Leverage Your Learning During Lockdown

Posted By: Andy Barker

Having spoken to so many therapists over the last couple of weeks one things is clear.

Whilst these circumstances present us with many challenges, most therapists want to use this time to their advantage.

This is a great opportunity and could be the perfect time to progress your learning, develop your skills and spend some dedicated, uninterrupted time on your CPD.

You might find yourself with more time on your hands and the smarter New Grad’s amongst you, will use this time efficiently.

The problem…

Staying motivated to do it, knowing what to do and ensuring you are not wasting the time you do allocate to your learning.

It can be hard to direct your learning when you lack context i.e. a tricky case you have seen recently (this is unlikely given the current circumstances).

It can also be hard to stay on track when you are studying on your own, nobody there to keep you going or to bounce questions off, like you might do at work.

But, if you can get it right, you will go back into your role in the NHS, private practice or sport, a much better equipped therapist, ready to take on the challenges of your role as a New Grad Physio.

Below are 3 top tips to help you stay on track and to maximise the time you spend on your CPD and learning during lockdown.

Get Organised

The biggest challenge you face is a lack of structure.

You no longer must travel to and from work or University at set times.

You don’t have patients booked in to see or work based admin to complete at set times.

You don’t have organised meetings, mentoring sessions or in-service training sessions.

Because of this lack of structure, the danger is that you don’t get things done.

You may have the best intentions to study, to learn and spend time on your CPD, but for some it doesn’t happen.

To ensure this does not happen you need to schedule your days.

Create some structure to what can be an empty space, schedule the main learning tasks or topics you want to cover that day.

You don’t need to spend every hour of every day studying, but when you do sit down to read, watch or listen to something, you want to make sure it is quality learning.

You want to ensure it is addressing something that you have identified as being a problem or challenge for you previously.

Maybe it’s your subjective assessment that needs work, or you want to know more about acute shoulder injury management or end stage ACL rehab exercise.

If you can identify WHAT you want to learn, then you can be super focused and schedule in ‘learning’ time that actually is going to help you and NOT just spend your time reading a journal, blog, book, webinar or even listening to a podcast, just for the sake of it.

Be Specific

Linking to the previous point, the more specific you can make your learning objectives the better outcomes you will get.

Link what you want to learn to something meaningful, to your goals, whether that relates to something clinical, non-clinical or even a career goal.

I was on a coaching call with a therapist earlier this week who is part of my New Grad Physio Membership

She was having difficulty organising her time and felt whilst she was assigning time to ‘learn’ she felt it was wasted as she didn’t feel it was really addressing her problems and was not helping her push towards her next goal – promotion within the sports club she works.

We spent the call nailing down what she needs to achieve to put herself in the best position possible to push for this promotion once we are back to normality and she is back working at the club.

This included both clinical skills, specific to a couple of injuries and career skills, namely interview practice, something that she has struggled with in the past.

Then we nailed a plan as to how we would improve these skills and we finished the call with some super specific tasks that she could go away and work on.

She now has a plan to spend time on during her allocated ‘learning’ time, on tasks that will improve her skills as a therapist and address one of her main fears and anxieties, her next job interview.

Get Help

Like you, other therapists will have more time available now.

Most will be willing to help.

Specific problems, like those in the example above, require specific help and guidance.

Whatever your problem the best person to ask for help and support is from someone that has already overcame the very same problem you are struggling with right now.

A good rule of thumb is to identify that person that is 2 or 3 steps ahead of you.

Maybe its that therapist who is in a role you would like to get to in the next couple of years.

They’re in great position to tell you how they progressed from where you are now to where you want to get to, the problems and challenges they faced and what they needed to do to overcome those challenges.

This is why I love working so closely with New Grad’s and is the reason I set up the New Grad Physio.

I myself had exactly the right help and support when I was a New Grad to help me progress so quickly during the first two years out of University, progressing from student to my dream job as the Head Physio at the Leeds Rhinos in just 15 months.

I could write here that it was all down to hard work and effort.

And it was…

I did work extremely hard to get put myself in that position, to firstly get a job in professional sport straight from University and then to progress again to the lead role at the club so soon after.

But I was working hard on the right things.

I was helped so much by my mentor at the time, he showed me exactly where I should be spending my time learning, what I should avoid (i.e. certain CPD courses) so I could maximise any time I did spend on my own development and learning.

Being able to do the same now for other New Grad’s is awesome and I feel very privileged to have had that support when I first started out and now, I want to do the same for others.

Talking of help I’m going to be going LIVE in my FREE New Grad Physio Training Series Group every Monday at 8 am (starting Monday 30th March 2020).

I’ll be answering therapist’s questions relating to tricky case studies, discussing common injuries and pathologies, covering assessment, treatment and rehab techniques…

I know now, more than ever, we all have a great opportunity to fast-track our learning and I want to help you make the most of this time.

This is a private training group so you will need to request access.

You can do it HERE

It’s completely FREE and there is also a whole host of content, including webinars, presentations and other clinical posts already in the group for you to take in.

If you do have anything specific you would like me to cover, please post a comment in the group and I’ll add your question to one of the Monday LIVE sessions.

Catch you in the group

Andy Barker

The New Grad Physio Mentor

PS. In the meantime I have a heap of other resources for you to take a look at, from blogs, podcasts and FREE downloadable learning resources up at my website www.newgradphysio.com