Minding Your Business: Top Business Leadership Skills in Physical Therapy
4 minute read
There's a lot that physical therapy school teaches you, but there's even more that it doesn't. I was lucky enough to learn this early.
I kept seeing the phrase, "A patient presents to you with…," used before case studies, homework assignments, and test questions. The lessons we learned in school helped us provide quality care to the patients in front of us.
But after seeing this phrase over and over I eventually began to wonder, how did this patient find me in the first place? After this evaluation, what's going to make them come back? How can I help more patients with similar problems or goals?
The short answer from one of my mentors was: "Business." We talked about the larger customer journey, marketing strategy, business metrics, communication skills, and much more. That conversation changed my entire perspective on what I was learning in school, what I sought to experience beyond school, and how I was going to make postgraduation decisions. I knew that if I was going to truly transform society as a physical therapist, I needed to know more about business.
Both the American Council of Academic Physical Therapists Student Leadership Development workgroup (ACAPT SLD) and the Private Practice Section (PPS) have found through numerous focus groups, surveys, and conversations that both students and faculty agree—business skills must be delivered more effectively to physical therapy students.
During our session at the American Physical Therapy Association's (APTA) National Student Conclave (NSC) on Saturday, November 2, 2019, we'll seek to effectively deliver as much of those business skills as possible.
Presenters are Daniel Dale, PT, DPT, assistant director of clinical education at Mercer University and chair of ACAPT SLD workgroup; Jim Hoyme, PT, MBA, CEO, Therapy Partners and creator of The Leadership Edge; Yogi Matharu, PT, DPT, assistant professor of clinical physical therapy at the University of Southern California (USC) and director of the USC faculty practice; and Scott McAfee, PT, DPT, early career mobile physical therapist and chief marketing officer of MovementX.
First, you'll learn all about the technical aspects of business. What happens behind the scenes in clinics and what metrics do business owners care about most? How does billing and coding work? How do things vary across different models of practice? We'll dive into all the nitty-gritty details behind clinical operations. These are key to understanding your clinical role and how you can add value as part of a larger clinical team. With a wide range of experience, we will also talk about assessing and mitigating risk across the spectrum of clinical practice models. Don't worry about taking frantic notes here—we'll be sure to provide plenty of resources that contain the numbers, stats, and metrics you need to know.
Next, you'll learn how to build uniquely valuable skill sets as a student. What leadership experience, clinical skills, relationships, and other characteristics are most valuable to have? Where can you develop these skill sets outside of the classroom? What do hiring managers value the most in job candidates? This stuff may not be taught in school, but it's out there. We'll help you find it by sharing stories from our individual experiences and helpful resources from ACAPT, PPS, APTA, and APTA Student Assembly. Here, you'll feel empowered to venture beyond the classroom and clinic to learn new things, broaden your perspective, and boost your value as a new clinician.
Finally, you'll know how to best apply those skill sets after graduation. This is seemingly high-stakes territory, as we're told our first decision out of school has vast repercussions and quite literally lays the foundation for the rest of our career. No pressure, right? How can you negotiate your first job contract and find the best fit right out of school? How does a salary break down and what are important considerations with benefits packages? How can you leverage skills you developed before, during, or after school to benefit the patients you seek to serve and clinic you seek to work at? To wrap up, we'll answer these questions and more.
Amid rapidly evolving modern trends in health care, business, consumerism, and technology, those who expect things to continue operating at the status quo level surely will be left behind. I believe physical therapy students and new grads are uniquely positioned to help bring amazing new value and innovation to our profession. We need it. If you haven’t already seen the speech by Fred Gilbert, PT, DPT, at the 2019 Graham Sessions, watch it.
A lot of problems facing our profession can be solved by effectively applying skills from business and marketing. These lessons are applicable to students of all levels across all disciplines—you don't have to be interested in private practice or want to start your own clinic. We're looking forward to seeing you there!
A world of opportunity exists beyond the classroom and clinic at NSC; you'll discover it.
Did we miss something that you want us to talk about in this session? Tweet me at @McAfeePT.
Join us October 31 - November 2, 2019 at APTA's National Student Conclave — the only conference for students, by students. For the best rates register by September 25, 2019.
Scott McAfee, PT, DPT, is an early career mobile physical therapist and chief marketing officer of MovementX. You can connect with him on Twitter at @McAfeePT.