Physical Therapy Practice: Training new hires

Turn-over in a physical therapy practice is going to happen, no matter how great of an employer you think you are!  Take each turnover position as a new opportunity to make your practice better.  Whether the employee moved on or was let go, use this chance to find someone even more passionate and better for the newly opened position.  

Hourly, office level positions tend to have more turn-around due to the higher level of stress and sometimes more of a “stepping stone” position for young employees wanting to be in the medical arena.  Let’s face it, the front desk is stressful.  This is where patients tend to express their dis satisfactions; less often to their therapist.  Your receptionist needs to be sweet and kind-hearted, yet strong enough to be able to not take these negative interactions too personally.  We also tend to have a good number of receptionists that apply for a position with us in order to get their foot in the door in the medical community to either get into school or to beef up their resume.  To ideally find someone in it for the long-haul can be the best option, but not always realistic.  These shorter term employees should not always be a deal breaker.  Even though they may not be with you long term, they can be a valuable asset during the time they are there.  

Physical therapists tend to stay put for longer duration; at least in my opinion this is smart.  I never hire physical therapists that are “job jumpers”; too many jobs on a resume in a short period of time reflects negatively.  It’s not good for our patients either.  Our clinics have patients that come back time and time again and seek out a specific therapist; it creates a sense of family for the patient to be able to rely on that therapist being there to see them for any need that might come up.

Training your new team member is probably the most important part training they will receive during the lifetime with your company.  If it starts out on a bad note, it sets a negative tone throughout the course of their employment.  Let your entire team become a part of the training process, no matter if it is a new therapist or a new receptionist.  Each current employee’s interaction with them brings them closer together as a team.  

When training a new physical therapist/occupational therapist: 

  • Receptionist – Have them train the new therapist on how to look at the schedule and find pertinent patient information within the software you use.
  • Clinical Aide – Have them go through an orientation of the gym and standard employee processes, such as time off requests or patient incident reports.
  • Billing Clerk – They can go over how the billing works and refresh the therapist on standard coding practices.

When training a new front or back office position:

  • Therapist – Educate the new hire on what PT/OT entails and what kinds of patients you may see at your facility.  
  • Clinical Aide – They can train this position on standard employee processes, as well as equipment needs or self-pay products that patients can purchase at the front desk.

Having a formal process for how you train your new employees is key.  So if you currently do not have a process for this, STOP what you’re doing and come up with something!

Systems and programs you use in your clinic can contribute to training complexity and frustrations.  If this is a challenge in your clinic, click here for more details of how we can help you!

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