Real Work, Real Life

Occupational Therapist, Pediatrics

November 01, 2023 Episode 36
Real Work, Real Life
Occupational Therapist, Pediatrics
Show Notes Transcript

On this week's episode of of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Tracey, a pediatric occupational therapist. One thing Tracey mentions is that a lot of people don’t know what OTs actually do. Occupational therapy enables people of all ages to participate in daily living. Occupational therapy intervention uses everyday life activities to promote health, well-being, and the ability to participate in the important activities in your life. This includes any meaningful activity that a person wants to accomplish, including taking care of yourself and your family, working, volunteering, going to school, among many others.

I’ve talked to a few different people in the therapy field and they all seem to have some degree of the same issue: the work is in high demand but the pay has not kept up, meanwhile the education requirements and cost continue to increase and you’re often required to complete an unpaid internship before beginning work. Despite these challenges, it can be incredibly meaningful work. If you’re interested in hearing other related interviews, I talked to Dawn, a therapist in private practice, Kat, a physical therapist assistant, Alison, a social worker, and Samantha, a music therapist, which I’ll link in the show notes. 

Another theme that has come up in quite a few interviews is people finding that they are best suited to a speciality in their field that they actually did poorly in or didn’t like in college. I think probably the message there is to keep your mind open, liking or doing well is something in school is not always an indication that it will be right for you as a job, and of course, vice versa. 

Other episodes you might like too:

Social Worker: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/social-worker-in-canada/id1673653251?i=1000608593635

Music Therapist: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/music-therapist/id1673653251?i=1000631717144

Therapist in Private Practice: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/therapist-private-practice/id1673653251?i=1000619359028

Physical Therapist Assistant: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/physical-therapist-assistant/id1673653251?i=1000615135619

If you want to learn more about Tracey:

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iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-work-real-life/id1673653251
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Transcripts are now available here: www.realworkreallife.com

Tracey Occupational Therapist

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work, real life, where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today, I'm talking with Tracy, a pediatric occupational therapist. One thing that Tracy mentioned is that a lot of people don't actually know what OTs do. So occupational therapy enables people of all ages to participate in daily living. Occupational therapy, intervention uses everyday life activities to promote health wellbeing, and the ability to participate in the important activities in your life. This includes any meaningful activity that a person wants to accomplish, like taking care of yourself and your family working, volunteering, going to school and many others. I've talked to a few different people in the broader therapy field, and they all seem to have some degree of the same issue. The work is in incredibly high demand, but the pay and benefits has not kept up. 

Meanwhile, the education requirement and therefore the cost continue to increase. And [00:01:00] often include unpaid internships after education is complete. 

Despite those challenges. A job in this field can be incredibly rewarding 

and seeing the benefit of your work every day. As you see your clients improve cannot be overstated

If you're interested in hearing other related interviews, I talked to Dawn therapist in private practice. Kat a physical therapist, assistant. Alison a social worker and Samantha, a music therapist, and I'll link all those interviews in the show notes. Another theme that has come up in quite a few interviews is people finding that they are best suited to a specialty in their field that they actually did poorly in, or didn't even like in college. I think probably the message there is to just keep your mind open liking or doing well in something in school is not always an indication that it will be the right fit for you as a job. And of course, vice versa. So let's get into it.

Emily: Thank you so much for being here, Tracey

Tracey: well, thank you, Emily. I'm looking forward to having our little [00:02:00] chat this evening.

Emily: Me too. So what do you do for work? Oh,

Tracey: I am a pediatric occupational therapist. It's been 28 years since I became an OT, and 26 of them, surprisingly, are pediatrics.

Emily: okay. So if someone didn't really know what you did, how would you kind of describe it for them? You know, an elevator pitch.

Tracey: in elevator pitch, occupational therapists and pediatrics want to focus on helping children to get back to the same functional level as their peers. So we're look, I mostly work with premature infants in the NICU, birth to three, I'm doing some school, which is a little bit different for me. So there's different levels of pediatrics, depending on where you go.

If it's school, NICU, outpatient, we are working to get our kids to be able to do a lot [00:03:00] of things at the same level as the children in their own age developmentally.

Emily: Gotcha. Okay. So what might be sort of a benchmark that you're helping a kid work toward?

Tracey: Well. A good example is I'm a feeding specialist for infants. So when I was in the NICU they're born prematurely. So their sensory systems are not very good and they don't have a, an automatic suck, swallow, breathe pattern at a certain gestational age. So sometimes I was helping the babies learn how to suck, swallow, and breathe before they could even take a bottle or breastfeed.

Emily: Oh my gosh, such important work.

Tracey: Yeah. 

Good stuff. 

Emily: Good stuff.

indeed, yeah. So what interested you about it initially? How did you get into this work?

Tracey: This is actually my second career, I have my other BS in health information management and felt, I'm like, I'm too much of a people person and looked at schools because I was already married and no children yet and wanted to go back to school while I was still in the field that I was [00:04:00] in and go back to school into something that was more me and I didn't really know what OT was, I always knew what speech was, I knew what PT was, but I'm like, what's an OT do?

And we're all about function. We're all functional based. They, you know, self care, being able to feed ourselves, take a shower, get dressed. Those are basic things. And then like being able to go back to work and drive those higher functioning types of things. I said, I think that's what I want to do. And so I went part time through a program here in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.

They never had a part time student go through the program. Yeah, so now they do it all the time, so I kind of set a precedence, which is fantastic because there's a lot of people like me that want to change careers so yeah, so I went into acute care after I did two years of long term care because I had a commitment to pay back, 

Emily: Could you go back quickly to talk a little bit more about what education was required to get there? Sort of what [00:05:00] is it normally a full time four year degree or something different? And what is the sort of certification to be working full time in the field look like?

Tracey: Back in the 90s when I went back to school, it was all bachelor level. Okay, so it was a four year degree. I went through it in three years. Now, all the programs are all entry level master's program. So, they would not allow us to come back as alumni for their master's program. So, I went and got my master's, not in OT, but community health and wellness, through another college.

While I had three children and working full time. It is what it is. 

Emily: you do it. You make it 

Tracey: But now, now they're all moving towards doctorates. And it's so 

sad because... You're talking over 100, 000 to 120, 000 financial commitment for a doctorate that we don't need a

PT does. The only reason that you need a doctorate. [00:06:00] Is to teach in university

and sadly, I'm like, everybody's like, you're gonna get your doctor and I go, what for I don't want to teach in that capacity. I don't want to be in a university and there's really no reason, you know, because then, as I said, I had my 2 bachelors.

I had my master's and then I wanted to be a massage therapist too, so I went to night school to do that after I got my master's. So

Emily: it.

Tracey: you know, being a constant learner, that's what I keep telling folks is that even at my age, you want constantly learn. And if you go into occupational therapy, then you're going to start to figure out what specialty you want to do, geriatrics, mental health.

Pediatrics. Some people want to do traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord, the, the field was vast and it still is, you know, and I ended up in a field that I was the worst at in college.

Emily: really? In pediatrics?

Tracey: Pediatrics. Struggled. Struggled, struggled in college [00:07:00] and, the job in the NICU literally fell into my lap.

Emily: Yeah. I mean, so often. Even in a more focused professional field of study, how well you do in school doesn't correlate as well as we would like with how well you do out in the real world in that job.

Tracey: it is, it's true. You know, as I said, when the NICU fell into my lap, the person that was my mentor, literally remarried and moved to Canada. 

So here I am, not even in the NICU a year, learning from her and she leaves and there is nobody else. So literally, It was my responsibility to start getting all these certifications. Continuing ahead, everything was on babies. Focus on babies, babies, babies, development. You know, what do I need to learn the feeding certifications, you know, now they have a certified neonatal therapist, which I think there's about 900 in the world. I'm getting ready to recertify right now

by the end of September.

I got to get that [00:08:00] paperwork in. so doing that, but it took thousands of hours just to even qualify to take the test.

It was 3, 000 hours.

Emily: wow. Oh, wow. So let's say you went the undergrad, the bachelor's path, and then you graduated and you were looking for a job. Could you find a job out of school that way? Or do you have to do any kind of internship or is it really like, no, you need to go on for your master's at this point before you can get a job.

Tracey: Basically in the, in our senior year, you have a level one and a level two field work. So a level one is like so many weeks, one day a week.

know I did a peds. It was literally eight weeks. So I went one day a week. The second one was another eight weeks. And that was in mental health. different schools do different things. So our school was set up that you had to do one MPs, one in mental health. And the last one was 12 weeks full time. No pay. Did you hear that everybody? [00:09:00] No pay

Emily: so done with unpaid internships. This is, I keep talking to more and more fields where they're like, yeah. And then after you get out, you have a six 12 week unpaid internship, and you're like. Talk about gatekeeping to a profession, that you get out of school and then you work for nothing. I mean, you've got to be adding some value to that workplace in that

Tracey: Oh, you did. I, I mean, I worked in a physical re, I went to acute rehab where I was on the stroke unit. And it was. It was stressful and to know that I wasn't getting paid and then I go to work weekends at my other job and, you know, keep doing this internship for 12 weeks. I'm praying to God that. My fieldwork supervisor was going to pass me because we did not click.

Emily: Right. Gosh.

Tracey: You know, at the time I was 30 when I graduated with this degree, but you had to do the field works in order to move and to get your actual bachelors. But nowadays you [00:10:00] don't see bachelors anymore. It's all entry level masters five years.

Emily: Wow. Okay. And then do you take a certification exam when you

Tracey: Oh yes. Yep. 

to get our credentials. Back then I remember driving to Johns Hopkins to take the test and it was all by paper. And you had to wait probably four to six weeks. I cried all the way home thinking I failed.

I mean, I'm like, Oh my God, there's no way I ever failed. I, I, I failed. I got to have to take it all over.

Four or five weeks later, I passed. I was like, elated, you know, cause you just never know. You just don't. The way they word things, it's like, gosh, am I reading into this? But most of everything needs to, you have to get certified and you have to take your exams like nurses do and PT speech.

We all have to take our tests in order to be certified and licensed.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, so interesting.

Tracey: Yes,

Emily: What kind of personality do you think would do well at this [00:11:00] job?

Tracey: you definitely have to be an extrovert. I know that there are some people out there that are introverts. And let me just tell you, there's a difference between a PT personality, a speech therapy personality, and an OT

Emily: Oh, let's hear it. What is it? Hmm.

Tracey: I'm telling, us OTs are like the lighter of the three.

We're very. Down to earth, I think that's how, you know, our speech therapists tend to be more prim proper.

And you can even tell when they speak to you that their speech therapist, they just articulate. So, well, and then the are just. They're very straight narrow, whereas are very. Open minded and holistic, and I don't mean to put them down whatsoever, but you know, like when somebody comes to me and they're like, I'm a PT, I'm like, you should have been an OT.

You like, you just see, like, the

Emily: No, I mean, there's different, you know, different fields and different people have, have a best different fit. I didn't take that as negative at all,

Tracey: And yeah, and as I said, that was no offense to any of the [00:12:00] therapists out there whatsoever,

but like, 

just very empathetic people. I've been a natural caregiver my whole life, even when I was small. And I think that goes to most of the people that work in healthcare. We didn't go in for it for the money.

I will tell you that right now. I did it, you know, as I said, you know. With the way health care is right now and the reimbursements, Ray, from the insurance companies and Medicare making cuts, we're making less and less money than I ever have made in 28 years as an OT, which is sad because we're not really paid what we're worth, 

And it's very sad.

as I said, some of these people are coming out of school with 120, 000 of debt. 

And they 

Emily: I bet at a minimum at this I mean, depending on what they did for undergrad plenty of undergrads are 80, 90, 000 a year right now.

Tracey: right? And, you know, like, my daughter just... Graduated in accounting in three years time. she's going to be taking her CPA exam in three years. [00:13:00] She'll make more than I ever did in my 28 years.

Emily: Yeah.

Tracey: is, it's the nature of the beast. You know, I'm like, man, I wish I, you know, sometimes I'm like.

Why didn't I like business back then? Because it wasn't my personality. Oh, my mom was a nurse for 50 years. I just wanted to follow in her footsteps, but I didn't want to be a nurse. I wanted to be in healthcare, but healthcare has changed so much over the years that I've been in OT.

Emily: Yeah. So we talked a little bit about money there. Would, do you mind sharing what you make and what your other benefits look like in this job or a range of what you

Tracey: In the job, it all depends. You can be an employee of a company, like I was an employee of the hospital for 21 years. So I was making pretty good salary, somewhere between 85 and 90, but that's after 21 years of service. So you start, I started very low, maybe 40. You know, so you were, at least you were getting [00:14:00] across the board cost of living every couple of years.

I haven't seen that in probably eight years. I haven't gotten a cost of raise of, and yeah, and I don't know if that's happening 

Emily: right? Is that 

Tracey: if it's just, 

Emily: a hospital or would that

Tracey: that's in health care, that's in all like nursing homes, whatever, we are not getting any increased rates. We, you know, like they're trying to cut our benefits, you know, like even taking a paid time off.

Some of them don't even allow paid holidays anymore. I mean, things have gotten really, really tough in at least therapy land. I'll call it therapy land. I don't know if that's with everybody else, but things have really changed and you know, for me, it's, it's been a real blow to the gut, and that's why I decided to make my own website.

For online courses because it's passive income. So that's what I've been working on the past year. So you can, you know, some of us are doing two, three side job, side [00:15:00] hustles along with our jobs. And I think we're starting to see that across the board in our country, 

just to make ends meet with everything, you know, it's just crazy at this point, but you know, as I said, I know people that, that are entrepreneurs and have their own businesses and, and they're making good six figures.

You know, but realistically, when you come out as a new grad, that's usually not the case. You won't see six figures for a while, you know, but as I said, initially, we didn't go into it for the money. We're just trying to keep up with the cost of living. And that's not happening in therapy right now.

 And our professional associations they're not advocating, if I like politics, I'd be down there fighting for us, but you know, 

I, I'm just not a political type of person and, these are so professional associations that you buy into, they're supposed to have your backs.

And that's not what we're seeing in the past. So it's a great field, but right now it's kind of a frustrating [00:16:00] field because of everything that's happening in our country with the political and the, and insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. I mean, all those things really, you know, our government, it's all playing into how, you know, they make or break us.

Emily: Yeah. It's about so much more than the actual job function, which sounds like is an amazing fit for

you and 

so fulfilling, but then

all this other stuff that really makes a big difference in what your day to day life is like working in that job.

Tracey: right. you know, I don't want to come home feeling stressed and how to worry about other things besides my children 

and 

Emily: That feels like a really low level ask I feel like you deserve to come home and not

Tracey: well, yeah. And, you know, as I said, depending on the field that you go into, sometimes people, you can leave your job at the job, some things you're doing paperwork and things on your own time. Like I did an early intervention. I didn't get paid for that.

You know, I get paid to see the child. I had no benefits.

I [00:17:00] had no PTO time. I was a contractor, 

Emily: hmm.

Tracey: so self employed. So you have that opportunity. There's a lot of people that are heading that way. Our business is heading into independent contractors. They may give you a nice hourly rate, no benefits, no health insurance, no PTO

Emily: So much you have to factor in. I mean, benefits in the U. S. can easily be worth 20, 30, 40, I'm sure more, a thousand dollars a year for a typical employee. So yeah, you 

Tracey: Yes. All right. So I tell folks, look into all that stuff. It's not all about your salary. And you know, my oldest son is 26 and married now. you know, I'm like, don't just look at the salary. Look at your benefits. Those are one of the most important things that you're going to get because I've been self employed for the past four years, right before the pandemic.

And it's killed us, you know, like taking your taxes out, all 10 to 20 percent of your taxes. away. that's state, federal, and [00:18:00] local, and it's killed me financially because I'm trying to pay all my bills and my rent, and I don't have enough to pay my taxes. So really, even though we have a very vast ways that we can make money as Those are some really important considerations, especially when you come out of school and you're pretty naive about what's going on.

So I've told my older kids,

I go, show me your benefit package. Let me take a look here. What are they matching you, 

you know, on your retirement? I didn't start till I was 30 and I'm like, you're not going to make the same mistake that I did. So let's look at this and this is what you need to put aside.

those are really important things. So, 

Emily: Sounds like you're doing a really good job preparing them for it.

Tracey: trying, we're trying, you know, my youngest one, he's 13, so he's got a little ways to go yet, but he's a spender. My daughter is the one that she's all into the money and saving and, and my boys are more like. They're not much to budget. [00:19:00] They're not very good at budgeting. So, you know,

Emily: We'll see. I mean, you're doing what you can to lay the foundation. What they do from there is really up 

Tracey: that's correct. They're adults, except for my youngest one. We try and teach them the best we can until, they up and fly the nest.

Emily: Absolutely. That's all you can do. So what are the hours like typically for an OT? Is it really like you could kind of make it all work considerations around schedule?

Tracey: When you are at the hospital, you are required to work weekends and holidays. So you will get time off during the week. A lot of times you have set times. Now when I worked in the NICU, I wanted to hit night shift. So I would be there at 5 30 in the morning so I could see my night shifter nurses to see what issues were going on.

I'm an early riser, so I would get up at 4. 10 so I could be there 5. But most of the time you do have a regular set like 8 to [00:20:00] 4. 30, 7 to 3. 30 day shift. You will not find evening and night time positions as an OT.

We're all day shift, all day shift, We are not like the nurses that are 24 7, But, 

there is a requirement that you have to do one weekend a month and maybe two holidays a year if you work at the hospital. If you work early intervention, a lot of times you're self employed. So like it's very flexible. So a lot of the young mommies go into like early intervention because they can make their own schedule, set around their own kids school schedules.

Same way if you worked in the school system, you would get the same holidays because, Children are there. You can't see them. So it all depends. Long term care I'm doing just a temporary job right now until next week. And I go in at 6. 15. PTs may start at 8. 00, 8. 30. Speech usually comes in 7. 00. So we're all staggered, but for us OTs, we get started early [00:21:00] because we're working on the self care.

Bathing, dressing,

So we have them ready. for PT to see. So it all kind of flows together. But me, the earlier the better.

Emily: Yeah. Get it going. Yeah. Oh, I can see that. Okay. Can you sort of walk me through your average day? Maybe when you're working at the hospital? Yeah.

Tracey: When I was working at the hospital like I said, I usually got there at five 30 in the morning and a lot of people would be like, Oh my gosh, she's here. They're like, can you come like that? You know, it was either to massage their babies because they could not have a bowel movement. They're like, baby so bound up, you please do some reflexology on their feet or some belly massage so we can get them to go to the bathroom, go in at the same time, but certain days they were getting their blood drawn.

So I would help. pacify, swaddle them up, calm them down while they are getting heel sticks or they're getting blood or an IV put in. So my job was not necessarily having a list of patients to see because babies [00:22:00] don't work that way. They are up and down all night long. So that is one area that you can have an OT in at different shifts, but our hospital did not allow different shifts, which is sad because parents a lot of times come in when we're gone.

So I would come in, I would even schedule things on my days off and go down and help and teach them infant massage and range of motion. So that's what I would kind of do when I went into the morning. They would all be like, can you come see this baby? This one's getting ready to have this procedure. can you come and help me?

Just to get them calm and in a certain state because they're so traumatized these babies. So you know, so I would do some of that and then I'd start setting up my schedule around their feeding times. When do all these babies eat? And everybody would start telling me, they're every three hours or every four hours.

we had drugs, which are all babies. In our thing, so I worked a great deal with drug withdrawal [00:23:00] babies just to keep them calm because they would scream and scream and scream and jitter and teaching the mommies how to do massage, how to swaddle them and get them to calm down and my massage.

that I knew for, I have two infant massage certifications and then would show them how to do it 

can you come home with me? And I'm like, no, that's why I'm teaching you. You know, so it's, it basically that's what I did because we always did our work and our sessions before the baby ate.

And then if I had to feed the baby, then I would have them get the baby ready. Like Take their temperature and change their diaper and listen to them. Now this baby's ready to eat and, you know, we go and check out what the baby's bottle they were using or if they were breastfeeding, how they did. And then I sit and feed babies, you know, and just check and see, you know, is this the right nipple?

Is this the right bottle system? Why don't we have the mom try and [00:24:00] breastfeed today, those kinds of things. And then I would massage babies all day.

Emily: Oh my god.

Tracey: Well, you know, people don't realize that these babies do not have good sleep patterns because they're constantly interrupted by x rays.

testing, blood draws, the doctors wanting to look at them, you know, us therapists wanting to get our hands on them. So they didn't sleep a lot. So the massage would actually get them in a deep, deep sleep. Even if it was a good hour. That's when their bodies develop. That's when their nervous system and their sensory systems and their brain grows.

And that's when you put on weight. So We did a lot of things that help the baby's nervous system and work on maturing and getting them to gain weight, but that sleep was crucial. And that's why I became a sleep consultant for infants and toddlers 

during the pandemic. 

you see a need for certain things.

I hope to be doing some more of that as a contractor with a [00:25:00] company out of Florida because there is such a great need. Our children are so sleep deprived, very sleep deprived, and especially these babies because they're so, they're born so premature,

Emily: Yeah. I mean, talk to any parent who's ever had a newborn. The, most cool, calm and collected people I ever knew in my life, the panic so, Fear almost the hopelessness in their voice when they're going through those, be it long or short periods of sleeplessness.

I mean, they use it as torture for a reason. It's just unbelievable how bad it can get. And of course, for the. children themselves to how important it is to get that sleep. 

Tracey: Yeah, yeah, yeah, sleep is the foundation of your home. If your children aren't sleeping and you're not sleeping, you're just starting out on the long foot for the whole day. Trust me, all my kids were sleep trained by eight weeks. Eight weeks, I'm like I've got to go back to work full time.

And they've got to be sleeping through the [00:26:00] night. The sleep regressions are a little, you know, they all go through them. 

So, you know, there was days I'm like, Oh my gosh, how am I ever going to get through my 10 hour day? You do.

Emily: Yes you do, but it's not pretty and you're not at your best And think about how as adults, we're not at our best. It goes for kids too. If they're not getting good sleep, boy, it reverberates throughout their day and it builds. And Oh, wow. That's wonderful that you saw that need in our meeting for parents.

Tracey: Yeah. I love that too. So, all this stuff like kind of intermeshes with, with all these things that I love to do.

 My little eyes light up because I just love that population, these babies and small children that truly need us and we're just seeing the numbers growing and growing.

Developmentally delayed, sleep deprived, behavioral issues, you know, autism is now one in 52 children.

we need pediatric OTs, we need more OTs, but we really need pediatric OTs because we can't keep up with the demand.[00:27:00] 

Emily: Yeah. So I was going to ask about that, as people enter the field, if someone was starting out right now, would you say there's tons of open jobs available to them or is there some level of

saturation for job seeking?

Tracey: what I tell the folks when they're grads, and that's what some of my, courses are about, Pediatrics is, Basically, I would have to say the hardest to go into. I would tell folks to go into outpatient or work in acute care and learn, like I was doing cardiac, orthopedics, you know, trauma, like general medicine.

So I was learning my skills, but then I started taking some outpatient children. down in our basement was where our outpatient clinic was. And that's where I started taking a few kids. And then as I said, that other OT is like, how would you like to learn about babies? I'm like, that'd be great. So I started bringing students in from multiple colleges in the area and they're like, we never knew about the NICU, you know?

So that's something I [00:28:00] truly miss 

as being a mentor. But it is really hard to start a pediatrics. It's not impossible if you have a good mentor.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, that's good to know.

So you've shared a lot of things that you love about your work, but is there anything you want to add, especially if it's something that you think people might find surprising?

Tracey: I think a lot of people still don't know what an occupational therapist is. They're like, you know, I get, I get it all the time from the older folks. They're like, you don't have an occupation. I'm retired. And I'm like, I wish they would have named it something different 

because we're 

always explaining it. 

 I always see PT as pain and torture. We're the other therapist. They're like, you're OT. I'm like, yes, I'm the other therapist. And they're like, so exactly what does that mean? Like you said, elevator. Basically, we work with our hands, mind. body to be more functional so we can interact with our environment.

Emily: You've already shared a few, some challenges in the field right now, but is there anything you would add that is [00:29:00] tough about it that surprised you, or you just didn't expect getting into the field?

Tracey: I think it was more of paperwork and the computerization part has really overtaken the professions in healthcare in general. Like even my friends that are nurses are sitting at their cows or the computer on wheels. They call them cows. We do not have those right now. I have a a little mini computer I take into the patient's room.

So as I'm treating them, I'm typing their note. And I feel like I'm doing more computer work that I'm treating, But if we don't document well, we don't get paid the insurance companies won't pay if our notes are not properly. So for me, it's been really difficult to make that shift.

 That, what we're writing is more important than us having our hands on and being there for our patients. And that's where I feel very sad about. My profession it's just [00:30:00] changed and it's not in the hospitals. It's everywhere. it's in pediatrics.

It's the mental health. It's in rehabs. It's in long term care everywhere. It's permeated our whole lives, just like computers have overtaken our children. It's overtaken a lot of our workplaces, Some computerization is good but the human factor, I think, is crucial 

Emily: Yeah. I, you are not the first person in kind of the broader healthcare and therapy industry that has said that for this exact question. Like what's something you didn't expect that would be tough and it's I mean,

Tracey: Paperwork and, yeah, just having cheat sheets for all the computer and different, systems I have to get into to, document and put orders in and where are my notes go and contacting people for this. And I'm like, where's your cheat sheets? I'm not a 20 year old. I wasn't born with a laptop in my hand when I was born.

Like, our younger generation, It's been cumbersome to say the least, I just keep plugging away. I'm like, once I get it, [00:31:00] I'll get it, I said, but it's going to take me longer than the 20 and 30 year olds to get this computerization down. And it certainly has held true. So I, you know, I'm still here.

I'm not a hundred percent perfect at it, but.

Emily: You're 

Tracey: I never, yeah, that's, that wasn't my purpose

when I went into this profession, you know, so,

Emily: absolutely. Absolutely. So what do you hope to be doing more of and also less of in the next five to 10 years?

Tracey: well, I'm hoping to be an entrepreneur full time. I have two websites, one that helps transition babies home from the NICU with their parents. That's all coaching. The other one is online courses that I'm still building. I have eight. I'm getting ready to do three more. I just have to get my motivation back.

people don't realize, you know, why is your course at 200? I'm like, do you have any idea how long these courses take to make? Because I love doing all the research, but then you got to put it. [00:32:00] On here, then you've got to change the picture. You've got to find the pictures. You have to, it's a lot of work, but I like it.

So for me, I'm hoping to be an entrepreneur full time in OT and mentoring other people, young folks that want to go into pediatrics. And especially the NICU, because it's a really great place to work and to meet people and really have a great niche is a very specific. Specialized area and it took me a long time to say that I'm an expert in it and you can't be there two years and think that you're an expert.

I'm still learning. We're all, you know, as I said, I'm just a continuous learner. and then I do massage therapy on the side. 

am I sleep consulting? So I want to do some sleep consulting a little bit of massage. entrepreneur and OT.

Emily: that's really cool. So I have one last question and then I'll leave time at the end cause I want, want you to share, you know, where everyone can find all the [00:33:00] wonderful things that you offer. So last question for you, what is one piece of advice generally about work that you would give your younger self?

Tracey: I would say talk less and listen more.

 Observation and less talking to people and, doing instead of talking, listening instead of talking so much.

Emily: Yes.

Tracey: what I would give myself. As you can tell, I love to talk.

Emily: That is great advice. So where can people find out more about what you do? And I'll make sure this is all in the show notes, but I would just

Tracey: Oh, sure. 

Emily: place to find you.

Tracey: my newest business is called pediatric education development services. You can find that right now. It's not www, but it's at H T T P S P E D S dot thinkific. com. My other website is parent NICU connection. com. That's my consulting business.

They can always contact me through my Gmail, which is [00:34:00] T K O N D 4 2 3 at gmail. com.

Emily: Love it. and I'll, put everything in the show notes as well, so people can find it, but thank you so much for making the time to talk with me, Tracy. I really enjoyed this discussion.

Tracey: me too. Thank you, Emily. I so appreciate it. And hopefully we'll see some more OTs out there, but at least they know the gritty 

Emily: Yes, 

Tracey: in our health profession right now.

Emily: absolutely. Yes. Thank you so much for sharing all that.

Tracey: Oh, you're welcome. Thanks again.

 Thanks for joining me. If you liked the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify. And please share with a friend. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or ticktock. And if you'd like to be interviewed here or there's a particular job you'd like to learn [00:35:00] about, please reach out@realworkreallifeatgmail.com.