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I am so glad that See Occupational Therapists Run is being released exactly when it is! I feel really confident that this book could not be more timely. My publisher and I had been working toward releasing it on April 1st of 2020 for OT month, but COVID-19 threw a wrench in those plans when all the printers had to shut down. This extra time has afforded me the ability to go into even greater depth regarding how COVID-19 is affecting our field and the challenges we are all facing.
COVID is hitting our profession hard! I am hoping that this book will offer my fellow OTs some support and remind you that you are not alone.
The workbook style of this book will hopefully help you reflect on your career and help you prioritize what is important and create some strategies to manage the stressors.
I interviewed occupational therapy practitioners in several different practice settings in writing this book and I know that no matter what setting you are working in, you are feeling the ongoing effects of COVID.
My NICU has changed in many ways. We have treated COVID positive babies and have had to prevent COVID positive parents from coming in and holding their babies. This is against any therapeutic or developmental model, but it is unavoidable. We also have no volunteers right now, so the cuddler program that I started is on hold. It makes me sad. It makes my job harder, but I still have to show up and do my job and alter my self-care so that I get through it in good physical and mental health.
As an academic fieldwork coordinator, my day is filled with calling hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and schools seeking fieldwork placements for my students. I talk to OT supervisors all day long and I am hearing the struggles everyone is dealing with. This is a very challenging time to be in healthcare.
I really hope that this blog, website, and book, See Occupational Therapists Run brings some calm into your crazy lives. I hope you are able to read the pages and know that you are not alone. The stories regarding COVID are taken from real OTs in the field doing the work. I know you will identify with it and I hope that you are able to reflect on some of the questions that I ask and remember that we are a huge community, ready to support each other. There are tons of OT facebook groups you can be a part of that might be specific to your practice area. Try to remember to tap into your community once in a while.
I am the only therapist in my tiny NICU, so I rely on connections with other therapists from previous employment as my support system. If you do not have a support system, think about how you can cultivate a relationship with someone in your workplace for some mutual camaraderie and support. It is such a critical piece for avoiding burnout!
OK, gotta get to work. Until next time, remember to stop and breathe!