Professional isolation refers to a sense of isolation from your professional peers. It can result in a sense of estrangement from your professional identity and practice currency, or feel like you have ‘no one to turn to’ to discuss and share professional issues and ideas.
For Allied Health Professionals, professional isolation can be an issue in remote and rural practice. However it is important to understand that professional isolation is not about distance, it is about lack of professional networks and contact. The most remote Allied Health Professionals may not consider himself or herself professionally isolated if he/she has strong professional networks.
Professional Isolation & You
Each individual will experience differing degrees of professional isolation (if at all). Ask you self the below questions to gage how professional networked you are.
- Do you have collegial networks at your work site (within your own profession or the broader health care team)?
- Do you belong to your professional association?
- Do you meet regularly with professional peers and colleagues?
- Do you have a clinical/professional supervisor or mentor?
- Do you belong to any professional networks, interest groups or discussion groups?
- Do you regular participate in CPD events with your peers?
- Do you know how to contact professional peers in your community, region, and state?
Remember networking does not necessarily need to be face to face. Telephone, videoconferencing and online technologies are creating new and exciting ways for professionals to network, no matter where you are located.
Strategies to Reduce Professional Isolation
- Join your professional association. Find out more about networking opportunities available within the association. Volunteer to be on a committee or participate in special interest groups.
- Join SARRAH.
- Get a mentor or professional/clinical supervisor.
- Ask you colleagues or mentor/supervisor about professional networking opportunities.
- Find out if there are any professional networks/interests groups within your organisation and local community.
- Access a copy of a professional directory/facilities list.
- Join an interest group. If you can’t attend in person (and the interest group doesn’t offer remote access) ask to be on the circulation list for minutes.
- The www is a fantastic place to become networked. Join discussion forums, e-news updates, or list-serves in topic areas you are interested in.
- Make the most of face-to-face opportunities (e.g. professional development events). Introduce yourself and make contacts.
- Organise site visits to ‘meet and greet’ professionals in centre nearby you or the city.
- Think bigger than your organisation. Other organisations in your community may employ like professionals.
- Remember professional networking is not just about your own profession. Your other professional team members can help you feel less professionally isolated.
- Keep in touch with professional contacts you have made in the past (past student supervisors, colleagues etc).
- Build your own small networks – be proactive. This could be as simple as an email group.
And most importantly:
- Be an active participant in any opportunity to network with peers.