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You Are a Licensed Physical Therapist… Now What?

You finally finished school. You made it. You're a full-blown physical therapist now! ... Now what? Luckily for you, Avinash Singh has been in your shoes before...

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Image by Gillian Callison from Pixabay
Image by Gillian Callison from Pixabay

Congratulations! You are now a fancy physical therapist and are ready to take on the world! You march out into the “real world” and… Reality hits you hard. You were a great student, but you soon learn that the classroom is different from the clinic. There’s a lot grad school didn’t teach you.

But that’s okay.

Believe it or not, every single physiotherapist out there has been through that same experience. Avinash Singh, a registered physiotherapist with four different locations who is rated as one of the best in Hamilton by Three Best Rated, may seem like a shining beacon of success to a new graduate, but the truth is he once was as lost as you! Seeing how difficult it was to become a physiotherapist on his own Avinash enjoys sharing his experiences and advice with up-and-coming PTs. “What [new physiotherapists] see in the books and what they see in the real world is drastically different,” Anviash says, “I’m very passionate about bridging this gap between getting their license and then being able to practice as a physiotherapist.”

Avinash started his career in a corporate setting and quickly found himself longing for his own clinic. Understandably, he was nervous to make the leap. “I started this business in 2016. I previously worked three years in corporate,” Avinash says, “I would say one mistake is that I should’ve started my clinic sooner. I could have made all those mistakes a lot sooner.” However, it’s still best to gain experience before you jump right into your own practice, but work for a mentor not a manager. “I wouldn’t want a manager. I would want a coach,” he says, “I want a mentor who can work with me.” A good mentor should be responsive and open to your ideas, while teaching you how to become independent. You should always feel that the goal of your mentor is to help you grow towards independence. To make the most out of your mentorship, Avinash suggests asking a lot of questions. “Ask lots of questions to a lot of different people and then go out there and ask for help!” he says.

Once you spread your wings out of school, you will realize that learning never ends. There will be something you do not know, as a result it’s important to network. “I learned a lot of my skills through networking,” Avinash says, “There’s a lot of hesitation and shyness associated with speaking to other practitioners, but they’re not your competition. There’s plenty of clients out there. Go across the street to that private practice owner and share information.” By sharing information with other physical therapist, they will be more receptive to you and willing to share information back. If you aren’t ready for that step (yet!) there’s plenty of social events to network at. “That doesn’t mean it has to be just physiotherapy event. It can be real estate, a local community event, or things like that. Just go out there and introduce yourself,” he says, “You never know when you are going to meet that person who is going to change your mindset and your life.” Talking to other business owners can give you insight on the business side of owning your own practice, help you learn how to balance your home and work life, or just be a friend! For the introverts out there, plenty of forums, blogs, and social media sites exist out there to network in. What really matters is you are getting your name out there and learning new skills.

To be successful you need to be confident in yourself. “Confidence is the most important thing that is needed,” says Avinash, “You need confidence that you will be able to survive, grow, and establish yourself among the big dogs.” It can be difficult to be confident in yourself especially at an (objectively) young age. “Confidence is more important on your tough days then your good days. When things aren’t going the way you’d like them to, you need to have that belief in yourself,” he says. It’s okay to be proud of yourself for the things that you have done well and the strengths you do have, after all, they’re your assets in the field!

“You need confidence that you will be able to survive, grow, and establish yourself among the big dogs.” – Avinash Singh

However, in the midst of all his confidence, Avinash has a secret weapon. Humility. Be confident in your skills, but be open to new ideas. “When I initially started I had this belief that I would be the face of the clinic. I’d be the physiotherapist,” Avinash says, “However, I was lucky enough to have some great team members and now they’re the champions and friends of the patients. It sometimes felt bad, but I realized that when I was treating myself I could only help that one person, that one patient at that specific time. By hiring amazing physiotherapists as my team members I’m able to help way more people that I could have otherwise. Now I’m like a mentor or a coach for them.” Avinash was humble enough to realize he couldn’t fulfill his vision on his own and recruited others. While he is still a physiotherapist and sees patients, he also plays a major role as a mentor in his business. He was also humble enough to talk to other business owners. He realized he didn’t have all the answers and reached out to people who could help him along his journey.

As a final parting message Avinash says, “I’ve heard this somewhere and it has always been in my mind. It is not easy. It is not a 9 to 5 job. But if it was everyone else would have done it. It’s not and that’s why you are doing it. But it is well worth it.” So march onward young buck. Greatness awaits.

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