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When the Practitioner Becomes the Patient

Sarah Putt, MA, OTR/L

Lyfe can change in an instant.

One minute you are going to bed ready to tackle the next days to-dos and the next you find yourself waking up in a hospital bed s/p an emergency surgery.  

This happens all the time with our patients, but let me tell you… this was me last week. 

My go-go-go lyfe suddenly screeched to a halt and my world was flipped upside down. 

And let’s just say it has been a whirlwind ever since. 

I’m not telling you exactly what happened today, because I myself am still processing through my own emotions from the traumatic experience. But I will say that I am on the mend and baby lyfer is all good and still cooking. 

We had some touch and go moments and words like “fetal loss” and “sepsis” thrown about, but fortunately the cards were in our favor, at least so far. 

I will also say that I have learned so much from this experience and reflected a lot from an occupational lens. And I feel like sharing my experience may be beneficial for you to hear so I decided that I would share all my insights in a brand new series that I will be starting called “When the practitioner becomes the patient”.

I’ll be rolling out details from this experience over the next few weeks to share what I went through, what I learned, what I realized, and the many thoughts I’ve had now that I’ve given myself a chance to slow down. 

Hopefully my words can help you be a better practitioner for your patients and give a glimpse into what it looks like being on the other side. Or maybe one of you has gone through something similar and can relate to what I went through (hopefully not, but you never know). 

As always, I want this to be a learning opportunity so please feel free to ask me any questions that you might have. 

Have you found yourself on the patient side since becoming a practitioner? Or maybe you were a patient before OT school and that’s what led you down this career path? Share your experiences in the comments. 

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