Making the most of mentorship
Ever heard of fake it til you make it? Well that’s fine and dandy until you are out in the real world and someone is sitting in front of you in pain, having constant dizziness, or not responding to your treatments. As a new grad I would say 80-90% of the cases are more straight forward than the lab practicals we faced in school. That being said, what do you do for that 10-20% that are outliers? This my friends is where having proper mentors in place has helped me help my patients. In the 1-2 months I have been working, I have had a couple patients that have left me scratching my head. This led to me reaching out to previous high school friends turned PT, professors, and colleagues to try and figure out what to do next.
In everyday life I know many people are afraid to ask for help because they fear how it will look if they do not know something that others find simple. However, that has never been the case for me. I love to ask questions and learn the best way to do something. I am never afraid to reach out for help and put in time outside of clinic to get better at my craft. I also am self-aware enough to realize that my 2-3 months of experience have nothing on 10-20 year clinicians. While our approaches may not be the same, having someone who has been through a similar case walk me through how to at least, “do no harm” is a very calming feeling. My personal mentors have helped walk me through difficult cases several times even in the last week.
I cannot explain how great it is to know that you have someone to turn to regardless of the case at hand. Do their ideas always work? No. In the physical therapy world one of the first things you learn is that each patient and physical therapist is different and what the “best” treatment is always depends. When you get into the complex cases, sometimes it takes a second, third, or fourth pair of eyes to come up with the proper intervention.
One of the most important things you can do as someone starting a new career is develop a network of people who have traveled the road ahead. Just like in life, it is hard to go down the right path without knowing what lies ahead. In the medical field it is especially tricky because you are dealing with other people who are coming to you for advice on how to get better. I guess some clinicians may feel confident enough to fake it until they make it (or break it) but I am not one to act like I know what is going on if I am clueless. I have told patients in clinic that their case is very peculiar and I am going to have to talk to some of my mentors, but I am going to do my best to help them through this. Just being a caring provider that is invested in their health is enough to at least buy me an extra visit or two to try and help.
If you are going through school or are a new grad I hope you understand the importance of having those mentors and never being afraid to ask for help. Once you are out in clinic, there are no more grades, it isn’t your classmates you are working on, and you have a wide network of people who will help if you reach out. One of my favorite experiences over these last two weeks was my first chance to help out a friend in need. I had someone reach out with a problem they were having and even if I wasn’t able to give them all of the answers or the outcome they desired, I think it always helps to have someone to talk through your issues with. I am excited to play the role of a mentor moving forward as I love helping others with their problems. Recently I have offered to help a friend take a little off her plate if she agreed to mentor me through the process. I sort of took the GaryVee approach to back dooring a mentor; however I do feel that adding benefit into other people’s lives give me joy so why not learn a little extra along the way.
Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this blog. It has taken me a little bit to realize that I am writing this more to help others see that someone else is going through similar issues or having similar thoughts as them. I do enjoy writing these thoughts down in the hopes that even 1-2 people find value in them. Happy Friday everyone and I will see you next time!
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.