It happens to the best of us.
We start our careers off eager to learn everything there is to know about our field so that we can help as many patients as families as possible.
We help and we help through long hours, in stressful environments, sometimes with patients that don’t seem to be getting better, with administrators that don’t understand our field… and in the midst of our own pressures at home.
Sometimes after years of stress we lose some of our ambition and drive and think, why didn’t I choose another career?
When you face these these moments (or weeks, months, years…), it’s always helpful to look back and say, “Why am I feeling this way AND what can I do about it?”
Here are 6 Ways to Fight SLP, PT & OT Burn Out:
1. Remember why you got into the profession
Chances are, you went into speech language pathology to help people. Remember that your patients are people who desperately want to get better. If you got into this because you’re a natural helper, find a way to connect on a deeper level with your patients and give them the help you need WHILE taking time to slow down and help yourself.
2. Change job settings
Are productivity requirements killing you slowly at the skilled nursing facility where you work? Are pressures from school administrators or parents making you not want to step into that school?
If you’re had it with your boss, get a new one! Ask your friends about their job environments and if they are happy at their jobs. Seek out a job recruiter and be up front with what you’re looking for. Working at a new facility or in a new environment might be the change you’re after.
3. Work more with your ideal population
Working all day every day with the same types of patients gets boring. With no new challenges, it’s hard to keep your mind busy, interested and curious. Do you love working with a certain population that you rarely get to see any more? See if you can have more of that type of patient – or better yet- start treating that type of patient privately! It feels good to get paid to do what you love.
4. Go to a conference / do continuing education
There’s nothing more that gets me more excited than learning something new at a conference or with a continuing education course. Whether it’s a particular therapy method or population type, I always come back from conferences energized and ready to try out new techniques with my patients.
Oh- and don’t forget conferences and continuing education are tax deductible!!!
5. Take a break
I am so proud of one of my SLP friends. A few months ago she turned 30 and decided she needed a break. She had 2 months vacation time saved up and she decided to take a leave of absence and head to COSTA RICA. She had a wonderful time (the pictures on Facebook were amazing!) and she came back renewed, recharged and ready to be an SLP again.
6. Start treating private clients
As helping people we don’t like to think that money matters, but it does. Treating your ideal patients, on your schedule, for the price that your services are worth is priceless and can certainly help you get over burnout. I find that I work harder to prepare, investigate options and engage more with my private speech therapy clients , which keeps me motivated (and the higher paycheck doesn’t hurt either!)
Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and private practice consultant. She started her own speech therapy private practice in 2006. She is the founder of The Independent Clinician and author of The Guide to Private Patients and The Guide to Creating a Web Presence for Your Private Practice. Since 2008, she has helped thousands of clinicians get the flexibility, income and freedom they desire from starting their own private speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy practices.