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The importance of mentorship – Raising the bar in travel therapy

A large concern for new graduates of DPT programs across the country is selectin the right first position out of school. Many professors and tenured therapists would agree that mentorship for any new graduate in their first position out of school is imperative. But what does mentorship look like? How do we define mentorship? There are several different forms of mentorship including residencies & fellowship. on-site mentors at the facility, and off-site mentors. What does a typical time line to ramp up to a full patient caseload look like for a new graduate? How does ramp up time and mentorship vary for those who accept permanent positions and those who decide to travel straight out of PT school? I was curious myself and conducted a recent survey to gain further insight into this topic.

Let us first look at average ramp up time to full caseload. The figures below demonstrate the difference in ramp up time between those that accepted permanent positions and those that accepted travel positions.

For those accepting permanent positions, 5.26% received 1 day, 11.84% received 2-3 days, 23.68% received 1 week, 35.53% received 2-3 weeks, 15.79% received 4-6 weeks, and 7.89% received >6 weeks to ramp up to full case load. It is important to note that many of those receiving 4+ weeks of ramp-up time were in residency/fellowship programs and/or worked for an outpatient clinic (either hospital-based or private practice). For new grads seeking 4+ weeks of ramp up time to reach full caseload, a residency may be the route to take.

For those accepting travel positions, 26.09% received 1 day, 43.47% received 2-3 days, 26.09% received 1 week, and 4.35% received 2-3 weeks to ramp up to full caseload.

Therefore, travelers in general are expected to ramp up to full caseload faster than the majority of new grads who accepted permanent positions, however, increased ramp up time is not guaranteed with any every permanent position demonstrated by the fact that 40.78% of new graduates accepting permanent positions had 1 week or less to ramp up to full caseload. This is something that should definitely be discussed during any permanent or travel interview. Know yourself and what you’re comfortable with.

Now let’s take a look at mentorship. Professors and tenured therapists often times state that traveling is inappropriate due to lack of mentorship. Is there a huge difference between mentorship amongst those who take permanent positions and those who choose to travel?

In those who accepted permanent positions, 76.31% received some form of mentorship. Of those receiving mentorship 86.20% received on-site mentorship and 13.79% received an off-site mentor. Of new graduates accepting permanent positions, 23.68% received no form of mentorship. Every new graduate enrolled in a residency or fellowship program received an on-site mentor.

In those who accepted travel positions, 60.87% received some form of mentorship. Of those receiving mentorship 64.29% received on-site mentorship and 35.71% received an off-site mentor. Of new graduates accepting travel positions, 39.13% received no form of mentorship.

While those new graduates who accepted permanent positions were more likely to receive mentorship and on-site mentorship, the results are not as drastically different as one might have expected.

In todays’ travel therapy industry, there are companies who are passionate about providing enriching experiences for new grads and will ensure that new grads are matched with a mentor of the same discipline and experience in the same practice setting. For those new graduates who want to travel, but also want mentorship, it is available!!! And remember, IT IS NOT GUARANTEED IN A PERMANENT POSITION!!!

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