Words by Athena Chan, Occupational Therapist HCA
A Day In The Life of an HCA Occupational Therapist
Wake up – I wake up in the morning and am ready to go to the gym for an hour. I find going to the gym in the early morning very helpful to boost my energy for the day. I usually spend 45mins to an hour at the gym and then make my way home.
Arrive at the facility – I work at an aged care facility as an occupational therapist. I start work at 8 am every morning. After arriving, I will leave my bag in the locker and put my lunch in the fridge in the staff room on the ground floor. I will then go to the level 1 office to start my occupational therapist work.
The other occupational therapists and I share the same office, so we will take this time to do a handover or ask for advice about interventions on certain clients. I usually spend about an hour reading progress notes and planning the schedule of my day. It is important to read the notes before seeing my clients to ensure I have the most up-to-date knowledge about them.
Start to see clients – I start seeing my clients at 9 am because most of them won’t finish breakfast until then. The occupational therapy treatments I provide to my clients include soft tissue massage, post-surgery rehabilitation, or muscle-strengthening exercise.
During the session, not only do I do treatment with them but also talk about my private life. My clients are really interested in knowing what happens outside the facility. I believe since they rarely have the opportunities to access the community, having someone to tell them things from the outside can bring them a sense of extraordinary.
Morning tea time – I head down to the staff room for a cup of tea with the other occupational therapists and my other colleagues. The facility is very generous. It has a coffee machine, boxes of tea bags and some snacks in place (e.g. toast, biscuits) in case we need the energy to keep the day going.
I enjoy spending tea time together with my colleagues because it is a time when we can talk about topics that are not work-related. We share things from parenting to finance, you name it. I am so lucky to be part of the team. Everyone is so supportive and easy to get along with.
Lunchtime – It is halfway through the day! Almost there.
Finish up documentation – Rather than getting on and off the computer throughout the day, I prefer to leave all the documentation till the end of the shift so I can concentrate. In terms of paperwork, I am required to take attendance for regular treatments and write progress notes for referrals. For instance, I did a wheelchair assessment and post-fall review today, so I have two pieces of notes to write.
Leave work – Done for the day, see you!
Social volleyball — Socialising with friends after a day of work is the best. The joy from playing sports as a team and the laughter from silly jokes really help with de-stressing. It is really important to maintain a work-life balance, especially for new graduates transitioning from students to employees, to prevent burnout.
Home – Time for a shower and dinner. I feel like a shower does not only clean my body but also clear my mind for rest. I can wash all the dirt away as well as the ideas that disturb my sleep. For dinner, I am a simple eater, so I will check the ingredients available in the fridge and cook something easy.
Chat with parents – Since my parents live overseas, we always video call each other to stay connected. We will share things about work, social lives and news around the world. The main topic that we have talked about recently is when covid will be settled for us to travel internationally for visits.
Bedtime – Even though I said bedtime, I will spend some time on my phone checking out social media and YouTube. I will probably spend half an hour on that. Oh! I almost forgot to set the alarm and pack my bag before bed. I am all set for tomorrow.