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6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a New Grad Occupational Therapist

by C.J. Allen, OTR/L, CHT

Congratulations! If you’re reading this article, you’ve come to the point where you’re ready to hire a new occupational therapist for your practice or department. That’s fantastic news, and it tells me that you’re doing a lot of things right in your business.

You have to gauge their potential based on fieldwork and whatever jobs they held before they attended OT school. But I’m of the firm belief that new grad OTs are the best possible hires for your clinic.

Here’s why.

1. A new grad OT has not had time in practice to develop bad habits.

We all know those seasoned OTs who are set in their ways. Talented and experienced as they are, they are resistant to change. Like old neighborhood curmudgeons, they balk at any change in processes, and heaven forbid you should adopt a new documentation system.

2. New grads OTs are very motivated and driven by success.

OTs coming out of school are hungry. They’re hungry for knowledge and hungry to pay off their loans, and they’re willing to work hard and go the distance to make a positive impression. This is so helpful to you, the practice owner, as you can help inspire these green OTs to flourish at your clinic.

A typical new grad occupational therapist is eager to earn as much money as possible to pay off student loans, so he or she will usually be happy to pick up overtime shifts during nights and weekends. Not only does this help your practice expand its hours, it has a bonus effect: word of mouth marketing will generate new clients who are seeking flexible appointment times.

3. New grads are still enthusiastic about the occupational therapy profession.

Let’s face it: after many years of working in the same profession, we don’t always have the same enthusiasm we once did. I still love being an occupational therapist, but I have outside obligations that demand my time and keep me from being an OT first. If I were to consider becoming a CHT today instead of many years ago, I’d have many other factors to consider, including family obligations.

New OTs tend to be less tied down and, let’s face it, younger than we more experienced occupational therapists are. This enables them to pursue specializations and certifications, such as my employee, Matthew Alpert, MS, OTR/L, a new graduate who is studying to become a CHT while working at my clinic.

4. Hire a new grad OT to enable senior therapists to learn and stay current with the OT profession.

In the same vein as the above point, more experienced OTs might have more finely honed clinical skills, but they’re not always the most up to date with professional, educational, and technological news as new grads are. In fact, new OTs are generally more tech savvy overall. As we “old guard” clinicians struggle to keep up with social media, inbound marketing, and other hot ways that clinics are leveraging technology to build customer bases, new grads can help us understand these trends and implement necessary changes to our practices to ensure our survival.

By understanding these new grads’ concerns and struggles, we can ensure that we provide an ideal work environment for young clinicians, rather than struggling with having to hire a new clinician every 6 months to a year.

5. New grad OTs may be of particularly good help for certain populations of patients.

For example, even though I run a hand therapy clinic, I am especially thrilled to have my new graduate OT on the team, because he is fresh on the practices of neuro-rehab from his multiple clinical affiliations/fieldworks in various placement settings. This has helped him to incorporate novel treatment approaches to my standard model of practice, and we have seen incredible outcomes because of it.

6. New grads have a fresh outlook that is always welcomed to the practice.

When you hire a new grad, you’re getting someone in the honeymoon stage of both their new profession and their new job. They believe that anything is possible and they are eager to try new processes to improve clinic flow. They might question why certain things are done they way they are, and that’s generally a good thing. New grads are excited to get to work every day, while the rest of us, though happy, might not be as enthused about a work day.

Trust me, hire a new grad occupational therapist. Doing so has been one of the best decisions I have ever made for my practice.



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