Whether you work with a sports psychologist, nutritionist, strength coach, chiropractor, physical therapist, or someone entirely outside of the sports-focused realm, what starts as clinical relationships can often build into professional friendships. Providers become a critical part of your athlete-success team and come to know intimately your training schedule, stress load, and personal happenings.
Sometimes, though, it’s time to find a new provider, or take a break from your current one. Finances, moving to a new location, or personal preference are all valid reasons to make a change in your athlete care. Because many of us come to enjoy spending time with our providers, though, it can feel awkward to tell them it’s time for you to move on – here’s how to do so with grace and professionalism.
Make a Plan
At some point, you came to the conclusion that a certain provider is no longer working for you. This may be because of something like moving to a new location, financial changes, or personal life happenings. And, of course, sometimes a practitioner may not be a match personality-wise. That’s ok! These things happen and the first step is acknowledging that a change needs to occur in order for you to get the treatment and care you need.
A good place to start is by checking out other providers in your area. At GritLink, we offer the ability to search by location, insurance, specialty, and more – making this an easy-peasey thing to check off your list.
After finding a suitable practitioner, do your research. You can check out our blogs on physical therapists and chiropractors, strength trainers, massage therapists, nutritionists, and sports psychologists to learn more about how to vet and select a care provider that’s right for you in and out of the athlete identity.
Then, make an appointment with the new provider that gives you time to chat with your current one first.
Think Before You Speak
It is generally best to let your current provider know about your changes in person. This shows respect to both parties and prevents anything from getting lost in translation over text or email. Speaking in person also gives both of you the chance to talk about any topics that crop up such as insurance, billing, time frames, etc.
At the end of your appointment, let your provider know you’re making some changes in your life, including practitioners. You can then be kind but honest about the reasons why you’re opting to move your care to a new practice, but are grateful for the treatment you received at the current location of care.
At the end of the day, any provider – physical or mental – wants to see their clients succeed in ways that work for them. As long as you offer transparency, kindness, and respect in your notice to the provider, there’s no need to fear a difficult conversation.
If you must communicate this change via email or text, be sure to offer that you’re happy to discuss more over the phone or in-person. This gives you and the provider the option to clear up any confusion without the stress of digital means.
Coordinate with Both Providers
As a final step, ask each provider what they need. For your now former provider, you may need to provide a written statement agreeing to being discharged from the practitioner’s care. You may also need to settle any leftover bills or insurance issues prior to being able to fully “separate” from this provider.
Be sure to also discuss with your new provider what information they may need to get your care plan in place. The new practitioner may want files describing your previous plan of action – be sure you understand how the practitioner plans to access this information, and if they need you to be of help.
It’s important to prioritize what you need out of a practitioner and make changes accordingly. Don’t be afraid to change up what’s not working in the name of making health gains in and out of your sport. Check out provider listings from GritLink here.
By Kristin Goett. Kristin is a social media marketing and public relations professional who currently resides in the Denver area. A triathlete herself, Kristin knows firsthand how important it is to have access to great providers. When she isn’t checking Instagram or posting to Facebook, Kristin is spending her days in the Colorado mountains and training for her next Ironman.
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