In many cases, becoming a better physical therapist isn’t just about becoming more familiar with the technical knowledge you use every day, it’s about becoming a better communicator and remaining interested in field advancements. When you’re a travel therapist, the role of communication and knowledge takes on an even more important role. From one health care facility to another, you’ll encounter new situations, cultures and personalities. Keep reading for some key tips on becoming a better physical therapist:
1. Sharpen your interpersonal skills
Physical therapists are already compassionate, flexible and empathetic on the job. So, by focusing more attention on your interpersonal relationships, you’ll instantly improve your communication with co-workers at new facilities as well as your relationship with patients. Ideal Physical Therapy noted that a huge part of a therapist’s job is to calm patients’ nerves as they begin treatment. This becomes much easier with practice, so start by practicing “conscious empathy.” The University of California noted that one way to build empathy is to develop a sense of curiosity about other people. This can easily translate to the therapy setting. Not only should you be curious about your patients’ physical health, you should inquire about their mental states as well as ask what you can do to help them relax as they begin or continue the therapy process.
2. Broaden your medical knowledge on a daily basis
Whether you just graduated from school last week or it’s been a decade since you donned the cap and gown, you should look for opportunities to increase your knowledge base. Ankota noted that you don’t have to necessarily sit and pore over your old textbooks, but rather you could subscribe to a well-regarded journal or website. Always be on the lookout for ways in which you can increase your medical knowledge. You never know when an obscure fact or new study will help with one of your patients. Additionally, one great part of being a travel therapist is that you will encounter lots of other therapists – take the time to see what you can learn from other professionals in the field and share your experiences with others as well.
3. Take care of yourself. We said.
There’s simply no way around it – you can’t be a good physical therapist if you don’t take care of yourself first. Allied Health called durability one of the top four qualities the best physical therapists have. After all, the job of physical therapy is a demanding one – it requires you to be at the top of your game, physically speaking. For travel therapists, this will mean getting to know your new environment quickly. After you move to a new location you should make it a priority to discover where the best grocery stores, parks and gyms are at so you can stay physically fit. It can be tempting to rely on fast food after a long trip, but resist that urge and stay healthy. Your patients will be inspired by your commitment to an active lifestyle.