I think we often forget, that as health professionals, we have the privilege of knowing how to open up a space where our clients feel comfortable enough to share the deepest fears and frustrations, while daring to voice aloud their dreams, and most urgent needs.
When caring for someone is your job, albeit something you're passionate about, there is the risk of overlooking the moments each day they have a profound impact on those involved. It could be as simple as a subtle smile because your client realised they have just shared their most hidden fear with someone else rather than leaving it bottled up inside. Another moment could be sight of tears welling in a mother's eyes as she watches her son complete a puzzle with confidence and pride, something he never done before. Or maybe it's the moment that a young child realises that by setting goals and working hard he can achieve anything he wants for his future, despite the challenges he faces.
These are just some of the moments that I feel privileged to be apart of each and everyday in my work as an Occupational Therapist. To know that the time I have spent learning, training, and reflecting on the way that our profession is able to use everyday activities, understanding the human body, and the knowledge that being able to participate alongside other people is valuable, was time well spent. I see it as a wonderful opportunity to help others make positive change towards the life they imagined themselves to live.
I believe there’s a deeper value in working in the healthcare system, than money or career progression. There's a hidden value in being able to appreciate the moments that add colour, emotion, and brilliance to my day. While I don't disagree that a career in health can be challenging, when I pause to reflect on the joy my clients’ achievements bring me, it’s worth every moment of challenge.
Let's explore these three (3) moments a little closer…
The privilege of knowing someone else’s fear
We all have little secrets, the moments we indulge in thinking about the worst case scenario. When you find someone willing to listen, someone who you believe has the skills to help you move past this fear, or someone you trust to keep your confidence, sharing your fears become the greatest opportunity to make changes in your ability to participate fully in daily life.
One client remains fresh in my memory - we were three sessions into an intensive week of therapy and she turns to me and says “Jacky, can I tell you something?” … “This is something I’m not proud of, but I feel it’s something I need to tell you…”
The privilege of sharing in a moment of pure joy
When there has been a plan for achievement, goal setting and a lot of practice between recognising a difficulty and realising the improvement, the celebration is beautiful. The moment when a mother recognised that together, in partnership, her child’s capacity to learn new skills, develop persistence and remain calm throughout these challenges has been achieved, it’s powerful.
One client remains fresh in my memory - we were sitting on the floor and this mother was implementing all the support/coaching techniques we had practiced, she was already proud of herself, and when she realised that her learning had provided an opportunity for her son to maintain his attention on the activity, she celebrated with a huge smile, happy tears and a heartfelt hug with her “little champion”
The privilege of creating resilience
One of the most rewarding parts of working within a health profession is the ability to build confidence and competence within a client’s range of skills. Being able to discharge clients who have achieved their goals, refined their performance and been able to continue to make gains for themselves is truly wonderful.
One client remains fresh in my memory - we were finishing up our session after completing their last S-PACE goals. The little boy’s mother turned to me and said, “does this mean we are all finished now?” … “or could we set new goals?” ... my reply was simple, “you’re welcome to set new goals, I’d encourage you to do that, but you don’t need me to help you achieve them”
As I continue to work with more parents, more children, and more clients, I am more often reminded that all of us have fears, experience moments of pure joy, and need a little help to find resilience in our greatest vulnerability. As a health professional, I believe there is no greater value that I can receive than the opportunity to continue to share in these moments. The way I see it, my salary covers the paper-work, the long hours, the training, the thinking and the education that I must complete but it’s the beautiful moments that recharge ME - the Human Moments
It is moments like these that are fueling the hours required to create the template for HUMAN INSTRUCTION MANUAL which aims to give people of all ages a way to identify their own red flags and first steps to exploring their instincts about their health and their potential achievement in life.
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