Starting a new therapy position can be exciting—but also scary. You want to make a good impression on your new colleagues and supervisors and show them you’re a valuable asset to the team. As a traveling therapist, I’ve become a pro at starting new jobs and making a great first impression. In my 15-year career, I’ve had over 50 first days.
Here are a few tips to make a great first impression as a therapist at your new job.
Be On Time and Prepared
Arriving to work on time and ready to start is the first way to make a great first impression. Many times, we don’t want to be late, but it just happens. New traffic patterns, parking, and getting lost finding the therapy department could all contribute to a late start.
But that doesn’t have to be you.
To practice getting from home to work on time, I recommend you do a dry run from your house to your new job before you actually start the first day. If possible, do it at the time that you’ll be commuting to work so you can understand the traffic patterns. You can go as far as to park your car and attempt to locate the rehab gym to see how long it takes to walk from your car to the office.
Once you have an estimate on how long it will take to commute to work, give yourself some extra time anyway. It’s always better to arrive early and have a moment to relax and breathe in your car than to be late.
Also, come prepared to do your job with the basic necessities like:
- Clipboard/notebook paper
- Water bottle
- Any clinical materials you carry with you
Starting your job ready to go with pen and paper in hand will boost your confidence to get started without having to ask your supervisor to provide you with the basics.
Be Friendly & Ready to Learn
When you start a new job, meeting new coworkers and greeting them with a smile and introduction goes a long way!
When you’re learning a new building and new systems, you want to put aside “the way you’ve always done things.” Clinicians can get off to a bad start when they go into a job and expect things to be done the exact same way they were done at their last job. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a traveler, it’s that each practice does things differently—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Go into your training with an open mind and learn the new systems at your job.
As you’re orienting, make sure to have a clipboard or notebook in hand to take notes about all of the things to know on the job, including:
- Door codes
- Important phone numbers, names, and phone extensions
- Process for getting/receiving MD orders (if needed at your setting)
- Types of documentation needed for each visit
Be Open to Feedback
Switching jobs and professional settings is very beneficial to your clinical development. Each new job comes with new patients to treat, new peers to learn from, and new challenges to problem solve. As clinicians, we are always learning. That’s why we use MedBridge, right?
While we learn through continuing education, there are also ample opportunities to learn on the job through formal or informal mentorship and feedback. Be open to feedback from peers at your new job and have a willingness to learn and grow in your new position.
Be Knowledgeable and Confident in Your Abilities
Finally, be confident in yourself. When you are confident in yourself and your abilities, you will show your new coworkers that you are a valuable asset to the team. You should be prepared to answer questions about your prior experiences and willing to share your unique knowledge and skills with others.
By following these tips, you can make a great first impression as a therapist at your new job. With a little effort, you can make a positive impression on your new colleagues and supervisors and start your new job off on the right foot. You’ve got this!