Occupational Therapists are born teachers, we teach every single working day! Being able to share our knowledge and experience with others is one of the best things about being an OT I think! It can take many forms…
- We teach other OT’s – in in-services, during coaching sessions or simple conversations in the office or at lunch table, at conferences and at universities…
- We teach other clinicians – in in-services, on the ward, in joint assessments and through explanation of what we do and the wide breadth of things we bring to the table for our patients / clients / consumers / residents…
- We teach students, we demonstrate appropriate behaviour, demonstrate skills, and teach the students how to function in the real-world context…
- Most importantly we have a reciprocal relationship with our patients / clients / consumers and their family / whanau!
I love that moment of understanding / when a light goes on behind their eyes / that ‘ah ha!!!’ moment, that shows that something you have said has created a new meaningful connection or deepened their understanding of their condition / situation!
It is a great honour to be able to do this every single working day as an Occupational Therapist!
A well written clinical notes entry can be so satisfying!
When it all comes together, particularly for those of you who also write hand written notes – its great when your writing looks tidy with no errors, it flows, is articulate, well laid out on the page (am a structure person so this is important to me!), insightful comments are made and your occupational therapy roots show through in your writing and assessment style….
I believe in the use of the ‘therapy hug’ in certain situations, when people are upset, crying, super happy and joyful, sometimes they just want a hug / throw their arms around someone.
Two examples of random hugs from patients and families come to mind from the last week:
1) During a physical assessment a maturely aged woman made significant gains in her recovery. When she sitting on the edge of the bed with me crouching in front of her, she looked into my eyes and smiled and leaned forward – I slightly panicked thinking she was losing her balance – but she just gently rested her forehead against mine and said thank you for helping her 🙂
2) One night when I was working late finishing up notes at an empty nurses station I saw the partner of a patient come onto the ward, I said hello and then continued with my note writing (wishing that I was already at home with my feet up), the next instant I was enveloped from behind in a spontaneous hug from the women – who simply said “Thank you so much for today”.
This is definitely one of the lovely things about being an OT!
“The best occupational therapy on earth is a packet of seeds and a square of dirt…”
Last weekend I was out front of my house working on my front garden when an older man walked past and started chatting to me about gardening (as growing vegetables is my new hobby), when I said that I was an Occupational Therapist he told me that he had had a stroke when he was in his 60’s and had been introduced to gardening in rehab. He talked about how much he loved his OT sessions and how it changed his life. He asked me if he could gift me some vegetable plants as a way of giving back.
Today he dropped 4 Heritage Tomatoe seedlings, and 3 pots of Lebanese Cucumbers with spare seeds and a seedling pot at my door with a lovely note – reading it I confess I had a wee tear in my eye 🙂