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Life of a PTA

The ‘Newbie'... Again

Published April 11, 2014 4:27 PM by Allison Young

Well, I'm finishing my first week at a new facility and still trying to catch my breath. For those readers not familiar with my professional exploits, I resigned from a PTA position that I held for three years and started working in a similar setting (skilled nursing, long-term care) just this past week. As I reflect on the past few days, I've come up with a short list of unsolicited advice for anyone thinking about or preparing for a new job.

1. Take some time off between jobs. I say this because I did not and I highly regret my decision. My last day of work at my previous place of employment was on a Friday and I began my new job the following Monday. Saying "goodbye" to close colleagues and patients was exponentially harder than I thought it was going to be. As well, meeting all my new coworkers and orienting to a completely different facility just a few days later was exhausting. Even a four-day weekend off between locations would have renewed my energy.

2. On your first day of work, come early and stay late. This is obvious, of course. Your first day on the job is overwhelming between learning the layout of a large facility or hospital and the (always) unfamiliar EMR system the rehab utilizes -- you'll need the extra time.

3. Introduce yourself to the entire facility/clinic staff. This is crucial in making a positive impression particularly with nursing, one of the most important groups in the facility. Whether it is the RN or housekeeper, you will be communicating with these hard-working folks on a daily basis. You want them to know you are a team player.

4. Spend extra time getting to know your new patients. Refrain from charting during the session and really begin a conversation with each patient. If you work full-time, you'll be visiting with this person almost every day. Again, make them feel comfortable with you on day one and you'll be building a solid foundation of trust, which will carry over each therapy session.

These are just a few of my initial thoughts on the "first week" at my new job. I'm sure there is much more sound advice that I welcome readers to suggest or comment on. Generally though, I was struck with how universally therapy can be applied in different settings and ultimately, how important our profession is to the healthcare of our patients -- at any age.

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1 comments

Loved the article, loaded with self -help advise for any healthcare worker entering a new job as a PTA. Would love to ask your advise as I have not been practicing for some years and am presently striving to become marketable. P.S. I believe there is no other more rewarding job, than that of a PTA. ( exception:motherhood)

Brenda , PTA April 13, 2014 2:58 PM
New Jersey

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