As an Occupational Therapist working in Occupational Rehabilitation the highlight of the job is assisting people overcome the challenges of a work related injury, and seeing them achieve employment goals they didn’t realise were possible.
I recently assisted a lady, let’s call her Barbara, in her late 40’s with her return to work following bilateral shoulder injuries. Her recovery had been very long, with her experiencing post-operative complications including frozen shoulder. Needless to say, Barbara was incredibly disheartened when I first met her. She had worked as a cleaner most of her life, and had never pictured herself working in an alternate area. When her doctor recommended against returning to her previous employment role, Barbara reported a sense of being ‘absolutely lost’. To assist in providing some employment direction she participated in a Vocational Assessment where we discussed her skills, abilities, personal strengths and interests. Through this assessment Barbara was able to identify an interest in working with people, as well as a love of gardening. A host placement was organised in a retail position involving her passion for gardening and she thrived at the placement. While her injuries slowly improved, her confidence and self-worth didn’t take as long to pick back up. Being a ‘people person’ Barbara thoroughly enjoyed the customer contact associated with retail, and couldn’t believe it had taken her having an injury to change into a career that she loved. At the conclusion of her host placement Barbara was offered employment with the host employer. She just happens to now work at my local store, where I am occasionally greeted by her smiling face.
Blog – Jade Evans (Occupational Therapist)