Private practice placement - How to maximise your learning?

There's less than 6 months until some of you graduate. Do you feel ready for private practice?


If you’re lucky to have a private practice placement coming up at university, keep reading!


I have 5 private practice placement tips for you that will prepare you for private practice, maximise your learning and make the most out of your experience.


‘I wish I had access to this when I had my PP placement’.


1. Get use to manual therapy


Don’t get me wrong, we are an evidence-based profession, we utilise high quality research such as exercise therapy to treat musculoskeletal injuries. We know that, but our patients don’t, unfortunately… They expect SOME form of hands on therapy, to induce pain, or sensitisation in our world.


We need to align their expectations first, then we can change their mindset about exercises.

Exercise therapy alone might equate to best practice, it DOES NOT equate to best service.



Manual therapy alone is NOT best service, but combining the two deliver the best outcome.


2. Have a weekly goal


Private practice can be overwhelming, by focusing on one thing at a time will really help you sharpen the saw one blade at a time. Try this template:


Week 1 - Settle in, get comfortable with admin/operation system, subjective interview

Week 2 - Work on doing a practical Objective assessment + explore treatment techniques with your supervisor

Week 3 - Rebooking frequency, language and tools to help you. Mindset change to internal locus on control

Week 4 - Communication, motivational interviewing and building rapport with clients

Week 5 - Work on really connecting with your supervisor, admin staff, director and other practitioners in the clinic, if you like the place work on getting a job there too!


3. Monkey see monkey do


Pick 3 things you like about the way your supervisor treats - then repeatedly do it. Demonstrate and voice it to him/her that you’re doing it too. This will form your scaffolding of when you’re a solo practitioner and will help with point number 4.


4. Seek autonomy ASAP


You’ve only got 5 weeks, make the most out of it and you need to seek autonomy in treating clients ASAP. You need to build trust with your supervisor for him/her to let you treat the patients.


5. You are never wrong


In my private practice placement I was told I was wrong occasionally, and I hated it.

Don’t take it to heart if your supervisor tells you you are wrong, you’re never wrong, there’s just better way to do things.


This is your time to F**k up, do it often and learn.


Written by Kennedy Lay - Director & Mentor @The Communication Experience

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