Do you wish that you had therapists knocking on your door, asking to work for you?  Starting a mentorship program is a step in the right direction. Therapists are looking to connect with clinics that allow them to continue learning and developing through a mentorship program.

As young therapists begin their careers, a mentorship program offers an intermediate step between college and the working world. Many recent graduates consider continuing their education with an academic residency program. However, a mentorship program offers therapists supervised experience with out incurring the additional tuition costs of a residency.  In addition, mentorship programs are more flexible and shorter-term than post-college residencies.  Mentorship programs help new therapists ease their way into their profession and develop confidence.

Build your facility’s good reputation

Offering a mentorship program can give you a decided advantage when it comes to recruiting therapists. These types of programs help your facility earn a reputation in the rehabilitation industry as a great place to work and establish your commitment to excellence. Therapists are learners and researchers by nature. Providing time to continue these activities sets your facility apart.

So what are the best ways to develop a mentorship program within your facility?

Mentorship program best practices

The goal of a mentorship program is to help a new PT develop their clinical skills with guidance from someone with industry experience — in other words, a career mentor. Consider the following suggestions for creating mentorship opportunities:

  • Pair new therapists with experienced therapists. As you bring freshly graduated therapists on board, pair them up with an experienced staff member. The new therapist will be able to learn the ropes and your experienced staff will learn new ways of doing things. Both participants receive continued education that spans beyond the classroom.
  • Plan a social component to your program. Fun outings, whether dinner, a trip to a museum or educational event, or even attending company meetings together, help mentors and mentees get to know one another. Trust is an important component of every mentor/mentee relationship that takes time to develop.
  • Make sure your mentors have time to mentor.  Mentorship takes clinical time, as well. Experienced therapists and new therapists need 1 or 2 hours a week to meet. During this time they can review documentation, demonstrate techniques, and discuss treatment ideas for current patients.
  • Use a comprehensive, six-month rotational system. To help new therapists gain experience with different segments of your patient population, you can set up six month rotations within your facility. For example, every six months, new PTs shift to work with a mentor that services another patient segment. This will help your new PTs strenghthen their treatment knowledge and gain confidence, and provide you with a well-rounded new therapist who can provide coverage anywhere in your system.
  • Ask your mentors and mentees to share what they’re working on with the rest of your staff. Knowing that they have to present an inservice adds a layer of accountability to the program and helps mentors and mentees decide what skills to focus on. Plus, the time they’ve invested in this program benefits the whole department.
  • Don’t forget to tell great mentor/mentee success stories. Just as you promote your patient stories, get your PR department involved in spreading the good news about your mentorship program.
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In summary

A mentorship program can help your new therapists get started down a positive path with their careers — and you’ll have an excellent recruitment tool that will help you stand out from the other facilities in your area.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of a mentorship program and how to link new PTs up with career mentors, check this article which outlines a variety of internship types and how to connect with one.

Are you looking to supplement your workforce?

You may be looking for recent college grads or seasonsed therapy professionals to round out your workforce. But whatever your staffing needs, PT Solutions can help. We’re a healthcare staffing agency run by therapists, and we understand the ins and outs of the healthcare industry. To learn more about the ways PT Solutions can work with you for a full therapy staff, contact one of our experienced recruiters today.

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