Networking—or communicating and building connections with other professionals in your field—is easier today than ever before. That’s because the Internet and social media give Physical and Occupational Therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists many more networking avenues beyond in-person professional events.
Make time! It’s invaluable
Therapists have packed daily schedules and interact with people all day long. Connecting with coworkers or commenting on Linked In Groups may be the last thing on your mind after a long day. And spending a weekend at an association event might not be too high on your list either. However, mingling with other therapists, whether online or in person, benefits your practice and your career in valuable ways. The time you spend networking will lead to the following benefits:
- Insight and advice of other therapy professionals about different treatments and techniques.
- Knowledge of the latest research, upcoming events, and issues the therapy profession is currently facing.
- Relationships with other therapists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals, which may develop into partnerships or help you to land patient referrals to your practice.
- More career options. By meeting others in the healthcare field, you may learn about open positions and get your name out there as a potential candidate.
Tips for networking online
Social media provides plenty of ways for therapists to communicate with each other. If you don’t yet have accounts in the following sites, you might consider opening one for the following reasons:
- Pinterest – This site is designed for sharing visual information. Patients and therapists alike use this site for sharing ideas and useful tips. This site has a treasure trove of infographics and useful summaries of treatment options.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn is designed to help you stay in touch with colleagues and connect with other therapists. This site is a great place to learn about other rehabilitation companies and contact therapists who work there. Many therapists also enjoy LInkedIn’s conversation groups.
- Twitter – Most therapists think of Twitter as a mini blog. It’s best used for searching topics and finding out about the therapy news trends. Associations regularly use Twitter to communicate about their events.
- Facebook – Facebook Groups are great for sharing information and getting to know other therapists. Most groups require approval before you can join them.
- Professional Blogs – Don’t forget to look online for blogs that might interest you. Any google search will pull up your available options. Every association has it’s own blog and links to other forums that might be helpful.
Using social media, you can post information that will help to establish you as a knowledgeable therapist. You’ll also have the opportunity to read the content of other influential people in your field. When posting anything on the Internet, always remember to be courteous: online interactions may feel anonymous, but they are part of a permanent record.
Take advantage of face-to-face networking opportunities
Though online interaction is far-reaching, meeting other healthcare professionals in person has distinct advantages. Your attendance at one of your association’s events will give you the opportunity to interact with speakers and colleagues in live discussions. Alumni events at your University Alma Mater and continuing education courses are also great places to network.
Consider attending therapy events with your coworkers—you may know different people, you’ll both benefit from making introductions. Always bring business cards to make it easy to exchange information. And be ready to smile, mingle and share stories with your therapy colleagues.
It’s important to reach out
The more people you know, the wider your web of influence. Networking is an important way to develop your therapy career through the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and information with your colleagues.
Are you a therapist looking to expand your career?