Southern Cross University and Occupational Therapy
4 January 2023
We have been very busy at Active Hand Therapy over the last few years providing our Hand Therapy expertise to Bond, Griffith and Southern Cross University. Our team have lectured, ran splinting workshops and taken on students to improve the overall clinical excellence of our profession.
One of the great things about becoming an expert is you get to impart your knowledge on unsuspecting students. We provide a range of support to various organisations throughout the year.
So we decided to ask of our awesome therapists, Riley, who graduated from Southern Cross University many moons ago why it is great being a Hand Therapist!
Describe what your role is?
I am the senior Hand Therapist in Active Hand Therapy's southern clinics - usually based at Tweed Heads. I also work within some Orthopedic hand clinics to improve patient outcomes and streamline their care.
Is it fun?
Hand Therapy is an extremely rewarding job as you can make a huge difference to every patient you see. It is challenging as there are so many variables to an injury and no day is the same. If I didn't have to work, I would still do this job (except if the waves were pumping).
What is the best thing about being a Hand Therapist?
I grew up on the Tweed and I enjoy getting to know my patients. I love when they get better and they are usually very grateful.
What is the hardest?
Really large wounds can be confronting to new Hand Therapists but we see so many every day I am immune!
What does your day to day look like?
I go for a surf [edit - once you start work Riley].
I have a varied caseload but generally I would see patients in the Tweed Clinic which might involve a referral from a GP to diagnose an issue. I might have a few wounds to review and dress after a hand or wrist surgery. There will be lots of splints to be made, hot wax baths, dry needling, massage, lots and lots of education and exercises. I also visit patients in hospital and sometimes start my day there.
What do you hear the most from your patients?
'I have never heard of a Hand Therapist' - most days!
Any advice for future Occupational Therapists thinking of getting into Hand Therapy?
Contact a Hand Therapy clinic and see if you can organise a placement during your University degree. This is a great way to see if this role is for you and we love students being pro-active and reaching out. I am yet to meet someone that hasn't loved it!