Physical therapy school is over, and you are now in your first year as a physical therapist. There is no question that you experience anxiety during this time. You suddenly realize that real-world therapy is different from the classroom. You can survive and even thrive during your first year as a physical therapist. Here is how you can be successful during year one.
How to Be Successful As A First Year Physical Therapist
Your physical therapy education does not end when PT school is over. It is vital that you continue learning daily. Consider taking continuing education courses or following physical therapy blogs and websites. Bookmark articles of interest so you can spend your time reading and reviewing when you have a pause in your schedule. You do not need to limit your continual learning to physical therapy alone. You can learn a foreign language or even learn to play a musical instrument. Just keep learning.
Consider making the scout motto your own. It may seem evident, but you must be prepared and know your role as a physical therapist. It can be nerve-wracking. In school, you performed multiple procedures as a student. Now, you are treating patients for real, independently. In the clinic, especially in your first year, you will be treating common and uncommon injuries that you may have never seen. Review your notes and articles from school, and do not hesitate to ask colleagues for suggestions. It might be your first time treating a specific problem, but prepare yourself as if it is No. 10.
Ask for Help
Chances are, there are experienced clinicians in your clinic who are open and willing to answer your questions or review techniques. Please, ask for their help and advice. Remember that experienced clinicians can help you co-treat a patient or give you a second opinion if you need one. It is wise to get extra eyes on a patient if you get stuck.
Appreciate Your Co-Workers
Bonding with your co-workers can make your job special. Not only can you ask for advice on treating patients, but you also have someone to chat with during your lunch break. Did you relocate after PT school? Your co-workers might become your first friends in your new location. They can give you excellent tips on where to go and where to eat. It is nice to pause and talk with someone who understands exactly how you feel during a hectic day.
Keep Time Free for Hobbies
School is out, and now you suddenly have free time again. Sure, you could go home and turn on the television every night. However, in time this becomes incredibly boring. It is imperative that you have hobbies and fun in your life. You can take an exercise or jazzercise class. You can paint, draw, play an instrument, collect stamps or work in your garden. The list is endless. Hobbies take your mind off worries and give you something to look forward to at the end of a long day.