I graduated from Humber College's occupational therapy assistant and physiotherapy assistant programs. I lead different classes for groups of patients.
For example, we try to improve the patients' balance and posture by doing different activities in the standing position.
I have a background as a teacher back home in Iran, and I also used to be a women's rights activist. I'm a very compassionate person and have strong leadership skills that are transferable to the position I have now. I'm a very active person, too. I don't just tell patients what to do; I'm with them through all their activities.
I usually work with geriatric patients with broken hips, ankles or arms. I love working with elders, because they have life stories behind them. Right now they are frail and need help, but they try very, very hard.
Both the practical and theoretical parts of my schooling prepared me for the job I do now. For example, we learned the best ways to approach and communicate with patients, and we learned to have a holistic approach. Always, I have a triangle - mind, body, spirit - in my mind when I'm doing exercises with patients.
When patients are doing strengthening exercises, they feel good about themselves and improve their physical abilities. This is mind power, and that brings up their spirit. I didn't know exactly the meaning of that triangle, but when I work here I just feel that holistic approach.
I'm always interested in improving my knowledge. Besides taking the OTA/PTA programs at Humber, I took other courses to work with post-rehab patients. You have to continually add to your knowledge.
When a patient gets better and leaves the hospital, I feel very good about myself. Today was the last day for a patients who had broken her ankle. She hugged and kissed me and thanked me. She had done some knitting and gave it to me as a gift and was so excited. That's the best experience.
The worst involves working with a patient who's suddenly taken to acute care. Yesterday, after a lot of hard work, one of my patients had a heart attack. I always have her in my mind.
The best occupational therapy or physiotherapy assistants are patient, flexible and physically able, because it's a lot of work and we are on the front line. You should have good leadership skills. You definitely have to be open-minded, knowledgeable, empathetic, positive and motivational.
People need motivation to continue.