Why You Need To Step Out Of Your ‘Comfort -Zone’ To Improve Your Skill-Sets As A New Grad Physio

Posted By: Andy Barker

If I think back now, to how I operated as both a student and New Grad Physio it almost shocks me to think how poor I was at certain skills.

Communication was something that I struggled with and it took me a fair while to get a grip on this and start making progress in developing this skill.

When I think back now, it wasn’t surprising that I was poor at communicating.

I’m a relatively laid- back personality, quite reflective in many ways and inherently an introvert.

I wasn’t the first person in class to stick their hand up or speak up.

Not because I didn’t know the answers, sometimes it was, but even if I did, I would just sit back and let someone else answer.

When I was asked to answer questions, or present in front of the group, it really used to worry me.

To the point where I would do whatever I could NOT to put myself in a position where I would have to speak in front of a group.

This is a far cry from now, where I feel at home in front of a crowd, presenting like I do on one of my courses, filming in the studio for my New Grad Physio Membership or lecturing in front of large groups.

But how did this happen?

It didn’t just happen by accident.

I had to step outside of my ‘Comfort-Zone’ and address the skill-sets that needed work.

This blog will show you WHY you need to do the same for the skill-sets you are not so strong at, to stop you falling behind and ensure you experience a successful New Grad Physio journey by not letting your weakness hold you back.

Step Out…Or Miss Out?

So, my main problem as a student physio related to my inability to communicate well.

Once I started my clinical placements this problem was magnified, and it hit home to me that I really needed to do something about it.

At the time I didn’t plan on going into teaching or presenting in any way, so the skill to speak into front of groups of people didn’t really seem much of a problem.

Before my placements started, I thought that once I qualified, I would be fine, after all, it would just be me and my patient in the clinic room and that would be it.

But my placements opened my eyes.

I saw New Grad’s been asked to speak up in MDT meetings.

I saw the same therapists leading and presenting at In-Service Training sessions.

I saw newly qualified therapists leading group exercise classes.

I then knew I needed to do something about my communication skills and quick.

I needed to step out of my ‘Comfort-Zone’ or risk not being able to present myself well in a variety of different situations.

Maybe that might be an IST session or MDT meeting or maybe something else.

At that stage I wasn’t sure.

But what I was sure about was that I knew I had a problem with communication, and it was time to make change.

What Do You Need To Work On?

As a therapist there will always be things you need to get better at.

When you qualify as a physio you don’t instantly become better at certain skills.

You will always be a working a progress.

As a New Grad Physio, you will find you need to improve across a broader range of areas initially, before being able to target more specific areas of development as you progress in your career.

At different stages of your career, different skills will become more paramount as the challenges you face as a New Grad are very specific and different to those for example, of a Band 7 physio or experienced therapist working in private practice or sport.

You will be better at some skills and less so at others.

But this doesn’t have to stay this way.

You need to identify what is holding you back.

For me as a student and New Grad it was my communication skills.

For you it could be your subjective assessment or objective assessment skills, your hands-on treatment skills or even your ability to plan a full treatment plan for a patient.

It could be also be communication, or your ability to build patient rapport or even skills relating to your career progress, like writing a therapy-based CV or your ability to perform well in a therapy job interview.

Once you know the problem you can look to provide a solution.

In the same way you would with your patient assessments.

The aim of your patient assessment is to find the patient problem.

The aim of your interventions, your hands-on treatment techniques and rehab, is to then provide solutions to these problems.

Whatever skill-sets you need to improve upon will be individual to you.

If you know you are not so strong as certain skills, you NEED to improve these.

If you don’t, how do you expect to get better?

You can’t keep doing what you’re doing and expect a different result…

If I had done the same back at University, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now and I certainly wouldn’t be the host of a podcast, in the studio weekly filming content for my New Grad Physio Membership or in front of a room of people teaching.

And be in a position where I really enjoy doing all the above!!!

Strategy ‘Talk-More’

So, once I had my ‘A-Ha’ moment and I had decided to make a conscious effort to develop my communication skills, it wasn’t that hard.

To start with I just made a conscious effort to answer 1 question during each class or speak up and ask a question to the lecturer taking the class.

I soon found I was asking more than 1 question…

I was then starting to put my name forwards to speak up first if we were asked to present in front of the group, rather than wait to be asked near the end, like I used to do.

I was finding the more public speaking I did, not only the better I was getting at it, the more I enjoyed it.

The easiest thing for me to have done would have been to just continue as I was.

Dodging public speaking whenever I could and just getting by.

But who knows where that might have taken me?

All I know is that by stepping outside my ‘Comfort-Zone’ and addressing my weakness has not only made me a better therapist, it has also opened doors to opportunities, like teaching and lecturing, that I may have never found.

I urge you to do the same.

Identify what skills might be outside your own ‘Comfort-Zone’ and dive in and get to work on fixing them up.

Key Take-Aways

  • Its normal to be better at some skills than others, particularly so as a student or New Grad Physio
  • But you need to acknowledge that these ‘weaknesses’ may be holding you back, stopping you progressing as a therapist and stopping you making the consistent positive impact you want with the patients and colleagues you work with
  • Identify what you need to work on, even if it means stepping outside your own ‘Comfort-Zone’ to address these weaknesses and you will no doubt experience a more successful start to life as a New Grad Physio
If you found reading this blog post useful you will also find BIG value in my book ‘How To Become A Competent, Confident & Competitive New Grad Physio.’

In the book I show you WHY you need the 3 C’s; COMPETENCY, CONFIDENCE & COMPETITVENESS, and HOW to gain these skill-sets to enjoy a successful start to your career as a New Grad Physio, Sports Therapist or Sports Rehabilitator.

Find out more about the book here.