Per Diem Tips
I have worked on and off at several facilities throughout the years and have compiled some tips for those who seek employment outside of their full-time position. After the initial start date and wage negotiation has been done, these are other relevant points to keep in mind.
1. How do I get into the facility? I have been sent to places where the entry was a mystery and I waited until I saw a door open or someone coming out and sprang from my car to reach the door in time before it locked. Fortunately this did not happen much, but if you are unfamiliar with the facility or area where you are sent to work, it is good to ask. Also ask about parking and where the "best" spot would be.
2. Who is in charge of the rehab department? It is nice to have a name that the facility recognizes when you introduce yourself to patients and staff. This also comes in handy when you need to call and verify hours worked or get directions to the facility.
3. Keys. When I stroll into a facility, the expectation is that the rehab gym is open and I can get to work right away. However, most departments lock their doors (one place also hid the phone because of staff calling long-distance on the weekends from their office). Ask who has a spare key and where the key should be. Another place I worked hid the spare key under a stairwell and the housekeeper directed me to where it was hidden.
4. Patient list. One thing that irritated me more than anything else was not finding a patient list when I finally got into the rehab gym. That big white board with patient names on it meant nothing to me, I wanted a printed list of the patients to see and how many minutes I needed to see them.
5. Other therapy staff. Will I have to compete for time with the OT and ST or can I see the patients at a leisurely pace without worrying whether they will have the energy to do PT?
6. Paperwork/Computer work. Paperwork is relatively easy but do you know where to find it? Some facilities have a soft chart in the department (locked away in a file cabinet - now where is that key?) and some will keep it in the patient's chart. If it is computer work, is there someone who can guide you through setting up a password system and entering data?
And one more thing to add, keep the facility phone number handy. Pick up a business card from the front office, just in case you need it.