October is Occupational Therapy (OT) month! Occupational therapists at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) have opportunities to work across the full continuum of care from the emergency department to community-based services, intensive care, acute care, transitional care, rehabilitation, long-term care, outpatients and home and community care. This month we will feature the diverse roles of OTs at VCH.
“I most enjoy the variety of my work activities – being an occupational therapist requires you to continuously problem solve challenges that patients face and limit their ability to perform everyday activities," says John. “Working with people with new spinal cord injuries really puts that to the test."
John tells us he also really enjoys working with his teammates who are a dynamic and dedicated group of professionals who really bring the best out of one another.
Getting into his current role was somewhat by chance. As a student occupational therapist, John had a placement on the Spine Unit and fell in love with this particular application of OT to the patient experience.
“Soon after I had the opportunity to fill in for another therapist and then formally apply for the position. 28 years later, I am still here!"
John has witnessed many inspirational moments in his role.
“Helping and seeing a patient do something like feed themselves, drive a power wheelchair, write their name – something they could not do before on account of their spinal cord injury is very rewarding," he says.
Occupational therapy as a profession is embraced and valued and research shows that OTs make a difference in quality of living for the patients, as well as length of stay and reduced re-admissions.
It is clear that John aligns to VCH values (We Care for Everyone, We Are Always Learning and We Strive for Better Results) in his role.
“Each day I try to do my best – no matter that task at hand," he says. “Whether I am focused on a patient and/or family care, something that benefits my OT colleagues, my spine team and the organisation, is I always strive to say 'yes' and do what I can."
In his spare time, John enjoys playing golf and tells us he can make a mean lemon square!