The power of a supportive workplace

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! My name is Kristina and I am an Occupational therapist! While I do some private work on the side, My full time job is at a nature based day program with clients ranging from 3-41years old with a variety of different abilities and needs.

I have worked hard to make the connections that I have, in order to find jobs that work well with who I am as a person. I am a very busy body, who loves movement, nature and constantly growing and learning. I believe that humans should always be seen as whole beings, and can’t be compartmentalized in their healthcare – without using the term “holistic”, as sometimes it can be seen as a negative buzzword, I believe we should be considering all aspects of who a person is as therapists. This is why I think I fit perfectly at the ever changing, fast pace day program I work at, and why I LOVE working with kids and adults with varying cognitive abilities. I am constantly being kept on my toes by my clients’ questions, needing to think quickly to adapt my plans to all individuals, and my days often never go as planned. It also helps that nature helps calm my anxiety and I have an easier time connecting to my peds clients due to the lack of society created norms that children follow. I love being able to celebrate little wins, and to help my clients work on building trust with people when they’ve been so hurt in the past.

Here’s me adoring my job and celebrating the little things. ❤️

That being said, my job is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. As much as you can pre plan for your days, never a day goes by where something goes awry, or clients bring lots of anxieties from home and school which we have to work through. I also get sick pretty easily when I’m tired, and being around kids who are constantly full of boogers can be tough! I am home today and yesterday because my exhaustion has caught up with me and I’m sick. The reason I felt the importance to write this blog even though I’m half asleep, CHUGGING liquids on the couch all day, is because I truly don’t think I would have lasted this long in my OT career without the supportive teams that I work with.

In previous jobs, there was a lot of shame and guilt around leaning on your colleagues for support. I have been guilted in the past to come into work when I’m not feeling the greatest, and told that I shouldn’t need to ask so many questions to my colleagues because I should be “figuring things out on my own”. As a healthcare/service provider, I believe this should be the opposite. And this is why I’m so thankful for the people I work with. I never feel alone in challenging times. When it comes to navigating a difficult client situation or exploring something new I’ve never experienced before, I’m never expected to reinvent the wheel or create something on my own. We’re encouraged to work together, bounce ideas off each other, and thrive with the inter professional knowledge our team has. There’s a mutual respect amongst everyone regardless of educational background and life experience, so that we work together to make each others’ lives easier, and to focus on the benefit of the client as number one priority. There’s no ego that comes in the way saying one person knows better than another. Another blessing is the respect that work is not number one priority. Yes we have clients who depend on us, but we have the trust that the day will be ok at the end of it, and that personal issues are always priority. Both yesterday and today when I texted my team that I would stay home because I was sick, I was wished healthy wishes and was reassured that the day was going to be fine (and even told at the end of the day how great it was!). My manager encouraged me to stay home today so I would fully recover.

This is the support and care that I did not have in my previous OT job, and which made me feel burnt out in less than 5 months. In these jobs that I have now, I’ve almost been in them for 2 years where I’m running, jumping, de-escalating, emotionally supporting, planning, mentoring college and university students, overseeing our team and much more… and I still wake up excited for work every day.

So I guess here is the hope I had for this post – if you are an employer and wondering how to improve employee retention, respect your employees as humans. Don’t make them take the hard way to do extra work to solve problems. Encourage a teamworking culture where people will feel safe asking for help. Provide resources to help the job be more efficient and easier. Listen to feedback from your staff. Acknowledge that your employees are working for money and that at the end of the day, personal issues are more important to them – this will help everyone feel respected and respect the job more. Figure out ways to manage on days when you’re short staffed instead of guilting your employees to come in when they can’t. No one needs exciting work culture or to feel like they’re in a family – families can be toxic – we just want to feel respected as humans.

And if you’re an employee and feel the stress of taking a day off and don’t have a team to reassure you – know that you deserve to take that time off for your health and well-being. Know that you shouldn’t feel isolated in your role and should be able to ask for help and take shortcuts if they make your work more efficient. Your job is just that, your job. You are so much more outside of your work role ❤️

And now I shall return to my napping so I can get back to my 100% double trampoline bouncing self for Monday 🥰


Published by maiiflowerr

Pronouns She/Her/they/them. I'm a millennial just trying to make a difference in the world, and create space for people to accept themselves and live their best lives. My fiancee, Sydney, and I are mothers to our two goofy cats, and the queens of creative adventures. I am an Occupational therapist, a dancer and a yoga instructor with a passion for supporting people and creating community.

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