In order to continue to succeed in your clinical practice, you’ll need to find ways to stay motivated. Mentors can provide you with the incentive to continue growing in your physiotherapy careers. Not only that, but they can also provide you with invaluable lessons from their extensive clinical experience.
An integral part of the growth cycle is learning by observation and a strong mentor can fuel your learning as you continue to develop and grow your practice.
Reasons it’s Important to Have Strong Mentor
Mentors provide guidance
If you choose a mentor who has resolved clinical cases similar to yours, or who has overcome obstacles that you yourself struggle with, you can learn ways to approach challenges with a patient that will give you the highest chance at success.
Mentors can save you from making the same mistakes
Learning from the mistakes of others is a necessary and vital part of learning. It means that you don’t have to try everything out yourself to figure out what works best for your clinical practice. That’s what mentors are for. They’re human - they’ve surely made mistakes along the way. By sharing the valuable lessons they’ve learned and mistakes they’ve made in their clinical practice, you’re able to learn these lessons without having to do all the legwork!
Mentors offer a different perspective
Mentors can also offer alternative perspectives. They can give you treatment ideas that you may not have thought of on your own. Mentors bring their own views and opinions to the table, and may even be able to help change yours. This is one of the reasons that mentors are as influential as they are. They serve as inspiration and give us new ways of thinking about our practice.
Mentors share their extensive experience
Before we have built up our own clinical experience, we can rely on the experience of our mentor. If you are ever unsure about a diagnosis or regimen to recommend, you can call up your mentor and talk it through with them. They’ve likely encountered something similar in their practice and can help you make the best decision.
Selecting the Right Mentor
Finding a mentor that’s right for you is important. Keep in mind that whomever you select could have a very strong influence over your clinical decisions, actions, and the way you practice for many years.
Determine your core values
You will want the mentor you choose to have treatment values and beliefs that make sense for you. Before selecting a mentor, you actually need to start by looking inward. Think about which areas of your clinical practice you’d like guidance and inspiration for. Examine yourself, and ask “what is important to me in my practice?”
You’ll need to understand what’s guiding you:
Is it growing your client base?
Finding a better work/life balance?
Do you want to specialize in a new kind of therapy?
Be honest. What will truly bring you a feeling of success in your physiotherapy practice?
You don’t want to end up following the advice of someone who is guided by vastly different treatment principles from yours. But, now that you’re clear on what those are, you can choose someone whose clinical values align with your own.
Pick someone who inspires you
Ask yourself if this potential mentor makes you feel inspired or motivated in your clinical practice. What new treatment methods could you learn from them? What have they accomplished in their practice that you admire?
A mentor may be a physiotherapist who has achieved some of the same results that you are hoping to attain. They might specialize in a type of therapy you’d like to learn more about or they might be someone who has faced the same kinds of patient challenges you’re facing. They could even be a practitioner who simply has habits or an outlook that you admire.
The most important factor about a physiotherapist mentor is how they make you feel. Do they inspire confidence and admiration? Do you feel that you can be honest with them?
Asking Someone to Be Your Mentor
If you already have a relationship with the physiotherapist you’d like to mentor you, congratulations, you’re halfway there! Just be clear about what you’re hoping to get out of the new relationship and ask if they’d be open to mentoring you.
If you’re reaching out to someone new to be your mentor, you might want to ask them for an initial meeting at their clinic or invite them out for a coffee. Let them know that you admire what they’ve done in their physiotherapy practice, that you would love to get their advice and learn more from them. If the initial meeting goes well and you feel that you could have an open dialogue with them, send a follow up asking them if they’d be open to meeting more regularly.
When someone has experienced success as a physiotherapist, they often want to share their knowledge and experience with others. So why not let them? A good mentor-mentee relationship is beneficial to the both of you.
How to Make the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship
Now that you have a physiotherapist mentoring you, you cannot simply sit back and hope to absorb everything they’ve learned in their practice. You need to be an active part of this relationship to make the most of it.
Stay tuned for our next blog post where we explore how to make the most of your physiotherapy mentoring relationship.