With a 10-year projected growth rate of 34 percent, physical therapy is one of healthcare’s most in-demand fields. The APTA has also predicted that despite growing numbers of graduates, increased insurance coverage will lead to an even greater demand by 2020. Ultimately, that means PTs — especially stand-out, experienced PTs — can pick and choose from a variety of employers. Following are a few tips that can help you attract the most well-qualified candidates for your rehab department.
Streamline Your Department
How is your department running now? Is it the kind of well-oiled machine that would attract a therapist who’s already spent years as a student, resident and clinician? As you know, many healthcare organizations are rife with inefficiency. One of the best ways to attract top talent is with standout operating procedures and performance metrics.
You may also be able to improve profits and cut costs by reducing the time clinicians spend on charting, filing and other cumbersome administrative tasks. There’s always room for improvement, so review your policies and procedures to see where you can make things more efficient without placing a greater burden on your staff.
Offer Great Benefits
The average salary for a PT is over $80,000, but rates will vary from state to state, and a competitive salary is all but a given for an experienced inpatient clinician. What will really set you apart from other rehab departments is your benefits package. Your retirement plan contribution, paid time off, insurance coverage and other tangible benefits can make a major difference when your prospects are weighing their options.
Just as important are the intangible benefits: flexible schedules, growth opportunities and the cultural criteria that are important to PTs who are in the profession for more than just a paycheck. When they visit your clinic, interview and talk to current employees, they should feel a sense of purpose.
Invest in Technology and Certifications
Your facility is one of a candidate’s first impressions of your program. TENS, laser therapy and other high-tech modalities are becoming common in a variety of rehabilitation settings, and great PTs want access to the best tools for patient care.
Aside from high-tech equipment, you can also attract great clinicians by investing in their continuing education. Certifications for dry needling, active release and other special therapies can be expensive, and the chance to have them paid for can be a major decision-maker. It also demonstrates your organization’s commitment to providing the highest quality care.
Improve Your Interview Process
Even if you’re offering a great work environment, high pay and a steady stream of interesting patients, you won’t attract the clinicians you want if you don’t communicate PT program benefits to your prospects. Your interview process doesn’t need to be painfully slow, but it probably shouldn’t be fast, either. Take the time to conduct multiple interviews with several team members and decision makers, and be honest and transparent about what you’re offering (and what you’re not).
In the same vein, you’ll need to ask the right questions to determine whether or not a prospect is a good fit for your clinic. PT is a diverse field, and not every clinician is suited to every environment. You’ll want to probe for professionalism, intelligence and problem-solving skills — as any employer should — but you’ll also need to assess each candidate’s cultural fit. The therapist who is on board with your mission, whose goals align with the opportunities you provide, and who integrates well with your current team will be well worth the physical therapy recruiting investment.