Saturday, November 16, 2013

Life as a Practicing Occupational Therapist

Prior to my first job, I gained experience providing occupational therapy services as a student while working towards my master's degree.  For the last three months that I have been practicing as a licensed and registered occupational therapist (and the only one at my facility at that), I now fully realize the honor and responsibility of being a member of this profession.  As much as I enjoy my work at a skilled nursing facility, every day presents challenges concerning honoring residents' autonomy while seeking to improve the quality of their lives, communicating with coworkers and team members from other disciplines, feeling confident in my ability to create and implement resident-centered plans of care, and utilizing my clinical judgment within company guidelines.  These challenges may be overwhelming if I did not find serving the geriatric population tremendously meaningful, but I have had a special interest in this area since I became involved in hospice work years before returning to college to pursue this career path.  Although I take my position as an occupational therapist very seriously and seek to approach each resident with dignity and respect, I strive to create an atmosphere of levity when appropriate in a setting that is often heavy with suffering and have found that a joke, hug, smile, or listening ear can go a long way towards providing comfort in the face of confusion, fear, sadness, and loneliness as well as physical pain.  All in all, I feel that I have made the right career choice and look forward to adding practical experience to my growing base of knowledge as I pursue my career and sources of continuing education.