For best occupational therapy practice, I feel the need to be healthy myself. I have a great work-life balance and evenly distribute time to look after myself in order to better my work as an occupational therapy student. Burnout syndrome is common among healthcare workers and understanding what helps you as a therapist to feel emotionally and physically well is essential for role identity and value.
Here is a good article about Burnout syndrome: Burnout in Therapists: Inevitable or Preventable?
In this article it is stated that individual’s must be open to seeking input from co-workers as well as developing “their own support system from among colleagues, being careful that ensuing discussions are not merely reinforcing feelings of inadequacy or anger.” (Wolfe, 2015).
I socialise a lot with peers who share similar values and beliefs to me. I have a group of friends I have met through studying occupational therapy and we meet up at lunch or over coffee and take time to discuss topics of interest. These topics usually include what we have learnt in class and what each others opinions are of the use of specific frameworks and interventions as well as work we are finding challenging. All in all, I believe these meet ups are beneficial for my own professional identity as well as my occupational identity (Kielhofner, 2010).
We are all living down in Dunedin and studying occupational therapy together. Soon we will be graduating and I am beginning to wonder how we will keep such regular informal contact and how necessary this has been for my professional development and identity. The transitional process I am soon to face will mean a loss of this meaningful occupation and it is highly likely to have an impact on my future practice as an occupational therapist.
How can we utilise peer support as a means of allowing this informal contact to continue beyond the realms of study?
Kielhofner, G. (2010). Model of Human Occupation: Theory and application. Fourth Edition: Philidelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Wolfe, A., G. (2015). Burnout of therapists: inevitable or preventable? Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. 61: 1046-1050. Retrieved from: www.ptjournal.apta.org