#12 – Seeing my clients achieve their rehab goals is what makes my job as an Occupational Therapist very rewarding – Divika
#13: Deep connections. As a MH OT, many people express feeling like we get them on a deeper level, and that in itself creates positive change – Dorothy
Imagine this… a small hospital bathroom, a patient showering, an OT supervising, much talking and general laughter is heard coming from the steam filled room, the patient’s focus wanders, control of the shower head is lost, the OT is hit with a full blast of warm water from head to toe, the patient and OT shriek with laughter, the shower head skitters along the floor of shower further spraying the OT (and if very unlucky the patients clean clothing is also saturated), the OT is soaked, the patient is relaxed and happy with their showering achievements, patient returns to bed space to continue their day, the OT squelches down the corridor in wet shoes, wet socks and wet scrubs with a smile on her face… Its 9.10am.
Over the years I have amassed a veritable treasure trove of anecdotes / funny stories and not-so-funny stories that I use as teaching tools for students / new staff (while protecting patient privacy).
Further pearls of wisdom I have learnt over the years:
- Chocolate chip cookies should not be put in toasters, it does not soften them! (In my defence I didn’t actually know what would happen when the person put the biscuit in the toaster, it seemed kind of plausible that it would soften it so was easier to eat… BUT… What happens is smoke, lots and lots of smoke, smoke issues from the toaster, smoke alarms go off, the house fills with gross burnt chocolate smelling smoke, windows get opened, neighbours look over fences, patient and OT agree that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea after all, OT is red faced and wondering how on earth she was going to write this debacle up in the clinical notes without looking like a dork…. SO! Lesson learnt: Chocolate chip biscuits do not go in the toaster!
- There is a difference between top and bottom dentures…. enough said!
- You need to always remove the wheelchair seat belt before trying to transfer someone out of a wheelchair…
- Knocking the red button on the front of the hoist causes it to stop… its not broken or flat, just release the emergency button to get it working again (had a wee panic the first time that happened to me with a patient in the air!)
- Powered wheelchairs will not work if they are set to manual mode…. (sigh)
These are but a few of the cautionary tales I use when training or comforting other OT’s… Hopefully I am not abnormal and others have similar stories….. Right?!?!
A work family are those that you work with each day that you become close to through shared experiences – some good, some bad and every shade in-between, they are the ones we laugh with and cry with and share our exasperation with, who understand the unique pressures that we work under like no others. Those who understand your silly in-jokes about equipment (who can go past a great toilet frame joke!) or bodily functions, or who remember favourite patients and those you can share your horror stories with and debrief with at the end of a long day…
I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing work family both on my ward (where I have worked for the last 5 years) and within the team itself – many of whom have transitioned into close friends and family members over time.
I have heaps of examples of the joys of the work family – through our celebrations of engagements, weddings, pregnancies, births, or support during crises (both work and personal), hugely busy periods with heavy workloads, injury and illness… we are always there and have a wide breadth of understanding about the human condition and all the goes along with it!
For me one of the best examples I have seen of the work family support system was last week after the sad passing of the husband of one of the nurses on my ward – 22 of us attended the funeral, most of us straight from the ward in our scrubs, we hugged and cried with our friend and simply were there in quiet support of her and her family during this tragic time.
Have others experienced the joy of the work family?