You have a lot to do in managing your practice, and if you’re a solo practitioner, you’re probably providing all the clinical services, writing reports, and creating admin and marketing materials yourself. It’s easy for composition mistakes to get by you. Take steps to correct them so that your communications are as flawless as possible.
Be Mindful As You Write
It’s easy to write without thinking when you’ve been grinding out reports and varied communications for years. And e-mails and texts may fly off your fingers, making you proud of a clear inbox. But content counts, so focus on what you’re writing. Even if you use report writing software, stay alert to the text you include as well as what you delete, and why you’re making these selections. Are you left with pages of disjointed jargon or a meaningful depiction of the person you evaluated? Also, these days assume that everything you write may wind up being read by someone other than the person you sent it to. This includes clinical documents that may be forwarded or even posted online by patients or their representatives. This new climate can be frustrating, so reach out to colleagues and professional associations for support and best practices.
Review Your Work
Once you’ve finished writing, take time to critique what you wrote. Though you may be eager to send the document on its way, let your report or message sit a minute to make sure it’s correct. You may have crafted a perfectly competent evaluation, but does it answer the referral question? Some practitioners are chagrined to learn that they sent out their “boiler-plate” report without customizing it for a new referral source. And don’t rely only on spell-check. You’ll catch most typos and grammatical errors, but some semantic nuances may be missed. Did you whip out a curt note when you were annoyed, only to realize later that your rude tone sabotaged an important professional relationship? Review what you send out carefully.
Hire A Consultant
You may not need help with routine reports and communications, but seek professional advice about your special writings, such as journal articles, books, and web postings. And don’t forget marketing and other promotional materials. Similarly, if you’re starting to do new types of evaluations, be sure the form and substance of your reports are consistent with protocol. All of these communications require special care, so hire a consultant to evaluate and edit your work. Even clinical reports can be reviewed in blind fashion to ensure their professionalism. Your communications live on beyond you, so be sure they reflect your expertise well.
You do a lot of writing as a practitioner and mistakes can occur. Your communications are a reflection of you and your practice, so make sure they’re the best they can be!
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About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant specializing in Success Psychology.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Your Success Psychologist!
Clinical Psychology Consulting
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