In today’s show, Chris Cox Au.D., and Riley Bass Au.D., continue a THREE PART SERIES on the process of transitioning from student to provider! The topic for today’s show is VALUE – how to recognize it, communicate it and demonstrate it!
Did you miss the first episode in this series? Listen to “Confidence” here.
Read the transcript:
RILEY BASS: Welcome back to the podcast. We are excited to come to you to talk about part two in out three-part series of the transition from student into provider. Last week, we talked to you a little bit about confidence and gaining that confidence as you began your externship and professional career.
CHRIS COX: Confidence!
RILEY BASS: Today, we would like to talk to you about number two on our list, which is value. Well, your preceptors are doing a favor to you by bringing you into their practice.
CHRIS COX: Really?
RILEY BASS: Really. And in years past when you were in school, you were paying the school to attend. And they were catering to you and they were helping you– well, maybe, depending on your professors. They were doing the work for you.
Your preceptor in your externship or your boss at your job as a new provider, they’re probably paying you. And what are you doing to earn that paycheck? What value are you providing to the practice that’s making it worth your preceptor’s time to have you there?
CHRIS COX: There’s another aspect of value, I believe, too, is in believing in yourself. And it’s an aspect of confidence. It’s a piece of that. But understanding where you fit in in both working with the patient and working within the team, which teamwork is going to be the next podcast episode, how do they do that? I don’t even– how you do that in a world?
RILEY BASS: We are on it.[CHUCKLING]
CHRIS COX: So with this value idea, it feeds into confidence, but it feeds into everything else, as well. What do I know that other people don’t know? And some of that that we hear from students is, well, I don’t know anything. I’m just getting started.
Or I know some things, but I don’t know it as well as other people in the office. So I’m just going to kind of stand back here and hope that no one calls on me.
RILEY BASS: Right.
CHRIS COX: Of course, you have some people on the other end who are like, I know everything. I’m going to do everything all at once. And they get really mad because they are not able to get right into it.
What we want to talk about today is that value, both the value that you feel about yourself and how you can make a difference in the world, even as a third-year student rotation, even as an extern, and especially as a new provider out there in the world.
RILEY BASS: Well, you have a very specific set of skills and a very specific knowledge base that not a lot of other people have.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, when we consider how many of us are out there, and the numbers say there’s about 13,000 licensed audiologists out there.
RILEY BASS: Right, where there is about 330 million Americans right now.
CHRIS COX: If you do the math on that, that’s like 0.001% or something.
RILEY BASS: I’m not very good at math, but it’s probably–
CHRIS COX: It’s something about carrying that does– well, I guess that number is if you double the amount of people that are licensed, considering people that have retired and all that.[COMPUTER BEEPING SOUND EFFECTS]
RILEY BASS: I was going to do that math real quick.
CHRIS COX: Well, you don’t need to do the math.
RILEY BASS: No, but I’m curious now.
CHRIS COX: So if you doubled the amount of people that are licensed, and maybe that includes people that have retired or that have gone out of the business, then if we double that, that’s what? Just, say, somewhere around 30,000. Even at 30,000–
RILEY BASS: It’s less than 1%.
CHRIS COX: Way less than 1%. What are the chances of you running into somebody that knows anything about audiology or hearing?
RILEY BASS: Well, they’re pretty low. How many times have you told somebody, oh, I’m an audiologist, and they respond with–
CHRIS COX: What?
RILEY BASS: Huh?
CHRIS COX: And then you’re like, is this the joke? Or, like, are you doing the joke right now, or are you serious because you don’t know what audiology is? And that’s kind of a tough one to–
RILEY BASS: When you talk to patients that can’t hear you all day and then somebody says, huh, your natural instinct is to think that they’re serious.
CHRIS COX: Let me say a little bit slower and then I’ll enunciate, and then–
RILEY BASS: (ENUNCIATING) Au-di-o-lo-gist.
CHRIS COX: And then they’re like, I’m just kidding. And you’re like, oh, you!
RILEY BASS: Do you work on car stereos? Is that audio? Is that what you do?
CHRIS COX: So just from that question right there, even those of you who have talked to family members or friends and they ask you where you’re going to school for and you say audiology and they’re like what is that, we know that what we know isn’t very common out there.
RILEY BASS: So you’re right, we are a very exclusive club. There’s not a whole lot of us out there that have this very specific knowledge base. But our patient demographic is growing every day. We have more and more baby boomers turning into that 55-plus, 65-plus range where the typical age-related hearing loss is starting to appear. And we don’t have enough audiologists to treat them all.
CHRIS COX: That’s unfortunate. And it’s also something that’s a great opportunity for those of us that are in this business, is that we have a great opportunity in front of us looking at those numbers and looking at the amount of audiologists that are coming out. So we have a lot of value to contribute to our communities, to our patients, to our families because of this very specialized knowledge that we’ve gained going through audiology school.
And I want you to think about that when you’re in front of that patient. Maybe it’s a difficult patient. Maybe it’s one of those patients that’s very, very boisterous, and like we were talking about the attorney last week, the guy that just comes in and kind of takes over.
Knowing that you know something that they probably don’t ought to help you a little bit with that confidence. But it should really help you know that you can add value to this person’s life and that you can bring something to the table that likely other people haven’t been able to.
RILEY BASS: So with my job here, I talk to students almost every day. And one of the things I most often hear is I don’t want to sell hearing aids, or I am scared of asking people to pay me for hearing aids.
CHRIS COX: Yeah.
RILEY BASS: Did you ever feel that way, Chris?
CHRIS COX: No, actually.
RILEY BASS: Well, you have a little bit more of an entrepreneurial background and a lot of confidence. But if you feel that way, I was right there with you. I was scared to ask patients for money and I was scared to sell hearing aids. And that’s not something that comes easily to a lot of people, especially audiologists tend to have bleeding hearts and want to give back and want to help people.
I’ve never met an audiologist that said “I want to make lots of money” as why they got into this field. It’s always I want to help people and I want to change people’s lives.
So I always tell students to remember that you’re not selling a hearing aid. You’re not selling a device. You’re selling yourself. You’re selling your expertise and your knowledge that you can, indeed, change these people’s lives.
It doesn’t matter if you are fitting one a month or 100 a month, it’s how many people’s lives you’re changing and consequently, how many of their family members you’re impacting. It can be a pretty expansive number as you continue to go up.
CHRIS COX: I look at it as a quality of life improvement.
RILEY BASS: Absolutely.
CHRIS COX: When you just think about all of the things that they are missing or could be missing because of even a moderate hearing loss. It’s something that they may have taken a long time to come in to see you about. But now they’re there, and they’re looking to you for a solution.
And if you don’t have the confidence, one, and if you don’t know what value you can bring to them, then they could walk right out your door thinking this person isn’t who I want to do business with. This is not the person who I think is going to be able to help me, and I can’t trust them because of that.
RILEY BASS: Right. And I think every audiologist would think that they’re the best one to fit, to do the job, to see the patient. So have that confidence in your value that you are providing–
CHRIS COX: Good one.
RILEY BASS: I know, right? It’s like I practiced this or something. It’s knowing that you are valuable and you are a value add to these people’s lives, not just your practice, but your patients’ lives. They are counting on you. And you’re changing not just their hearing, but their entire quality of life.
CHRIS COX: The sooner you get that down and understand that, the better it’s going to be for you and your patients all across the board.
RILEY BASS: Right.
CHRIS COX: There’s another aspect of value, and it actually leads into what we’re talking about next week with that teamwork. But it’s how do you increase your value as a teammate within the practice that you’re working or the environment that you’re working in? And that’s kind of the second part of this whole value piece, is not just the value that you bring for your patient, but also for the team that you’re working in.
RILEY BASS: Taking initiative and figuring out what things need to be done–
CHRIS COX: Step up to the plate.
RILEY BASS: Is a great way to add value to your practice. Supporting your preceptors and if they’re going out to do community outreach or to do some kind of seminar, go with them. Meet the community yourself. Introduce yourself to those people in your community, especially if that’s your home and where you’re planning on being for the long term. Being a part of that practice is going to add your value to it.
CHRIS COX: Yeah. Even if you’re just there for a year, when you consider your whole 20- to 30-year career, that first year, this one year, may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. So even just for that one year, step up. Take initiative and go out there and do something with your preceptor, or do something with your the rest of your team to help improve the value that your practice brings and the value of yourself.
It’s kind of funny. You’re talking about how you talk to students every day and you hear some of the things that they say. And I talk with some of our members here, as well, in some of the trainings that we do. And some of the ones that are looking at externs or looking at new providers, there are some complaints there that they don’t take initiative or that they’re always on their phone, they’re always checking their Facebook, or they’re never looking around to try to figure out what are the things that they could do to improve around them.
And it’s kind of sad because I get what they’re saying. But at the same time, I understand that those of us that have been that new student or that extern are maybe a little bit intimidated about taking that initiative.
Like I said we earlier, we kind of want to go and hide in a corner until someone tells us we got to go do something. And I would say that by just stepping out and showing that initiative, you’re going to win 100 points, if we’re going on the 100-point scale, from that preceptor. If we’re on a 200-point scale, then you’re probably going to be at 198. But you’re going to get–
RILEY BASS: Always room for improvement.
CHRIS COX: Always improvement, always room for improvement. But if you take that initiative, that preceptor, that business owner or whoever that is, is going to really perk up and say, wow, this person is really more than just a technician.
And that’s really what we want to get out of this, is that we’re students maybe, we’re new providers maybe, but we’re not just button-turners. We’re not just the technicians. We can actually contribute and add value to where we’re working.
RILEY BASS: And I’ve personally seen this as somebody that was– I did what I needed to do to get by, but I didn’t take that initiative to do extra stuff.
CHRIS COX: Lazy slacker.
RILEY BASS: I made good grades, but I wasn’t– and to the extracurricular stuff, I wasn’t doing above and beyond. And I realized as I kind of got out of school and into my professional career, once I started taking that initiative and coming up with those ideas and doing those things that needed to be done on my own, it got me a lot further a lot faster than I had been doing before. So a great way to build that relationship with your preceptor, with your practice, with your community is to take that initiative and get out there and do those things.
CHRIS COX: I’d say another piece of that is that goes along with that humility aspect. Don’t be afraid to do the jobs that other people don’t want to do. Though as externs, we always got the boxes to open up and process and do all the check-ins of–
RILEY BASS: I think that’s just an extern job anywhere.
CHRIS COX: That’s an extern job. And as an extern, you pretty much are there to do some of that lowly intern-type work. And it can be a little degrading sometimes. It can be a little less than fun. But don’t be afraid to step up and do that with a happy face because eventually, you’re not going to be doing that anymore.
RILEY BASS: Eventually, you’re going to be the one with the externs doing that for you.
CHRIS COX: Right. And even though it may seem like some sort of weird hazing or some weird initiation to the whole thing, because all of us have to do it, think of it in a different way and don’t think of it as being something beneath you. And I know I had issues with that. And I was like, (SIGHING) got to open up all these boxes.
RILEY BASS: Right. We had to clean the booths every night. We had to take all the temp tips and specula tips and wipe down everything. So we had to do that, too.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, it’s kind of a rite of passage. And I would say, though, that the best way to approach it is to approach it in a positive manner. And especially if you’re working with other extern or if you’re working with other audiologists who may be new, keeping that positive attitude is key to making sure that they understand that you’re there to work and to add value to the whole team.
And without that, without the willingness and humility to be able to do that without complaining and grumbling the whole time, is really going to show to the preceptors that you’re cool. You’re cool with it.
RILEY BASS: Yep, you’re willing to go outside of just that little audiology role and do what needs to be done to help drive the practice forward as a whole, whether that be those mundane tasks of checking and repairs or cleaning the booth, things like that. You doing that means that they have more free time to do paperwork or work with you in another way that’s going to be beneficial, both going to make them happier and make them want to work more with you.
CHRIS COX: And especially with those baby boomer generation that respect hard work and they expect that initiative. Whenever you show that you’re, one, going to take the initiative to step up to the plate, and two, the you’re going to be there as late as they are and take on some of those tasks that may be less than glamorous, they’re going to respect that– huge.
They’re going to really, really look at you as somebody that’s valuable to the team, especially if you’re looking to get a job with them maybe later. Or what’s even better is if they’re not hiring and you are looking to go somewhere else, what better reference is that going to be?
They’re going to give you glowing reviews and say even though I can’t hire this person, I think you should hire this person. It’s almost kind of like a huge, long interview for that whole externship year.
RILEY BASS: That’s right. And as a fellow millennial, too, probably a lot of you– I understand that it sucks, but there’s a stereotype that we’re entitled and we grew up in the generation where everyone gets a trophy even if your soccer team doesn’t win any games. And baby boomers, who are a lot of our preceptors, see that as we think that we deserve everything just because we exist.
And I know that that’s not true for any of you. You all are very hardworking and you all are willing to put in the extra effort. But showing that to those preceptors is going to get you a lot further than sitting on your little cube or in your desk on your phone in that free time.
CHRIS COX: I deserve an ice cream right now.
RILEY BASS: I do, too.
CHRIS COX: Let’s get an ice cream.
RILEY BASS: We should.
CHRIS COX: All right, let’s close this puppy down.
RILEY BASS: Let’s talk got some tips to add value to the practice first.
CHRIS COX: OK, let’s do it.
RILEY BASS: Number one– help out whenever you can.[BELL RINGING]
Doing whatever you can. Maybe the front office, the receptionist– she may need help filing something. Offer to help her file if you have a little break in the day.
CHRIS COX: No shame in that.
RILEY BASS: Right. Anything that you can think of– if you use the restroom and you see that the trash can is overflowing, take the trash out. Going that extra mile and helping out wherever you can find a way is going to build your value within that practice. And it’s also going to really solidify those relationships with your team, which we’ll get into more next week.
CHRIS COX: If you don’t know really what your value is and you’re having a difficult time, especially with that patient interaction, part of it– don’t be afraid to ask your preceptor or your supervisor, somebody else in the practice, about what they believe their value is and what they’re bringing to the table.[BELL RINGING]
Hearing from somebody else can really help you build what that value is around you and what you can offer to those patients. And it could be one of those pieces that you communicate with your preceptor, like we were talking about last week with confidence.
When you’re communicating something that could be of concern or of help, they can really help keep you accountable to that and see how things are going. And you’ll see a huge, huge increase in that perception of yourself in not just confidence, but also the value that you bring.
RILEY BASS: And our last tip is to share your ideas.[BELL RINGING]
As being young, new to the field audiologists, you probably do have a lot of really great ideas in a lot of areas of expertise that maybe your preceptors don’t. We have a great story of one of the students we’ve worked with that was telling us that at her externship, nobody had done anything with social media for them because nobody really knew how to do it in their office.
And she set up a Facebook page for the practice and a Twitter and got all of their social media aligned and figured out a way to post and get traffic in. And it was something that they had never thought about before. But that’s just the way that society is going these days, is everyone– I mean, my grandma’s on Facebook.
CHRIS COX: She is?
RILEY BASS: Yeah.
CHRIS COX: I think I liked here–
RILEY BASS: She awkwardly comments on everything.
CHRIS COX: Oh, yeah. That’s her, for sure.
RILEY BASS: So people’s grandparents are on social media these days, and they are looking at that kind of stuff.
CHRIS COX: It is, actually, the most rapidly growing subsection of the internet at this point, or the– what is it? 65 and over ones, something along those lines– 65 and over, 65 to, like, 79 or 80 is the fastest-growing demographic. They’re coming online.
RILEY BASS: Right. We’ve all been online for years, but now grandma and grandpa, they’re getting Facebook, as well. So doing things like that, figuring out innovative ways to help the practice to add that value, are going to definitely get you a long way.
CHRIS COX: Just remember to do it humbly and do it in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re trying to take over on anything. Do it in a very pleasant and happy way like, hey, look what I got.
RILEY BASS: Yep, humility is key– confidence with humility. Remember last week?
CHRIS COX: I don’t. It’s a long time ago.
RILEY BASS: Yeah.
CHRIS COX: Well, let’s get some ice cream.
RILEY BASS: Let’s do it. Thank you for tuning in. Next week, we will be talking about the teamwork aspect of that transition from student to provider. As always, I am Riley Bass.
CHRIS COX: And I’m not always Chris Cox.
RILEY BASS: Well, usually he is, unless he’s his alter ego.
CHRIS COX: Rolando.
RILEY BASS: Alter ego– I can’t even say it. Please feel free to reach out to us at Twitter @the_podcast or @rileyb659.
CHRIS COX: Or @coxchriscox.
RILEY BASS: And as always, we will talk to you next week. Thanks, guys.