Filtered by tag: Clinician Corner Remove Filter

A Day in the Life of a Health/Rehabilitation Psychologist

As a Health/Rehabilitation Psychologist in a hospital setting, my role is very different from psychologists practicing in private practice or other settings. On any given day, I may provide psychological services to patients, conduct staff trainings, consult with the healthcare team and provide treatment recommendations, participate in team meetings, train students, engage in scholarly research, and a myriad of other professional activities. No two days are alike in my role, and new and exciting challenges keep me stimulated and engaged. In this blog post, I will provide a “snapshot” of what a typical day may look like in my role as a health/rehabilitation psychologist.

I work at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital on a CARF accredited rehabilitation unit. CARF accreditation stands for Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and ensures that quality of care is being provided and internationally recognized rehabilitation standards are being met. The population on our rehabilitation unit consists of patients with neurologic disorders (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke), patients with amputations, traumatic burns, orthopedic injuries, physical deconditioning secondary to various medical conditions (e.g., cancer), spinal cord injury, amputation, and any other medical concern that would require acute rehabilitation. For someone to qualify for acute rehabilitation, they need to meet requirements as outlined by the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS), and have a medical condition that requires inpatient medical rehabilitation. Patients on our unit participate in at least three hours of therapy per day, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech language pathology. The “core” members of our multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment team consist of physiatrists (i.e., rehabilitation physician), physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, recreational therapists, social workers, care coordinators, intake coordinators, pharmacists, registered dietitians, nurses, health/rehabilitation psychologists, and neuro-psychologists. Other specialties may be consulted including specialty physicians (e.g., neurology, nephrology, cardiology, palliative care), diabetes educators, psychiatrists, Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor (CADC), and chaplains. Each member of the multidisciplinary team addresses patients’ presenting concerns from their own unique lens. All team members are working toward the same overarching goals: increase functionality, quality of life, and assist patients with returning to the community to live independently. 

Read More

Clinician's Corner - Exposure & Response Prevention

I was fortunate to acquire an academic job directly out of my pre-doctoral internship. However, the downside of this was that opportunities to apply my clinical skills were largely nonexistent, and acquiring the required 1500 hours of postdoctoral licensure hours was a daunting task while embarking on the tenure track. While I had always found academia fulfilling, after two years focusing solely on teaching and research, a level of monotony began to appear, and the lack of opportunities to work with clients began to frustrate me. Not to mention, I dreaded the prospect of having to repeat the same stories from my past clinical work to my students for the next 50 years if something did not change. Accordingly, despite the challenge and risk of adding a new responsibility to an already full workload, I decided to take on a part-time clinical position to complete my licensure hours. Looking back, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and the following case exemplifies why I will always have one foot in the clinic.

One of the aspects of clinical practice that I always admired is the variety of challenges, twists, and turns it brings. Even the most seemingly “simple” cases always seem to offer a wealth of complexity, opportunities for creativity and problem solving, as well as the ability to put science to practice. Needless to say, “monotonous” is never a descriptor I would use for clinical practice. This brings me to the case of “Jerry.”

Read More