I strongly believe all OTs need a mentor. My goal here at The Virtual Pediatric OT and in my programs Accelerating Pediatric OTs with Mentorship is to help pediatric Occupational Therapists, like you, become efficient, confident, and achieve balance. Here is my guide on how to find an occupational therapy mentor.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about why I feel it is so important for new grad occupational therapists to work in settings with occupational therapy practitioners, why I feel this lack of support is contributing to the burn-out in our profession, and how you can find the support you need.
Right now so many occupational therapists are working alone. Especially in pediatrics. It is unfortunate but with the move toward more contract work, home health, and teletherapy a lot of times there are no other employment options. When I started out I was lucky enough to work in a clinic-type environment where I not only had 6 occupational therapists to bounce ideas off of in the treatment room and in our office AND lunch room but also to WATCH them treat.
Even with all this support, we felt overwhelmed and quickly burnt out. This problem has only been compounded by increased productivity demands.
Even though you feel overworked and have little free time. I recommended therapists do 2 things. First, find support. Next work toward having systems and processes in place which will eventually SAVE time.
Not sure you need a mentor? See my post 8 Reasons you Need an Occupational Therapy Mentor.
Different types of mentors and what to look for in a mentor will be discussed in a future post.
Let’s face it, we all got into OT to help people, or at least I hope so! But it is so easy to burn out, even just out of school! Why? Many OTs are now on their own without a true community and mentorship. We give so much to our clients, but you need support.
Going it alone with no mentorship = less job satisfaction = less work-life balance = burnout
How can we avoid this? Find a Community and a Mentor!
How to Find an Occupational Therapy Mentor and the Support You Need
1 – Start with your colleagues both past and present
This first one is obvious. Can you organize Monday evening dinners? A group text? Even other disciplines can be really helpful.
2 – Former Professors and OT school classmates
Do you have an alumni Facebook group or directory where you can reach out?
3- Facebook Groups
There are a lot of large Facebook groups where you can ask questions. Realize that most of the asked questions revolve around specific cases. “I have a child who….” There is a lot you can learn in these groups about treatments just by reading. I do think these groups are frequented by newer OTs so go into them thinking of it as peer support.
4 – Online Group Mentorship
There are PAID groups (such as my group Rock Your OT Practice). What you are paying for here is an experienced OT in your setting who has spent time developing a mentorship program. These may or may not include items such as course materials, group coaching sessions, and Q&As. In a future post, we will discuss how to determine which format best serves our mentorship needs.
5 – Online Individual Mentorship
There are several different types of individual mentorship. If you want learn more about my program you can make a free call below.
Continuing Education Courses
I want to mention this as a way to learn new treatment techniques, as many newer OTs start here and I do think it is important, but it isn't SUPPORT. Many OTs think their biggest challenge as new therapists is learning how to TREAT. But that is not the big picture. There is so much more that goes into being a great therapist than the latest treatment technique. If you can find an in-person local CEU class though, it may turn out to be a great networking opportunity.
There are quite a few ways to find a pediatric occupational therapy mentor.
No matter how you find your support, going it alone is just not the answer. I have seen too many OTs without support start to question their career choices and then consider changing jobs or even careers. I love our profession, so this issue is close to my heart.
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