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Career Profile: Recreational Therapist

Career Profile: Recreational Therapist

Julie Hoehl, CTRS, Recreational Therapist, Clinical Center, Rehabilitation Medicine Department, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

My workday settings are:

• My office
• Patient’s bedside
• Relaxation room
• Gym
• Craft and play rooms

Aides and equipment I use in my work includes:

• Vibroacoustic Recliners – to allow patients to relax into musical sounds and vibrations
• Music – to support relaxation and serve as pleasant background sounds
• Weights and gym equipment – to promote exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle

Sometimes I speak about various aspects of my specialty at:

• Rehabilitation grand rounds – a meeting of professionals in the field
• Oncology nursing society meetings – on cancer-related fatigue
• State parks and recreation associations
• Health fairs

What I like best and least about my work is…

What I like best about my work is making people smile and laugh. I also enjoy the creative aspect of my work. You cannot resort to identical intervention plans. You have to find what works best for each patient. Another great thing about my job is the flexibility of work hours. Much of what we do revolves around the patient’s schedule. So each day is different.

What I like least about my job is the paperwork. It is an important task, but a challenge to keep up with. We must carefully document everything we do for patients.

My career goals are…

My career goals include achieving a biofeedback certification. I’m working on that now. I’m also reorganizing the management style of patient care. Currently we take care of patients on a hospital-unit basis. We would like to change that to caseload management.

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