Transitioning From Study to Practice
Starting a new graduate job is the beginning of a new chapter of your life. It can be full of anticipation and excitement and can be very nerve-wracking!
As a new graduate, you have been through 4 years (or more) of study. University is often filled with sleepless nights, emotional rollercoasters, maybe even considering deferring or taking a break, but becoming an Occupational Therapist is worth the hard work. Being able to translate the theory learnt into real-life practice is rewarding, and being an OT brings such fulfilment to our lives and the lives of others we work with.
For most new graduates studying through a pandemic, you have become telehealth experts and flexible thinkers and have developed a willingness to adapt and cope with changes. You have become great navigators and problem solvers and are equipped for working as an adaptable new graduate!
Tips and Tricks When Transitioning Into a New Graduate OT Role
Build Your Personal Brand and Be Yourself
Establish an excellent foundation for your career by being your best self at work. This means being reliable, punctual, hard-working and staying true to your values!
Connect and Create a Network
Be involved! Attend different events with your work colleagues, whether it be a team lunch or conference days. Be eager and enthusiastic about meeting other people and learning more about their company values and vision.
Be flexible with the type of work you do and how you approach conflict or problems. Proving that you can be resourceful will be beneficial, and you will come across as adaptable to anything thrown your way.
Learning in a graduate role never ends; stay on top of what is happening around you by following trends that will help you and who you are working for growing! Identify areas that you need or want to upskill in, find where your involvement in specific projects will help you develop and utilise your strengths. Always maintain a passion for learning and providing the best evidence-based practice.
Patience Is Key
Starting as a new graduate is like planting a seed; it takes time to grow and flourish into the best OT you can be! You will be full of energy and ready to go at full speed, but patience is essential. There will be ups and downs and twists and turns, but these moments can be valuable lessons and can improve your self-awareness.
Show initiation and never stop asking questions. Let your passion fuel your desire to learn new things constantly. Learning in a graduate role never ends; connect with other businesses’ social media pages and seek professional development courses.
Say Yes to Opportunities
Take on additional work or help others on the team on a project, group programs or planning. Find new passions, and it may help you find your niche to specialise in a particular area! Be positive and open to learning.
Look After Yourself
Communicate with your supervisor/mentor and be honest if problems arise.
- Resilience is vital: persisting through challenges
- Establish healthy habits
- Create a daily routine: what works best for you, e.g., work best in the morning or night.
- Sleep: 7-8 hours a night
- Ease into a full caseload and ensure there is time for learning
- Communication is essential: it alleviates anxiety and stress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it or approach a problem early
- Make time for things you love
- Ensure the company you work for values well-being!
- Supervision is key to learning and progressing as an OT! Check if the company offers 1:1 supervision, mentoring and peer support.
- Workplace culture and environment: ensure those around you have similar values as you!
- Ask lots of questions! There are no silly questions as a new grad!
- CPD allowance: ensure your company offers CPD and choose courses wisely. Collaborate with your team about what would be most beneficial and will enable you to do your job confidently
- Look for if the company offers a New Graduate program when applying for jobs.
- Purchase your OT Australia Membership to keep up to date with the best evidence-based practice
- Updating your daily to-do list when something comes up to avoid stress!
- Plan out admin time wisely to catch up on notes, professional development and report writing
- Create a Pinterest folder full of activity ideas
- Listen to paediatric podcasts on spotify e.g. All Things Sensory
- Create an OT Instagram for activity ideas and connect with like-minded paediatric OT’s
- Watch and learn: take any opportunity to shadow OT’s and observe sessions to learn from more experiences OT’s
- Find your niche e.g., sensory processing, emotional regulation
- Spend time searching through cupboards and get to know the purpose of toys and games
- Test out game ideas e.g., make slime first before making it with a client
Check out our new graduate page on Instagram @newpossibilots.