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5 Ways to Entice New Grad PT Students to Work for You

by Karl Bourne Jr., SPT

Graduating from PT School can be a relieving yet stressful time. For the graduate, there is a mixture of different emotions. You feel anxiety about studying and passing your boards in a timely fashion. However, you can’t help but feel pure bliss that all your hard work in school is about to pay off. Along with passing boards, the stress of finding a job becomes a reality. In an economy where money talks, there is an enormous fear of missing out. Truth be told, those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.

After being in a doctorate program of this caliber, there is a hefty balance that Uncle Sam needs to be paid. Many students voice their displeasure with the amount of their loans compared to the projected salary they will make. Even though students are not completely happy with this, they focus on getting a job first. So now the question may be asked, “How can you get DPT students to work for you after graduation?”

1. Social media

We live in a world that is dominated by social media. Physical therapy programs have Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages to market themselves to prospective students. These programs understand the effectiveness of social media in building their brand. As an avid user of these different platforms, I can testify firsthand how important social media can be. So, in order to get DPT students to work for you, one of the things you need is social media.

People love feeling like they are a part of something special. As human beings, we thrive off being placed in a position where we can be influential and be in the spotlight. You should consider creating a social media page for your clinics. By having a social media page, you can create an audience and build your clinic’s brand. As minor as it seems, this can be persuasive in getting a new grad to work for you. This is only successful if you implement it the right way.

Think about ways that they can get involved with social media. Maybe they have some experience with social media marketing which can lead to more patients for your clinic. In this case, apply some kind of incentive for the new grad to step in and help out with social media. For some this might be financial, but for others it may be for gift cards or another appropriate reward. Some clinicians and clinic owners might be reading this and questioning the benefit of something like this. I urge you to remember something. When you take care of your team and treat them properly, utilizing their unique strengths and interests, they will in turn give you their best day in and out.

2. Company culture

In addition to social media, you must think of a way to create a fun work environment. Yes, I know, we are here to rehab our patients and help them reach their short and long-term goals. However, physical therapy can be unpleasant and painful for patients. To compensate for the unpleasant aspects of treatment, there should be an atmosphere of fun. Any new grad would be grateful for an opportunity to work in an enjoyable environment. After years of hard work in school, nothing is better than being a clinician somewhere that creates an atmosphere of excitement. I call this a win-win situation. You have clinicians that come to work every day knowing they won’t be in a highly stressful environment. Plus, you have patients that come to therapy knowing their therapist loves what they do and has the patient’s best interest in mind. Granted, every day will not be perfect, but creating this type of setting will pay off for both parties in the long run.

3. Cultivate growth

Among the previous things I mentioned, I believe there is something that is more important than anything else. If you want a new grad PT to work for you, your clinic needs to be like a garden. You heard me correctly. In a garden, you plant seeds with the intention of them blossoming into something better. The same principle should apply when you are hiring a new grad PT. If you really want us to work for you, present us with an opportunity to grow. From numerous conversations I’ve had, it seems like many places have strayed away from this. New grads want to have the chance to be part of a company that can help them evolve. Change is at the forefront of our profession. We see laws being passed; some states that once did not allow direct access have evolved, and this is the new norm. States that didn’t allow dry needling have moved towards that form of therapy or are considering it. The schooling in our profession has also evolved from a master’s program to a doctorate program. All of these point to the importance of providing opportunities for new grads to evolve.

Some of us have big aspirations. We want to become directors of clinics, clinic owners, and much more. So, when we sit at the table across from our interviewer, we are looking for the chance to become the clinician of our dreams. I am not saying we should be promised the world. I am well aware we need to be able to show our value and earn our stripes. It is not even about getting a promotion within the clinic. New grads would like to know how their skills will be developed. Will being a part of your company help us grow as clinicians and professionals? Will you provide us with the resources to venture out on our own in the future? These questions need to be answered.

4. Be transparent

We know more about business than you think and are empathetic and respect what you have grown as a business owner. Contrary to popular belief we are not expecting everything for nothing. Even though we may be new grads, here are a few things we do understand that an employer is responsible for:

  • Overhead costs
  • Employee health insurance
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Patient drop-offs
  • Employee raises in the face of low insurance reimbursement
  • Employee retention and turnover

If the employer is willing to be transparent with us, they may find that new grads could be their best employees to help them transform their problems into cash. What some new grads lack in experience, we make up for with unique skill sets. It’s safe to say that employers would be appreciative of a new grad that is well versed in how cash flow happens. With our fresh and enthusiastic attitudes, we can find innovative ways to help with cost efficiency.

5. Be open minded

Throughout our schooling, we learn a multitude of things. It’s impossible to remember all of them. We understand even if we remember everything, we’ll still always have more to learn. Being a student is a lifelong journey that extends beyond PT school. We are fully aware that, when we enter the workforce, we must be open minded. Different clinics and settings entail different practices. In order to be a successful clinician, we must conform to the successful ways of our clinic. However, there can be a barrier between the student and teacher. As the employer, we have admiration for your level of expertise. As new grads, we will be sponges and soak up what you tell us. On the other hand, we want to work somewhere that our voices can and will be heard. Please give us an opportunity to share our ideas and feelings that can improve the clinic.

In closing, if you want to get a new grad to work for you, these are the things you may want to consider. Keep in mind that your clinic is your responsibility. This includes your staff, billing, resources, and, more importantly, your patients. You have to hire someone that fits the vision that you have for your clinic. New grads have the chance to pick the company they work for. They can accept or decline any offer that they receive. Just like the directors of a clinic can accept or decline an applicant. Let’s ensure you can get these new clinicians to work for you. By being so young in their career, they have a lot to give. If you can implement the things I mentioned, you will find enthusiastic and optimistic new grads that are ready to help make your clinic better.


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