The End of an Assignment, A Year in Review
Tomorrow, Friday, March 23, 2012, marks the end of my rotation in Massachusetts. For the last year I have worked at a home health agency that supports all of Southeastern Massachusetts and a third of Rhode Island. During my yearlong rotation, I was moved to various parts in this territory and learned various tricks and tools of the trade in the area. Most importantly, I celebrated a marriage to my wife back in August and was able to go on an almost 3 week honeymoon out of the country. With my rotation ending, I am able to take a step back, reflect on what I learned, what I enjoyed, and what I would do differently.
This rotation was my first experience in homecare. For some reason or another, not having experience in this field makes getting the contract difficult. I now understand why, given the increased responsibility and burden of care placed on a single individual per treatment session. Being in homecare often requires the therapist to take on the roles of a primary care physician, a nurse, a friend, and of course, a rehab specialist. I am glad and grateful I was able to get this year under my belt as it affords me a rather large “foot” in the door with future contracts; however, I feel any new or green therapist can tackle homecare if they truly put their mind to it and allow him or herself to assume this higher level of responsibility.
As I stated previously, I was able to tie the knot with my wife. We both are traveling PT’s and could not be happier with our situation. Being adventurous and outdoorsy we were able to travel to New England and enjoy the many long weekends the area has to offer. Whether its winter sports to water sports, camping to bed and breakfasts, New England has it all within 3-6 hours drive from our temporary home. We enjoyed New England so much that we are moving to Maine for the next rotation. The nickname of Vacationland is no understatement here.
Looking back on the last year I can take home several lessons I have learned. First, create a box or portfolio to keep in your car full of exercise programs, weights, thera-band, and other tools to aid you on your various rotations. Whether the sight is homecare or a stationary sight, there are tools and treatment techniques that are specific to you which not all places may have. This provides you, the therapist, a chance to impart a little knowledge to your colleagues, and, at the same time, use what you know best as much as needed for optimum patient results. Second, stay flexible (if you are not flexible now, learn to be). It is safe to say that to be a traveler, period, requires flexibility. In home care flexibility is one of the top qualities any clinician requires to be successful. Medicare and other insurances are making lots of changes that are both good and bad, and we the clinicians are seeing the immediate side effects; flexibility is the best tool we can use to weather the storm and continue to provide excellent care to out patients.
I started at my homecare agency on March 28, 2011, and am about to end it on March 22, 2012. The last year has flown by for my wife and I giving us the chance to improve our skills as therapists, meet new people and cultures, and, best of all, see the world.