Q & A with a Sheltering Arms Occupational Therapist

Jacqueline CherryJacqueline Cherry, M.S., OTR/L is a Sheltering Arms occupational therapist in the acute care setting, which means that she sees patients in one of the Richmond area hospitals before they come to a Sheltering Arms rehabilitation hospital or outpatient clinic. She has a unique perspective because she has the opportunity to work with patients very early in the recovery process. Here is what Jacqueline had to say:

1. Why did you choose the profession of occupational therapy?

I chose occupational therapy when I was in elementary school. My brother had to receive OT services. I would attend sessions with him because he would only copy me, so the therapist would have me do the task and then my brother would imitate me and complete the activity. I liked how the therapists turned frustrating day-to-day activities into my brother then being independent and excited. I knew there was no other profession for me.

2. What does your typical day look like?

A typical day for me includes a 12 patient caseload on various units of the hospital. I work with them on a variety of functions from vented low level activities of daily living (ADLs), such as sitting up in bed to wash their face, to high functioning instrumental ADLs, like standing at counter for simple meal prep. 

3. How do you keep your patients motivated when they are having a tough time?

It is difficult to keep patients motivated when they do not feel good and they are frustrated by that – a nice smile, meeting them where they are in the process and helping to address their basic needs usually do the trick.

4. What keeps you interested in and excited about the field of OT?

OT is always exciting! There are always new and innovative ways to learn how to treat different patient populations.

5. What do you feel is your greatest challenge?

The greatest OT challenge in the acute care setting is helping people to see the light at the end of tunnel when it looks dark at the moment.

6. Why do you enjoy working at Sheltering Arms?

Sheltering Arms is a supportive hospital family where they encourage me to strive to be my best. It is an innovative organization that is always providing opportunities for new knowledge and growth.

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