My Journey to Occupational Therapy School
If you’re thinking of a career within healthcare, there’s no better time than the present. The aging of baby boomers has guaranteed a boom within careers related to healthcare. In this week’s blog, TS’s Roger Cufaude shares some insight into working with patients and following his dream of pursuing an OT degree.
Q: What is your role within Therapy Specialists and what does that look like?
I’m a Rehab Technician with the company. I started about a year ago here. A lot of my role with patient care was in the skilled nursing facility that we have in Carlsbad working one-on-one with patients under the guidance of PTs and OTs in the skilled nursing facility. I began by helping patients transfer from one position to another, or maybe from bed to walker, or walker to seat, those types of things. Since then my role has evolved. Now I’m working as a tech in the outpatient facility in Liberty Station, which is specifically PT, but still very patient care oriented, walking people through exercises and providing some heat packs and cold packs, electrical therapy, those types of things.
Q: Is there a particular skillset that you think is necessary to be successful in your role of working with patients?
I think relating to people is very important, so having the ability to relate to people who are on this journey of sorts, whether that’s mentally or physically. Rehabilitation is never an easy process. No one ever goes through it alone. And so, I think a lot of of my role is just being a part of the team and kind of helping them through what they’re going through, and providing them the support that they need. Obviously, you have to have the educational basis to understand what their deficiencies might be, or their injuries, and then work them through the process.
Q: What attracted you to OT as a profession?
As I was going through school I was working for a moving company and actually sustained an injury in my back, nothing too serious. The injury required physical therapy, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what the issue was. I found out I had a lot more interest in that than anything I was studying with accounting and finance. So, I started to pursue that. And I always kind of thought I was going to go to PT, physical therapist, but my last summer in college I began a volunteer opportunity in Denver with a adaptive sports program. I was exposed to a lot of OTs and it really kind of changed my mind on it a bit, because I got to see that although we were doing many of the same treatments that you would do inside of a hospital, we were literally taking individuals out of a hospital, a nearby spinal injury hospital, like literally taking them outside and having them in a kayak or stand up paddleboard. Patients loved this. Doing different occupations, I guess, would be one way to describe it, outside. Just seeing the benefits to that comparatively to traditional settings was very eye opening.
Q: What would you say to someone who is possibly considering a profession in OT, or possibly even PT?
One piece of advice would be to figure out the differences between the two and distinguish which one might be right for you, ’cause that could be a tough thing to do. I actually didn’t know what occupational therapy was before I started my Bachelor’s Degree. So, it’s just about exposing yourself to different places. And I think that Therapy Specialists kind of allows that naturally, just because there are so many different settings. But yeah, I mean, there’s all types of resources online. I mean, there’s a student doctor network, which is essentially a lot of students going through school. It’s almost like a Reddit for individuals going through medical school in one way or another, whether it’s dentistry, medical doctor, therapy, anything like that.
We hope you found our interview with Roger helpful. If you’d like to pursue a career with Therapy Specialists, please take a look at our current job opportunities.