Interviewing Rehab Companies: How to Find an Ethical Job Want to pick a company that puts high-quality patient care first? Much depends on the questions you ask during job interviews. Make It Work
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Make It Work  |   December 01, 2014
Interviewing Rehab Companies: How to Find an Ethical Job
Author Notes
  • Rachel Wynn, MS, CCC-SLP, specializes in eldercare, and as the owner of Gray Matter Therapy (www.graymattertherapy.com), provides dementia and elder care education to therapists, health care professionals and families. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 15, Gerontology. rachel@graymattertherapy.com
    Rachel Wynn, MS, CCC-SLP, specializes in eldercare, and as the owner of Gray Matter Therapy (www.graymattertherapy.com), provides dementia and elder care education to therapists, health care professionals and families. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 15, Gerontology. rachel@graymattertherapy.com×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Make It Work
Make It Work   |   December 01, 2014
Interviewing Rehab Companies: How to Find an Ethical Job
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.MIW.19122014.32
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.MIW.19122014.32
So you’re fresh out of grad school and you want to work in a skilled nursing or other health facility. But you know that in some facilities, productivity pressures can interfere with providing quality treatment, and you want to be sure to keep your practice ethical.
How do you make sure that you pick a company that puts high-quality patient care first? It all starts with the questions you ask the prospective employer during job interviews.
Asking around
When job-seekers prepare for an interview, they often post questions on social media about the company’s reputation, salaries and fees in the specific geographic location, and interview questions the company typically asks.
The answers to these questions provide some good information, but given the concerns many of us have about ethical practices in skilled nursing facilities I believe we could focus on better questions that will give us more insight into a prospective employer. To see why, let’s take a look at the common questions.
What do you know about X company? In talking to clinicians about ethical dilemmas, I have not found one company that is completely unethical. There are some really great rehabilitation directors who will buffer corporate productivity pressures and advocate for clinical autonomy. They are dedicated to patient-centered care. Make sure you can interview the person who would be your immediate supervisor.
What is a good hourly rate for SLPs in X location? Speech-language pathologists provide an outstanding value to their rehab teams and should be compensated appropriately. However, as an advocate for patient-centered rather than profit-centered care, I think about my wage differently. In talking with clinicians who work for ethical companies, I find we have something in common: We get paid a little less, but we never feel pressured to work off the clock and we are given time to complete important nonbillable tasks.
Use ASHA’s salary data as a starting point, but consider the entire compensation and benefits package. I consider quality of work life and work-life balance to be benefits. And I feel better about myself when I can focus my energy on patient care rather than number games.
What kind of questions will they ask during an interview? Most companies asked logistical questions, such as: When can you start? Can you work weekends if required? Can you be X-percent productive? In a few interviews, I was asked how I would handle a particular client situation. I like those questions. They show that my interviewer cares about the quality of the therapy patients receive, rather than just the quantity.
Turn the tables
Take another look at the title of this article: “Interviewing Rehab Companies.” That’s not a typo. It’s not supposed to say “Interviewing With Rehab Companies” or “How to Answer Interview Questions Perfectly.” In my previous career, I interviewed job candidates. The candidates who brought thought-out questions (writing them down is OK) were my favorite. They did some research and thought about what they could give to the team. They were thinking about continual growth. They made great employees.
Another reason to ask questions is to answer the question I hear most often: “Is this an ethical company?” The only way to find out is to ask, through questions such as:
  • How would you handle a situation in which a patient on a particular “resource utilization group” level says she has a stomach bug and doesn’t want to participate in treatment?

  • How are discharge dates (from each discipline and the facility) determined?

  • Will you provide an example of how activities and restorative nursing coordinate with therapy in order to best serve patients?

Your interviewer might be a little surprised if you ask tough questions. Don’t worry about this. One of three things will happen:
  • It will be a good surprise. Your interviewer will see your concern, care and critical thinking and know you’ll be a good team member.

  • They won’t like it. You might be considered someone who questions authority. You won’t get hired. That’s OK. One of the big complaints I hear from therapists is they lack clinical autonomy. You’ve just screened a potential employer and avoided that situation.

  • They won’t like it, but they are desperate to fill the position. They offer you the job. That’s OK, too. Now you get to practice saying “no.” If the job doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t take it.

By agreeing to work only in ethical workplaces, you are advancing the bottom-up approach to effecting change. Thank you, from all of us!
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2014
Volume 19, Issue 12