DCEs in PT programs know that the Annual Bulk Slot Request is a big deal and for most of you, March 1st is the big day.
At Exxat, we’ve sent out a lot of Slot Requests. Here are some of our best tips for a successful March 1st Mailing.
- Plan for Success
The new year dawns, you’re worrying about the next term and students heading to clinics. March 1st and next year’s slots are miles away. But suddenly you realize February is short. Your annual slot request is coming up!
Don’t let that happen to you. Make a plan early. Then follow your plan and meet your own deadlines.
- Clean Your Data
Whether you send your mailing by mail, fax, or email, it must reach the right person. Keep your information always updated by checking & updating contact information throughout the year. If you’ve been less than vigilant, consider a January check to confirm CCCE contact information.
- Don’t Get Blocked
If you’re sending your requests via email, make sure you can blast through any firewall. Tell sites how to make their inboxes friendly to your email by adding you to their safe list.
Consider sending a test email before March 1st to make sure your emails are getting through and to reveal any old addresses that may have snuck in.
- Include Details
Make sure you clearly communicate the details. Include session dates, slot request deadlines, and other important information. Don’t make your CCCEs guess about anything. The more they wonder, the less likely they are to offer you slots.
- Write Carefully
The right wording makes all the difference. Send a gracious, professional and personal request. Especially if you’re in a tight market, the personal touch is a key component to maintaining relationships with your clinical partners.
- Offer Incentives
Mentoring your students is an important job. Offer your clinical partners some tangible benefits to working with you. Library privileges, CEU credits, and certificates can help cement those relationships. Then mention and reinforce these benefits in your communication.
- Follow Up
We all miss messages from time to time—even important ones. Send a follow-up message by email just in case.
- Use Technology
Consider technology solutions to assist you such as a clinical education management software to help you send slot requests. However, stay open to those CCCEs who resist technology. Send resistant CCCE communication by mail or carrier pigeon if you must.
- Track Responses
Each slot that comes in brings you one step closer to successful placements for your students. Tech solutions to help you manage and track slots can be so helpful at this stage of your Annual Slot Request.
Send confirmations for each offered slot. Automate these if possible to save yourself time and energy.
Track slots using a spreadsheet or clinical education software. Some software allows sites to offer slots directly into the system, eliminating the need to track slots.
Pay special attention to any First Come, First Served slots. A tool that tracks these on your dashboard can be especially helpful.
Reach out to sites who haven’t responded by early April—especially if they offered slots in previous years. You may want to use the report available through your clinical education management software. If you don’t have access to a report like that, consider creating one.
- Treat yourself!
You deserve it. You’re helping educate the next wave of Physical Therapists. This is big deal.
We wish you all good luck in getting slots for the coming year.