Q. What is your favorite part of being an occupational therapist in the skilled nursing facility (SNF) setting?
Andrew: My favorite part about being an occupational therapist in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) setting is that I get to be one of the main forces behind helping people increase their overall quality of life. When I walk into a patient’s room, people are usually excited to see me because they know that I will be honest, patient, but persistent to help the person achieve their goals. I get to be creative each and every day, utilize my strengths as a therapist, and provide the tools and knowledge that will help increase their independence.
Q. What is the biggest challenge in your field?
Andrew: The biggest challenge I face in the field revolves around working at such a personal level with my patients. We develop relationships that may either be short or long lived. Working with an aging population, it is inevitable that many patients will pass at some point during our time of care. We as therapists must be at peace with this truth but be compassionate to those facing this stage of life and be willing to be whatever they need. Navigating this element of the job is never easy.
Q. Have you experienced any challenges with productivity demands or the physical demands of the work? If so, how have you managed them?
Andrew: I personally have not experienced any challenges with productivity demands of working in the skilled nursing facility (SNF) setting. I have been lucky enough to work for a company that believes in creating personal relationships with each resident that we work with rather than meeting common productivity demands. However, I do make every effort to instill quality care standards that will lead to efficient work. I have several friends who work for other companies that provide services to skilled nursing facility (SNF) settings and they frequently tell me how lucky I am to not have to worry as much about meeting unrealistic productivity requirements.
Q. Skilled nursing facility (SNF) work can have the reputation of being repetitious. What have you done over the years to keep your work fresh and engaging?
Andrew: I am fortunate to find my job to be anything but repetitious. I am an occupational therapist, but also a Director of Rehab which helps break up my day and keeps my work fresh and engaging. When I provide services, I try to find the motivators that work for the person I am working with, rather than a generic motivator that might result in non compliance. I have been known to break out a magic trick here and there to put a smile on someones face to keep their session upbeat and fun. I get to oversee all rehab services for physical, occupational and speech therapy which provides me with creative alternatives that build upon my “bag of tricks.”