone an exercise is not good enough. You need to explain the why. Why someone is feeling pain and how exercise will improve their situation? The more you can explain the better results you will get from your patients. Help them understand.

14) Forgetting To Re-Test. Testing gives a baseline for your patient. However, as your patient begins progressing on their exercises be sure to re-test to show progress. Don’t just go on look and feel.

15) Not Focusing On Technique. It’s tempting to just go through the motions. Practice makes perfect. It’s vital to demonstrate and have your patient follow perfect technique. Continuing to use poor technique can delay success and perhaps cause additional pain.

16) Not Providing Homework To Your Patients. Depending on your patients, you might only see them once a week. That being said, it is key to check in on them from time to time when needed. Provide friendly reminders that they stick with their exercises while they are at home. If they are traveling, be sure to help them find ways they can still do their homework on the road.

Common New Grad Travel Physical Therapist Mistakes – Session Management

17) Not Being Prepared for Your Session. As a physical therapist, you are responsible for improving the lives of your patients. Your work reduces pain and improves mobility for others. Not being prepared for every session cuts down on the time you have to heal your patients.

18) Cramming Too Much Into One Session. You have a limited time with each patient. Your goal should also be to get them on the right track as quickly as possible. If you attempt to treat an issue and recommend 5 different exercises to heal them. When they come back the next session with improvement, you will have to repeat what you did in an attempt to isolate which exercise helped them.

19) Treating Each Patient the Same. Just because two patients have similar diagnostics doesn’t mean you can treat them the same. Some patients you tell them once and show them the exercises and they will get it. Others will need more hand holding. Don’t be lazy and give the same response to everyone. Understand your patient and give them a path to success that works for them.

20) Letting Your Nerves Show. It’s okay to be nervous. Everyone when starting out a new job or career is nervous. They key is to not let your nerves get the best of you. Take a few deep breaths either before your day or before each session depending on what works for you. Have the confidence that you got your job for a reason. You can do anything you set your mind to.

Host Healthcare Travel Therapist

Host Healthcare offers an extensive list of travel therapist jobs. Call one of our friendly recruiters at (800) 585-1299. We are here to help you to get started.