Richelle Love Career Spotlight
Richelle Love is an Occupational Therapist (OT) who practices in Saskatoon. Learn more about her profession and experience with the Saskatchewan Health Authority:
What area of healthcare do you work in? Where do you work?
"I work on the Saskatchewan Central Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Outreach Team. I have worked on this team for the past 5 years. I am currently working in the role of Rehabilitation Coordinator; however have also worked in the role of Occupational Therapist/Case Manager on this team."
What are you responsible for as an Occupational Therapist? Please describe a typical day for yourself.
"As an Occupational Therapist/Case Manager on the Central ABI Outreach Team, my responsibilities included providing individual and family support to people with acquired brain injury so that they can live successfully in the community. This includes providing education, support, case management as well as OT specific consultation to help clients with their goals of increasing independence at home and in the community; returning to work, school, or driving; acquiring equipment; and adapting to their environment. Each day is different and may involve working in the office making phone calls, coordinating care, arranging meetings to connect and collaborate with various service providers involved with the client; travelling out to meet with the client, their family, and/or others involved in their care in their home community which may be in the client’s home, workplace or school, or in the community to provide assessment, intervention, and education. As the Rehabilitation Coordinator on the team, in addition to carrying a smaller caseload of clients, I provide clinical leadership to the team, manage referrals and assign new clients to case managers."
How is your work-life balance as an Occupational Therapist? Please compare your current experience with other jobs you have had in the past.
"I have worked as an Occupational Therapist for 18 years and have always valued and appreciated the work-life balance. In all the areas I have worked, the hours have been Monday-Friday day time hours, enabling me to have my evenings and weekends free for other activities I enjoy including spending time with family, running, travelling, and volunteering with our provincial regulatory organization. On the ABI Outreach Team, I schedule my own client appointments so value the increased flexibility."
Have you always wanted to be an Occupational Therapist? Tell us more about your career path!
"Yes! My desire to become an Occupational Therapist started in high-school as I have a family member who is an Occupational Therapist. I quickly learned of the many different opportunities OTs have and areas they can work in and how impactful they can be in improving the quality of life in people. I developed an interest and passion to work with individuals with neurological deficits early in my career, in fact as an OT student doing a placement on the acute neurology unit at Regina General Hospital followed by another placement on the Saskatchewan South ABI Outreach Team. Upon graduation, I began working in acute care and when the opportunity to work on the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre arose I jumped at the opportunity. I worked there for several years doing both inpatient and outpatient neurology rehabilitation before taking a position as an OT/Case Manager on the Sask. South ABI Team. In 2014, I moved to Saskatoon and returned to working in acute care, this time on inpatient neurology unit at Royal University Hospital. Within the year an opportunity arose to work on the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Saskatoon City Hospital and I moved into that role for a few years until an opportunity arose to join the Sask. Central ABI Outreach Team in 2018. I have found it very beneficial and relatively easy to transition to working in different areas and believe my experience in the other areas brings added value to the team and clients I work with."
Are there opportunities to further your career as an Occupational Therapist?
"Yes! I am an example of how being an Occupational Therapist has enabled me to work as a clinical OT, senior OT, OT/Case Manager, and now Rehabilitation Coordinator."
Do you have any advice for students or new graduates looking to pursue a career as an Occupational Therapist? Are there specialty areas that are in more demand than others?
"I would encourage students and new grads to experience and try as many different areas of clinical practice they can. Occupational therapy is a diverse profession with a large scope of practice. In Saskatchewan there are relatively few of us, so the full potential of occupational therapy and all it has to offer, has not yet been fully realized! This is great news for new graduates as there is vast opportunity to explore varied practice, as well as expand into additional areas of practice."
What is the number one thing you love about being an Occupational Therapist?
"I love that every day, every client, and every situation is unique and different. I love being challenged and having to “think outside the box”. I enjoy working together with clients and their supports to analyze tasks and their environments and offer recommendations and solutions to enable them to have increased participation and success and improved quality of life."