Wrapping up our highlight of occupational therapists (OTs) at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) for OT Month is Sue, an OT and Coordinator for the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre Adult Concussion Service.
"What I love about my role is that I work collaboratively with a team to help clients recover from their concussion," Sue explains.
Her role is to provide evidence-based education and coaching to assist clients in using self-management strategies and help them gradually return to pre-injury activities. Sue says that she enjoys the process of getting to know her clients, "learning what inspires them to be well and creatively working with them to resume involvement in meaningful activities, and in the words of many clients, help them get their life back."
Having the opportunity to speak about the value of regular exercise, mindfulness, staying socially connected, and participating in activities that are life energizing is what Sue is most passionate about.
"I feel that my role aligns with my values of living in a way that promotes good health, balance, growth, and enjoyment in every day," Sue tells us.
Sue often says that her role as an OT is like being a lifestyle engineer with a clinical lens as she engages in the "creative process of problem-solving and generating organizational system that enables clients to improve their functioning,"
Sue says that the most exciting moments are when her clients start to demonstrate the qualities of being a self-manager and start saying things like "I feel more in control," "I have a road map to help me recover" and "I've got life skills and tools that will serve me for the rest of my life."
"I feel I've done my job well when clients have essentially learned to become their own therapist," she says.
"I feel supported in my role by encouragement and support for continued learning and growth," Sue says. She explains that this is supported by continual and open sharing of knowledge and resources between colleagues, regular in-services and funding to attend and present at conferences and courses.
"In my role, I also have opportunities to be involved in teaching and research with the UBC Faculty of Medicine, Master of Occupational Therapy program," she says.
When asked how she incorporates the VCH Values of we care for everyone, we are always learning and we strive for better results, Sue says, "I feel that my colleagues and I genuinely care for our clients and each other. In our work with clients, we are motivated by wanting the best results for clients."
She explains that she achieves this by challenging herself and colleagues to be curious, knowledgeable of best practices, humble enough to admit when they don't know something and to be open to learning from their clients.
A fun fact about Sue – she once auditioned as a hand model for a Play-Doh commercial! While she didn't get this gig, she instead pursued her goal of becoming an OT and, after years of practice, she is still very enthusiastic about her job and proud to be an OT.
She says that "while the interventions are practical and often common sense, it's the combination of art and science that continues to make my work engaging and intrinsically rewarding. I'm happy to say I choose the right profession and feel lucky in my role at VCH."