Working as a physical therapist (PT) in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) is rewarding. This health care setting offers the opportunity to witness improvement in the quality of life of your patients. Additionally, it is nice to work in a relaxed, home-like environment.
While there are fantastic SNFs, there are also facilities that challenge ethical boundaries while taking advantage of new graduates. There are considerations to weigh before you take a job at a facility. You wish to protect your license and career and avoid burnout. Before you accept a job as an SNF, consider these 9 questions.
What Are the Specific Productivity Requirements?
Yes, productivity is a fact of life in most therapy settings. However, not all health care settings are equal. SNFs are known to have the highest production standards across all settings.
Are There Mentors for New Graduates?
Working in an SNF provides experience in a variety of diagnoses and caseloads. As a new graduate, you must find your bearings. Having an experienced therapist available for questions is critical for a recent graduate. Lack of support puts you at a disadvantage from day one.
If you are interested in a particular patient population such as neuro or orthopedics, be sure to ask about the general rehab population.
Do Your Research
It is unfortunate, but some SNFs are unethical and fraudulent. Many SNFs will pressure therapists into inappropriate billing practices. You can check for legal action against a prospective employer with a simple Google search.
Can You Shadow Therapists Before Taking the Job?
Management cannot cover everything in a job interview. If you can shadow for a few hours, you can get an accurate feel for the job. It also gives you the opportunity to communicate with current therapists and ask questions before committing.
What Is the Policy for Low Census?
A low census can be problematic in any health care setting when getting hours and getting paid. Where do you stand regarding hours and pay if the caseload stays low for days or weeks? Can you float to other facilities?
Is Therapy In-House or Contracted Out?
When you apply for your SNF position, find out if the unit is in-house or contracted. Many therapists prefer in-house therapy units when working in SNFs because it can mean fewer ethical dilemmas than for-profit companies.
What Is the Therapist/Assistant Ratio?
Finding out the ratio is essential, especially if you are a new graduate. How many assistants will you supervise? A low ratio is ideal and the higher the ratio, the more challenging it is to meet productivity requirements.
What Are the Benefits of Full-Time Employment?
If the offer is for a full-time position, inquire about health insurance, paid time off (PTO), holiday pay and retirement contributions. Some companies also offer continuing education options and tuition reimbursement.
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