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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Low Man on the Totem Pole

Published September 10, 2009 9:33 AM by Lisa West
I'm a new hire, and a new grad on top of it.  I try not to cross any lines at work.  There are situations and policies I disagree with (strongly), but I bite my tongue and convince myself there will be a better time to voice my opinion.  The people I work with have been there longer than I have, and been practicing longer than I have, so they probably know more about these things than I do, anyway. 

However, there are some instances when it really, really sucks being a new hire.  

1. There is no reason why my vacation requests are less important that yours. I suppose that it must come down to something, so seniority is the judge.

2. I don't enjoy being spoken to as if I was incompetent of higher-level thinking. An RN belittled me in front of a patient and family members when I asked how to clamp an NG tube. I'm not an idiot, I just haven't done this before.

3. Learning the "unwritten rules" of the therapy department- what topics are/are not appropriate for lunch, which people get along and who doesn't...what does all the non-verbal language from my supervisor really mean?

4. Hierarchy. Isn't health care about teamwork?

5. There are some subjects I know a lot about because it's fresh in my mind- (ultrasound parameters, contraindications to e-stim) that some of my coworkers don't remember. It's not a bad thing, in acute care the focus isn't on using ultrasound for pain relief, but it does come up. In these situations I have to remind myself that I, too, will forget all these details with time, and it doesn't mean my coworkers are less skilled than I. In fact, many of my coworkers are much more experienced than I and are able to teach me a lot about working in this acute care setting.

6. Time. My productivity is often lower than my coworkers because it takes me more time to find supplies and equipment, or RNs or charts. I am still learning the physical location of these things, and some of my time is wasted trying to gather everything I need before a treatment session.

Next week I will be writing about all of the reasons it is GREAT to be a new hire!  Stay tuned.

posted by Lisa West

3 comments

New grad and new hire is an especially exciting position.  Kinda like high school...memories I'll carry forever, never want to do it again.

You made lots of good points.  The one that really stuck out to me is the time off.  As a new hire and new grad, I felt it was my duty to work holidays.  I wasn't married, I didn't have any kids,  and my family was 600 miles away.  As much as I would have liked to have seen them, I felt like my co-workers with small children at home needed the time more than I did and hoped that when I was in that position I'd be surrounded by people who felt the same way.

As I was thinking about this I realized I would not feel as obliged - or obliged at all - if I was a new hire with twenty years of experience and small kids at home.  

I also realized that a lot has changed since I was a new grad...there are more people returning to school now at different stages of life.  In the last six years I've had three friends who went back to school for nursing...all with small children.

So while I attributed my sense of duty to being a new hire and a new grad, rethinking it, it was really more a matter of station in life.

The other one that stood out was #2- "I'm not an idiot, I just haven't done this before."  A few years into practice, I realized I was getting frustrated with patients who  didn't "get" the home programs.  Then it hit me, I wasn't rightfully frustrated with the patients, I was tired of explaining the directions for the umpteeth hundredth time!  But to each patient, it was their first time hearing the explanation.  Maybe those nurses and other health care professionals who are treating you as an imcompetent have forgotten that they are telling YOU the information for the first time.  I'm sure you can remind them sweetly in a way that will smooth the road for the next newbie.

janey goude September 12, 2009 9:47 PM

Every new job is like this.  You are right when it comes to the "unwritten rules".  As a new grad I accidently sat in the charge nurses chair at the nsg station.  

You would have thought WWIII began.  It's funny now but at the time I didn't know only the charge nsg sat there.  

Remember to have fun at work as well.  

Jason September 10, 2009 9:50 PM

The case is same even if you have experience in your home country and not in America. You are new and moved to USA, recently passed license for Physical Therapist, have to face the same odds.. I think one will learn in no time and get used to the ways the system function...

Rajya September 10, 2009 12:31 PM

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