So I have finished my first travel job and am now back home covering for some maternity leave at a local hospital. I did end up extending my travel position for a couple weeks and eased right into my current job. My first travel experience was great! The setting was a skilled nursing facility, a hospital (mostly swing bed), and an outpatient clinic combined, so I had a very varied caseload. My co-workers were fantastic and really helped me feel like part of their team. I am grateful for their positive attitudes and insight while I was there.
I am now in a hospital setting doing mostly acute care and TCU (transitional care, which is similar to a nursing home). I'll explain a little that I know for those who don't know, because I sure didn't a few months ago. In order to be eligible to go to swing bed, nursing home, or TCU while having your insurance pay, you must have a 3 day stay in the hospital, sort of as a 'pre-qualifier'. If not, you either have to go home, or pay out of pocket. And I don't know the exact details on this, but if you have the 3 day qualifying stay, you may then be eligible for a 30 day stay in swing bed or a 90 day stay in the nursing home (this all depends on which type of Medicare you have, so please don't hold me to it! :)). Sometimes people only need to stay for a week, which makes swing bed a good option, and some may need 2 months of therapy, which makes a nursing home a good option. Once people are in a nursing home or TCU, and are referred to therapy there is a lot more that happens regarding Medicare. But I won't go into it at the moment because I don't know as much as I should to be giving an overview! :)
Acute care is more for people are there for a short time: post surgery (knee, hip, back, shoulder, etc.), medical (pneumonia, mild CVA, cancer, etc.), telemetry, ICU, and others. It's been interesting for me because at my last job, I typically saw patients for a week to a couple of months, and now I may only have one or two days with a patient before they go home. I see a larger variety of personalities and diagnoses. Some are happy to see me, and some try their hardest to get me out of the room as soon as I get to their room. My goal with everyone is to find at least one thing to talk about with them that they are positive about. With some people, it's as easy as finding out what they do for a living or like to do in their free time and talking about these things. For those that think of me as the enemy, I have to work a little harder. We have to gain a better understanding of who they are and what their daily lives consist of before we can make that connection with someone.
I had a patient recently who was very angry to be in the hospital and was also in a lot of pain. After a couple of refusals from them one day, I decided to try one last time. I knew what they did for a living, about their home set-up, family dynamics, and their hobbies. But this time I asked, "If you weren't here right now, what would you be doing?" "Fishing," they replied. Finally it was something I could run with! I went on to ask what kind of fish was their favorite and what lakes/rivers they used the most. I don't fish often but I enjoy going and of course love eating it. So instead of telling them of my few fishing adventures, I went on to ask about the best ways to prepare it, and what they eat with it. It made me laugh when they told me how I prepare it is totally wrong, but were able to put me on the right path. I most likely won't change how I cook my walleye or tilapia, but it was nice to finally break through that wall and have them trust me a little more.
I wish I could share more examples, but I need to be careful w/ confidentiality. It's hard to blog about work & OT sometimes because the things I'd like to say may be about someone's family member or friend. When I was working in MN, most of the people had never even been to ND. Now that I'm working back in ND, it seems that 90% of the people I see are have connections within 1 or 2 degrees of separation. They may be from my hometown, are relatives of a friend, go to church with us, or anything else. I had a patient recently who used to be good friends with one of my grandparents growing up. It is definitely a smaller world in ND, but I do like that sometimes.
Anyway, I'll be done for now, but I guess what I'm trying to get at here is that we all need to be sensitive to our patients/clients/residents and their situations. It is our job to help gain their trust and to find connections with them so that we are part of their team and a resource for them rather than the enemy.
Happy birthday to new baby Liv (our 2nd niece)!!! We are so excited to meet you soon! :)
Thanks to these blogs for listing this one on theirs! Very encouraging. I feel undeserving, but thank you so much.
And for all of you considering going into OT, here is a link for possible financial resources for you! Good luck!!! :)