October is Occupational Therapy Month! This is a time to recognize the important work Occupational Therapists (OTs) do, helping Canadians overcome mental, physical and cognitive barriers. With the help of OTs, Canadians can participate in the activities they enjoy most!
During Occupational Therapy Month, we will be highlighting some of our incredible OTs. Today we’re turning the spotlight on Chelsey Walker, an OT at several of our Nova Scotia clinics. She tells us what her job as an OT looks like, when you might want to see an OT, and she shares her favourite success story.
Can you tell us a bit about your education?
I completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick in 2017, then went on to complete a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2019.
Do you have an area of focus or special interest?
I enjoy many areas of OT, but my special interest is Hand Therapy.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your job as an Occupational Therapist looks like?
Being an OT is chaotic in the best way! You get to work with so many different types of individuals in varying settings, and help them get back to their meaningful activities. In one day, I can go from doing an ergonomic assessment for an office worker, to fabricating a splint to help someone with a repetitive strain injury, to working with someone to help them manage concussion symptoms.
When would someone want to see an Occupational Therapist?
Whenever someone is having difficulty doing the day-to-day activities that they want and need to do. This could be going to work, completing self-care tasks, driving, and the list goes on!
What’s one thing about Occupational Therapy you wish everyone knew?
That we have a BROAD scope of practice. We are jack-of-all-trades clinicians who are valuable and integral members of any treatment team.
What’s your average day like?
Every day is different for me! I can be in a clinic or in the community. In the morning, I may be at someone’s job site to figure out the best way to help them be successful at work, and in the afternoon I’ll be doing a driving assessment for some experiencing anxiety with traffic.
Can you share your favourite story of how you helped a patient?
I did an ergonomic assessment for someone who was experiencing a lot of neck pain from sitting at work. I recommended some changes to their desk set-up and a new chair with features that would better support them while sitting. After the chair came in, they reached out and told me their pain was almost gone and they were able to get through their day comfortably. They said they were thankful for my help and wouldn’t be at work if it weren’t for me. You don’t always realize you’re making such an impact, but it’s moments like this that remind you that you are.
What would you like to say to someone who is hesitant to try Occupational Therapy?
If you’re hesitant or unsure of what an OT can do for you, ask! Do some research and talk to others who have worked with an OT before. You may be surprised to find out what we can do for you.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan!
If you are struggling with completing everyday tasks or doing the things you love, find a clinic near you to speak with an Occupational Therapist who can help.