Week 1

Technically, tomorrow will be 7 days (and 5 business days) since I started work, but seeing as how I worked this past Sunday, I’ve already hit one working week since I started. So here’s an update since I started on November 3 (just 2 days after getting back from Germany, which I guess is plenty of time to readjust eh?)

The problem with working in rehab therapy (and I knew this going in) is that you might not always be fortunate enough to have full 8 hour days, depending on how many patients are in your facility and how many of those patients are actually appropriate for rehab. Census actually hasn’t been up there, so I haven’t had a steady stream of 8 hour days yet (which is fine for me as I get my feet wet and adjust to the career life as opposed to the student life). I’ve had 8, 6.5, 8, 6, 6.5, and 7.5 hour days thus far depending on caseload.

I mentioned the facility I’m working at is in Alhambra, and it’s like 15-20 minutes away from home driving local. Great gig, as that means less time stuck in traffic, waking early, leaving late, gas money, etc etc. I just wish there was a regular parking situation (street parking, so I’ve parked on the street, a block, or two blocks away already, depending on how it shakes out). But hooray for extra exercise right?

The rehab team is a decent size, both large enough to have it be lively in the rehab gym, and small enough where we can all get to know each other. 2 PTs (one is also the Director of Rehab), 2 PTAs (including myself), 2 OTs, 2 COTAs, and 1 SLP. There’s a pretty nice demographic of ages as well, with 4 older folks and 5 younger. Although we’re all Asian… Not as diverse of a rehab team as my last nursing home lol. And as I mentioned before, my dad is an OT here.

Conveniently, the parents took a 2 week vaycay to TW/HK, so I’ve had the chance to find my way along and get to know people (patients/rehab team) without help from him. I’m still not entirely sure how it’ll go in a work dynamic, but again with the age demographic, and actually how the entire team seems to gel, I don’t foresee a problem.

One of the COTAs is actually leaving for another place in Hawai’i (!), and the younger folks are hanging out Friday night for his going away shindig. Aaaand I’m out of town. That’s unfortunate.

I’ve had a lot of chance to practice using my poor Canto and Mandarin with this patient population. There’s actually not that many Chinese speakers, so I’ve been roped in to help some nurses try and translate. It’s a pretty good feeling to help patients know that I understand them and what they’re trying to say, and help them get their point across, both to nursing and in our rehab sessions as well.

I do wish I had more patients who weren’t necessarily bed bound/unable to talk. Part of the fun of the job is having a back and forth with the patient during our ~hour or so of treatment, whether its menial conversation or me just being an outlet for them to talk to. And time goes by so much slower when I’m working in a silent room. But as the patients on our list changes (usually within 30-60 days), I’m sure that experience will change too.

Something I realize I take for granted is a well working/new microwave. Something that’ll take like 1-1.5 minutes to heat at home takes like 3-4 minutes with the work microwave. Not cool.

I’ve generally been getting in at 8am, and have been trying to get my feel for the facility/schedule/dining so I can have a 30 min lunch and leave for the day. I’ve been taking an hour lunch for the first couple days because I haven’t worked that out yet. But the goal is to do 8am-4.30pm days. Maybe even 7:30am-4pm if I can make it work down the road.

Reason being is that I’ve got the orientation for another gig on Friday, where they’ll give me addt’l on-call hours. Unfortunately I may have undercut myself on salary negotiations (being a new grad/not knowing the market), but they’ll look to place me in various local facilities, so a couple extra hours and extra bucks sounds nice without having to make a crazy drive. Weekend hours are to be had too. I guess I can make up the money in the next company, as experience is certainly more valuable than money right now. Though I won’t lie, I’m salivating over both the money and additional exposure I can get. Haha.

I’m also trying to break out of the poor student mentality, as this hourly wage is much more than I’ve previously had. I’ve already topped 1k (pre-tax) in earnings in less than a week. My last job before getting into school was a rehab aide that paid $11/hr. Sure, that was 2013, but that’s still 90 hours of work to hit 1k in earnings, or 2+ weeks of work to match. That’s not to say I can spend frivolously on anything and everything, as it looks like taxes will take 30% of earnings or so? That’s depressing. Time to start saving now I guess. Aka time to be an adult huh? Too bad that first paycheck doesn’t come til the 25th.

Feels like I’m getting into the swing of things. Hope things are roughly the same, if not better, after a month’s time. Because sometimes, it’s still hard to believe that the past few years of works have come to fruition and I’m finally working the rehab field (making a difference. hopefully? haha). That whole fake it til you make it right?

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I’m name badge official.

Here’s the Week 1 and Month 1 comparison when I started my aide job back in 2013 at another nursing home (or skilled nursing facility – SNF).

Sorry for the interruption in #dl2ger16 update posts. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming soon enough.

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