Alas! I finally have the time to sit back, think of all the years that gone by…update my blog (darn, after like what – gazillion years! Nah,, just an overstatement..;p) here I am, alone, doing my regular “reflections..” Indeed, it kind of help me a lot applying all those “thinking back”, reflecting over the things I had done…and had not done, or was not able to do so due to a number of reasons; making a sense out of my shallow life.
In my life now, transition is really a big word. At first I was wondering how I would ever get out into college life struggles, not because I did not enjoy my college life, but the hours and hours I spend inside the four corners of our classrooms get longer and longer.. and it only gets harder every time. Now that I am finally out of it all, I wonder, what now?
I always find myself stuck on one corner of my room...looking back…I never understand why it feels so great to reminisce all those memories of younger years until I realize why - simply because those are the days when everything was better.
Now that I’m beginning the life of a working individual…I’m having a lot of apprehensions.. First, should I work and use my diploma? Or should I use my diploma and work? Haha! What I really mean is that, I know some of my classmates who’d resort to working in a call center instead of using everything they have learned to do what they ought to do…to practice what they really worked hard for, and most importantly, to help other people.
I was grateful and I really appreciate everything that I learned from internship. Not only did it help me apply all the theoretical knowledge we have learned from our lectures and discussions but I also get to mingle with different kinds of people…and learn from them. Internship has taught me a lot of things – from the “what-to-dos” to “what-not-to”. I had the opportunity to get along with various kind of people – from my colleagues to the parents and caregivers and patients with which we offer our services.
It’s amazing how I do this technique and then it works in an actual patient, you realize, hey that’s evidence-based practice. Haha! One example of which was when I handled a 60-something year-old patient with Parkinson’s disease. I was pretty amazed by how I see before my eyes how a cog-wheel rigidity looks or feels like, how a masked fascies looks like, how an intention tremor differs from resting tremor, and the like…stuff I only get to read from books before; and a lot more conditions I got to handle that I was only able to hear and read from medical books and online reference materials.
A big bulk of what I learned was on how to relate with other people. I admit I was never that loud or outgoing person. I was rather shy. But an experience from one affiliation center served as an eye opener for me. I remember one professional that I worked with told me, “kailangan marunong kang makisama sa mga magulang ng mga pasyente…kasi sila ang maaaring makatulong o makasira sayo..” Indeed it’s true. For me, OT as a profession, lives on because of: the parents/caregivers who trust you, and the occupational therapist who has the skills and competency to practice. Establishing rapport is not that difficult for me. I have learned along the way how to interact and get to the level of my kids and their caregivers. But to stay in the profession means you have to be tough. One life-changing incident that could almost crash down my level of self-esteem was when I worked with my colleagues (who were supposed to grade me for my performance), thought we got along well but then all of a sudden, they failed me for reasons I never understood. For one thing, you cannot make all people like you. Even if I grew that way, that I always get what I want…I never argued with anyone or had a fight with someone before…no matter what you do, or how goody-two-shoes you are, you cannot please everyone. And sometimes, you just have to bear with that. If you’d get yourself affected, you’ll only suffer. You’d only prove them that they are right all along. The best counter-attack is to always do the best that you can, prove to them what your real worth, and never settle for a substandard or “okay” performance. When in every circumstances you have the chance to shine and leave a mark. Fortunately, I got the sympathy of my clinical supervisor, he believed in my potentials and he took my side. I couldn’t put into words how thankful and how grateful I was of him then. Coming from a different university than us, I thought he would be bias and all, but then, he fulfilled his job as a clinical supervisor – fair and objective when it comes to all his interns no matter what school they come from.
I remember when another clinical supervisor from one of our affiliation centers talked with me personally about my strengths and weaknesses as an OT. One thing that really marked to me then was when she said, “I think you have the skills…you just have to get out of your nutshell..” I never really understood what she meant until I was undergoing this volunteership program that I applied for to keep me busy during summer, while I was reviewing for the boards this July and my menthor reiterated that to me. Sometimes, it really helps when you have that someone who would make you realize what’s lacking, and what you already have that you need to polish. I know what we have learned and practiced during internship was not enough, and it’s not an excuse that you are not able to give your best shot. I was talking with one parent one time and she was asking me of the summary of the re-evaluation I had done for her child. I was not able to make the summary of re-evaluation because it was no longer required of me by my clinical supervisor since it was only a make-up duty. The parent told me, “hindi mo naisip na kailangan ng anak ko yun pag magpapacheck-up kami sa doctor..” Although it was stated in a manner as a joke, I felt terrible. She has a point. I was no longer doing this to graduate…I am now doing this for my patients. I admit, at some point in my life, I was also like the others who were conscious of their grades…to meet the deadlines of their papers… and what gets compromised? The quality of the service you deliver. It feels sad seeing patients not improving…just because their treatment was not well planned and carried out. Why? Because there’s a rapid transition (not even a transition) or change from one intern to another and kids find it difficult to adjust that’s why they regress; because every OT intern has a different treatment plan from the other even though they handle a similar kid; because the OT intern’s priority is: “basta matapos lang..” Duh, patients are not guinea pigs of the internship, they are people seeking for help and because they get there, found you, they deserve at least a decent intervention to address their problems properly! Who cares if you have no or little make-up days? who cares if you have an average of 1 or 2 in your transcript? Parents don’t have to know your GWA every time they’d walk into the clinic. What they see is your performance, how you handle their kids, and how their child improves even at home because you offered them the help they needed.
I am not saying all these because I do very well in my craft. I, as a practicing OT in the future, have my own flaws and inadequacies. This doesn’t mean that I’d stop here once I realized what’s wrong for we always have the option to do better every time. And before you know it, you’ll feel that you are really happy once you realized that everything is in its place…and a major part of it is because of YOU.