Second-time guest and founder of the Non-Clinical PT, Meredith Castin PT, DPT and I chat about what are the skills you need to pursue a rewarding non-clinical career path. We have both noticed a stigma or judgment around pursuing non-clinical paths, and Meredith paves the way as a leader in this field that you CAN find satisfaction outside of patient care. Treating patients isn’t the only way in which you can use your degree. We also can’t help but go down many tangents while we chat (we have squirrel brains…or should I say cat brains because we both love cats!) Meredith shares the details about her incredibly useful course that helps you to launch your non-clinical career without ‘wasting’ your experience or education.
If you haven’t listened to our first interview yet, you can find that here on iTunes.
Here are takeaways from our conversation:
FIND YOUR PURPOSE IN YOUR LIFE
Meredith reveals what many of us that enter healthcare, especially occupational and physical therapy tell ourselves about our purpose, which is to help people walk again or help people get better. Altruistic by nature, we strongly identify our purpose with our role. There are several custom and online personality tests that Meredith includes in her Non-Clinical 101 Course, but the two she mentions in the episode are The Sixteen Personalities and Eclectic Energies Enneagram Tests. Although it may not be a good idea to live and die by your personality test, taking such tests will help you identify who you are as a person and what you need to thrive. Meredith has noticed that many therapists are Achiever types as per the Enneagram and highly value the need for recognition and feel like they are constantly improving, growing, and achieving. If you’re in a setting where you feel like you’re just a cog in a wheel and you don’t feel like you’re not growing the way you’d like to, you’ll naturally come to resent your job because there’s a mismatch. If you’re feeling fulfilled at work, a part of you will shrivel up. Knowing what your needs are can help you to work in a setting that will align with your goals and purpose.
IDENTIFY WHAT GIVES YOUR LIFE MEANING
We all desire to connect to a deeper meaning in life, but the way in which we do that can look entirely different than others you know. Meredith describes a useful visualization to identify priorities and looking at where work fits in that picture. Although Meredith isn’t big on meditation herself, she finds that a brief visualization exercise helps you to gain clarity around what you are truly looking for in life rather than just reacting to what is expected of you. During this visualization, ask yourself what do you want most in life? What truly makes you feel alive? Some people thrive off of consistency and stability, whereas some pursue traveling, devoting yourself to a cause, or a bit of all those things. And for some people, wealth can be a priority and there’s nothing wrong with that- own it! People will tell you to live your life the way they see fit. But guess what? They might be telling you ‘you’re doing it wrong’ essentially which is based on their own definition of what is right. You know what’s right for you, even if others don’t understand it. Craft your life around what you really want out of it so life is worth living to you.
NO JUDGMENT IN YOUR PATH
You can leave the field altogether and become a chef or whatever it is that fulfills you- you do you. Meredith talks specifically about how those that trade their clinical roles for non-clinical roles within the healthcare system can be agents for change to make healthcare better because we have that clinical experience and we can understand the pain points that are impacting the well-being of therapists, other healthcare professionals, and patients. Bringing those lenses and leveraging that to excel in other jobs in healthcare.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NORMAL STRESS AND DREADING WORK?
Normal stress is OK. We deal with acute stressors on a regular basis in the modern world, which unfortunately can turn into chronic stressors that negatively impact our physical and mental health and well-being. What’s the difference between dealing with stressors at work at a job or career you know you’re meant for and dealing with stressors in a job or field you hate? Think about if your needs are being met first. You can get this free download sent to your inbox with twelve questions that break down the four types of workplace needs that must be met for an engaged and happy employee. With healthy work-related stress, you can talk with your manager and be upfront with what your challenges are and what you need help with. If your manager doesn’t appear receptive to your needs, then it may be time to start looking for another job. A manager’s role is to help you grow and have your best interests in mind. You may be in the right setting, but not in the right job- OR you may be in the wrong setting too. Find a setting that’s right with your needs before you decide to jump ship and leave clinical care- you never know what setting may be a better fit for you unless you try.
GET IN ON NON-CLINICAL 101
If you want to leave patient care or you envision a future outside of clinical care, Meredith’s course Non-Clinical 101 may be a great fit for you. With lifetime access, you’ll get 6 ½ hours of videos designed to be self-paced, so you can go through the material as quickly or slowly as you want. Meredith encourages you to dedicate a few days in a row to complete the course. From identifying your key strengths, interests, and background, you’ll go into the different nonclinical paths and if you should take the full plunge or take a transitional phrase or a ‘career ombré’ into non-clinical care. Meredith will update the course with new relevant information, so having lifetime access will help you to stay current. Also, you’ll learn how to tailor your résumé for the job appropriately and avoid some big mistakes, especially with your cover letter. From visualizations to interviewing and negotiations, you’ll get your A-Z and gain clarity about moving forward in your career. If you want to dabble into understanding what non-clinical roles look like, you can read through all of the Non-Clinical PT’s incredible spotlight interviews here.
The Non-Clinical PT site: https://thenonclinicalpt.com/
The Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NonClinicalNetworkingForRehabProfessionals/