Nicole's Journey To Becoming a CHT | Testimonial

Episode #5

Nicole's Journey To Becoming a CHT | Testimonial

[00:00:43] Hey, how are you? I am, I'm finally coming out of my haze. It was awesome. Right? [00:01:00] I mean like, so I just want to start with saying, congratulations. Um, you have worked so hard and I really am just so happy for you. Um, tell me what you're thinking about when you open your email, you opened the email, didn't you, did you open the email?
[00:01:21] Well, so yeah, what happened then was the email came in and I, um, well I found out from someone else at the results came in and I had been thinking. How am I going to open this thing until I get home? Cause I was just too afraid to do what at work. And I only had one coworker who knew I was taking the test again.
[00:01:47] And so I I'm went man. And she's like, what's the matter? And I'm like, results are in. She's like what's going on? I said, oh. So, what are you going to do? And I'm like, I think I'm going to wait till I get home. She says, rip that [00:02:00] bandaid off. So as I'm trying to go through it, you know, my hands are shaking.
[00:02:06] And the first thing I saw was the word, congratulations. I threw her my phone and I said, you have to read it. I can't do this anymore. And she started screaming saying, you pass your pants your best. And so. We were in an open gym. So where OTs are in the corner and PTs are on the other side of the gym and they start hearing a screaming and they're coming, running over that we dropped somebody.
[00:02:29] Right. And, um, and, uh, yeah. And from then on, it's been a major hate. Uh, it was like, and then like, they were like, they got scared. Cause was it the center of the ER she's hyperventilating? I just, I just, I started crying and laughing. I didn't know what else to think. I just, it was like very surreal I had.
[00:02:54] And then when I came home, I kept having to read it to make sure it was correct. You know, you get a [00:03:00] little, get a little less. Little gun shy when you, you know, when you try and you get that, we're sorry. You know, and it's like, sure, doesn't say, sorry. And I remember that's the one thing that, um, I remember when we spoke about it this last time you were like, I'm so scared of that email.
[00:03:25] Like you almost have, like, you've been traumatized by this stupid email. Pretty much. Yeah. So my coworkers are calling it PTSD. They're like, you've got PTSD from emails. I said, yeah, pretty much. Yeah. Yeah. Just from that one email, just from that, just from that one email. Right. So, um, now that you're kind of coming out of this haze, um, like how, how outside of like being really, I guess, happy, like.
[00:03:59] [00:04:00] How did you feel, did you think it was what you expected it to be like? Well, it was kind of funny because, so the information came in on Tuesday. I, I came home and I was talking to a friend of mine who, like, I went stealth with a lot of people. Like there was only very minimal people. So everyone who knew in the past that I taken it, they thought I had given up and wasn't going back in.
[00:04:33] Cause I said, the last time I said, that's it I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm shot. And so when I made the decision to go back. Not telling me I'm a telling people. Like, I always told a core numb, like only like not even a handful. Okay. All right. So, because those are the people I needed to be my support.
[00:04:53] So, um, I, so I was driving home and I was talking to [00:05:00] one of my friends who did not know. So she's freaking out on the phone, happy for me. And she texts me later. The next day. She's like, you must be on cloud nine, stay on that cloud. And the first thing I went is I am not on that cloud because when I came home from work, I just, I, this is what I call it.
[00:05:18] I just felt like a wrung out. All the emotions had just come crashing through. Yeah. And then yesterday, when I went back to work, I was more like a zombie and every single, I mean, more people are more happier than I was yesterday because I was just so wiped out today is when I started to feel the joy of passing the exam.
[00:05:42] Okay, good. That's amazing. Yeah, because you're like, I feel like. It sounds like you were just holding your breath this whole time. I did it. I, yeah, I was because, and I didn't realize I was doing that and it was, I didn't [00:06:00] realize it. And then it's like, I came home and I went, okay, now what do I do? You know?
[00:06:06] So it took me a couple of days to really kind of chew on it. And it's like, now I'm like, yeah, I'm good. Now. Like how. I'm incredibly proud are you of the hard decision that you had to make this last time? And so we're going to kind of just keep walking backwards this last time. Like how hard was that decision for you?
[00:06:33] Because let's, let's just tell people because, and you don't have to go into numbers if you don't want to, but you've taken this. Test numerous times. And we you've been with me for two years. Yeah. You've been with me for two years and we did stuff differently this time, but you've been with me [00:07:00] for two years.
[00:07:01] And this last time there was a difference in you, but how hard was that decision? Well, I was talking to, I think I shared this with you. I was talking with a friend of mine in the store. So, you know, found out in may that I, or June, I didn't, I didn't pass again. And so I was just like, you know what, I'm so tired of this, but like these last, so the last two times I was just right on that tip.
[00:07:36] And each time I just like got just closer and closer and I just went, I don't know if I can do this anymore. And so I was sitting with a friend who had gone out, we were talking and he said to me, And it was the big, it was, it was like just before the weekend. And he said to me, he's like, you know what, you're not taking it.
[00:07:57] Don't take it. Just, don't take it, [00:08:00] put it in your brain. Don't take it. And you're done. You're not going to take it. He's like, I'm, let's just say, she's like, just do what, how you feeling on it. It was the most miserable Satish weekends I had had. Because I just felt completely deflated that I said, that's it.
[00:08:17] I'm not doing it. And I just was like, I was so upset and then. Then I think one of your emails came on offering the one-on-one and I, well, then I started playing the, what if game in my head, you know, what, if I do that, no, it's just, I have to sign up for the exam, but what if I do this? I don't have to sign up for the exam, but I was miserable.
[00:08:41] And then by, I gave myself a couple of weeks on that and then I went, I can't walk away from this again.
[00:08:51] The time I have to try one time and that's when I made the decision in the middle of the summer to go after it again. [00:09:00] Yeah. And that was great. I mean, cause I think you did things differently this time around, cause I always talk about like there's a knowledge based stuff. There's all that knowledge stuff.
[00:09:15] You're learning about the bones and the muscles and the protocols and the tests and all this stuff. But then there's a huge component that I think a lot of people don't talk about don't address and that's the mindset. And there was, you know, there there's, there's a big, you know, it's like the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, but we need to talk about it.
[00:09:40] Yeah. Well, the other thing was, which you didn't know. When I finally signed up for the exam, I didn't sign up right away. Not that I was at the end either, but I, I was halfway cause usually in the past I would sign it as soon as it opened up. Boom. I would sign up. Here we go. I would take it the first week.
[00:09:59] Boom. [00:10:00] And this time I didn't do that this time I waited. And so I decided, you know what, I'm going to take it the final week. And I says, well, you know, I still wanted to get it on like a Friday and I wanted to get it in the morning. Well, couldn't get it on Friday. I couldn't get it in the morning. And I went, yeah.
[00:10:17] So I was like, okay, so it's Thursday afternoon. Okay. And, um, I said, this will be really different, cause I'm always used to taking the exam in the morning. Well, That day, you know, I did what I needed to do through the day I got in a nice little walk in the morning beforehand and, you know, prepared and I left in plenty of time to get there.
[00:10:41] Plenty of extra time. I hit every roadblock getting there, every roadblock just like tonight. Cause you know, I said, oh, I might be like, it took me two hours to get home. The traffic is ridiculous in this area. Wow. Yeah, it's ridiculous. And so I. [00:11:00] I wanted to get there a good half hour to 45 minutes before the exam.
[00:11:04] 15 minutes, I got there 15 minutes before it could get in. Wait, it gets even better. Then I had to wait for all these other people in front of me. Who's taking the real estate exam. BSBI FBI exam. That, that exam, that this exam I didn't get until 10 minutes late. Wow. I was. Fuming fuming. I was angry in the car.
[00:11:27] I was angry. So I was mad going into the exam because I didn't know if I lost my time trying to get into the exam. So. So, and then I started taking the examine, you know, and then it was like, I had like Nicole cooled down. I had to talk to myself to cool down and, and uh, and then I just hit it. Um, some of the questions I went, what, you know, I got a little angry, so questions, but I, I just want, you know what, this is what I think it is.
[00:11:58] And I think I just, because in [00:12:00] that anger, I got that confidence in me and I just went through it and. I was the last one out of the building. They had, they were locking doors, like before I was even out of the, you let me in 10 minutes late, I'm taking my time, reclaiming them on time. So, but then, you know, then I left in and I met that core group of people that I, who knew, cause they're taking me out.
[00:12:23] They're like, how'd you do? I said, I don't know. I was, I was so angry and they're like, well, this is different. Cause usually. Crying. Cause I just was so upset, but then this time I left angry and the first time you're crying, the second time you were more relieved, you were like, I felt more comfortable. I felt more confident.
[00:12:44] I didn't change the answers, you know? And then, then this time you left angry. Okay. So really honestly, everything that you did was different from the decision. Making to the, you know, um, from the [00:13:00] get-go to all the way down to, to signing up for the exam. And actually when you took it, like, so everything literally was out of your hands and then the university sands.
[00:13:13] Yep. Yeah, pretty much. I said it's in God's hands everything's in God's hands that's right. But you made the decision. Like that made the decision. So I, I loved your, what that was gonna say. My boss, my boss came in today because she was out for a few days and I did text her. She was freaking out. So when she came in today, she was like, you didn't tell any of us.
[00:13:39] And I went, Nope, wasn't going to tell any of you guys. And she just was like, She's just like I am. So she was so, so wonderful. Like her and my supervisor, they're just so wonderful. They're like, we're so glad you tried it again. And, um, you know, And in, in a, in a big meeting quality, [00:14:00] they brought it up and they just went, you have no idea what she's been through.
[00:14:04] And then one of the, um, one of the more senior people they said, yes, we do from COVID. We know what she's been through. And they were just, oh, so all of a sudden my, my, my emails started lighting up from everybody throughout the hospital. You know, you're gonna be in the newspaper again, Nicole, you're going to be in the newspaper again.
[00:14:24] Like, I don't want to say it, like get used to. Your base is everywhere. You know, I'm putting this out like I'm, so I'm so proud and excited for what you've, um, you know, really accomplished. And, you know, when I, I, one of the reasons I really love sharing your story is really honestly the persistence, right?
[00:14:48] That's been the key term for this last time going into it, that everything like you have one persistent check and I'm like, yeah, I'm stubborn. Yeah. You want like, what do I say? [00:15:00] You want what you want? Because you want it like no justification, no explaining why and what and whatever are you wanting?
[00:15:07] That's it. And why shouldn't you work for it? It gives you great satisfaction and look how, you know. Like accomplished you feel because you did it and didn't give up, you know, but I also feel like you, you know, cause there's a lot of people who take the exam and they fail and they get. And then maybe they take it twice and they fail each time and they give up and, and, you know, um, sometimes people take breaks in between and, and like, Hey, that's fine.
[00:15:40] Uh, you, you have to make the decision what's best for you. And what's comfortable for you and like your lifestyle, but at the end of the day, at the end of the day, it really comes down to your persistence and like, um, like, like really just deciding to go after your. Your goals and, you [00:16:00] know, um, what would you say?
[00:16:05] And, and, and I love sharing your story because of that persistence. So what would you say to somebody who has failed multiple times? What would, what's your best advice for them? Well, first of all, I think I hold the record. I don't know. Cause I've spoken to some people. Okay. I have, um, this last time, the difference with this last time than previous ones.
[00:16:38] Before I would wait. I would like give it a few years before I would go back to try this time. I didn't, I just kept slamming it. It's like I took it last November. It didn't happen. I took it again may. And then it was like, in my head I'm with, I have all this information in my head. I cannot let it go. I got to try it again.[00:17:00] 
[00:17:00] So it was just like kept pounding. It just kept pounding it. I had to try. I just had to that's my that's me. That's me to the core. Like the reason why I put these videos out and the reason why I go on. Video knots, because I don't, I'm tired of hearing myself speak, but I think it's so important. Like when, when people give themselves too long of a break in between like these years, and I've spoken to so many therapists who to take it, feel that failure, like they feel it, you know, so deep to their core that they sort of give up.
[00:17:33] And then you, you do, you, you forget that knowledge and then you have to almost start from scratch. And that's why, like, when I'm persistent, Well, it gives us like, just do it again. It take your score, you know, what have you learned from that? Cause it's not failure. If you learn something from it and you learn something every single time.
[00:17:55] Oh, absolutely. Every single time I walked away with more knowledge and my patients were the [00:18:00] better for it as well. No matter how you look at the patients for the better for it. And, you know, my coworkers were noticing and they became, somebody noticed a change in how I was treating and how I was communicating with both patients, them and medical personnel.
[00:18:14] And, and, and it was just like, and they knew my disappointment. They, they knew how much I was trying so hard. Um, But like, like I said, this last time I decided I was going to keep it a secret. And, and for me, I was like, how do I explain it? It was like getting down really down low in the grit and going head on this last time, you know, like, not that I wasn't trying the other ones because I was really calling on all of them, but there was just something a little bit different.
[00:18:45] And I think it was because the. The thought of never going back to take it again. That made me so upset. I said, no guys got to do this. So I think that's what gave me the grit to keep going. And I think, but you [00:19:00] sorta kinda like go to like you, you did it. Yeah, you're right. You're just trying to think of like what changed?
[00:19:08] I think, um, I think one of the biggest things this time around, I think just because we were able to, you know, you committed to that one-on-one time with me, um, that, like I had to be such a hard ass, like I was kinda mean and brutal. Well, I, I'm going to be honest with you in that when I said okay, to that, one-on-one with you.
[00:19:36] It was intimidating for me because here I am, you know, and here I'm going to work with you. Who knows your stuff. Who's a CHT, who's teaching this stuff and you know, and here I'm going and here, I'm already insecure with my own knowledge base and I'm going to be like, she's going to think I'm like a stupid idiot, you know, kind of thing.
[00:19:54] And, but then in my head I went, but that's what I need. I need someone [00:20:00] who's going to go either. You got the stuff, but you're not using it. Right. Which is a big thing. It's like I had the stuff, but I just wasn't using it. Right. And, and so there was both a challenge and validation in my knowledge. And that was a big thing that I was finding this time around cause challenge and about, cause I keep telling you, you know, so much, I barely know anything.
[00:20:24] I got a textbook I'm studying specifically in a way. To share it. So you could, you could kind of like absorb it in a different way, but you know, so much, you know, so much, I think I just had to bridge the gap to the application to applying it. Yeah. And I mean, and when you take the exam, everyone says it's the jar exam.
[00:20:50] So there's that intimidation there as well. You know? So it's like, I just had to say.
[00:20:59] You had to change [00:21:00] your story. I keep saying, we are told a story as occupational therapists, as people trying to specialize in have their there's so many stories that people feed us, right. That, that. You know, are told you, we have one story about being OT, you know, like nobody understands us. We're not enough, like all this bullshit.
[00:21:23] Right. And then, uh, when you try to become a certified hand therapist, you almost get segregated from the OT population, which is another story. People will tell us, but that's not true. That's not true. Just because we focus on very specific types of injuries. We still have our OT brain, our OT mind, and how we break things down and how we apply it to help people so that they can function in their lives with the two tools that God's given us.
[00:21:51] Um, that's so important, you know, the whole thing, um, But yeah, like, and then you're, then you're, you're [00:22:00] told that, you know, it's so hard, almost impossible to become a certified hand therapist. And those stories actually stick with us. And one par of even taking the exam or even giving yourself a chance to try is to change that story around.
[00:22:19] And at some point we think we'd change it, but you really had to change your story. Yes. You really had to change your story in the sense that you cannot say that Nicole doesn't know stuff. Like, I feel like I needed, I changed that. Like I had to like put that in your head the whole time. Yes. Yeah. And that was a step.
[00:22:44] That was a statement. I started saying. Especially to the circle knew. I said, I know, and I felt it. And I mean, you kept saying it, but I was starting to say too, I was saying, I know a lot of stuff. I know what I'm doing. I get past this thing, you know, I [00:23:00] just had to, but I wasn't saying that before this time around, I was saying that this certain belief in yourself.
[00:23:11] Yeah. Yeah. The biggest change. Yeah. So the biggest change, and to be honest with you, like, I always say this the, sometimes it's not about, I mean, I talk a lot about getting those letters, but that's because most people want those letters, but it's the journey that you go on to get those letters, right? Yeah.
[00:23:32] What a journey you've been on. So amazing. And I was. And just meeting all the different people through the classes and the study groups and different things like that, you know, like they know people across the whole United States at this point, you know? So it's been pretty cool. Yeah. Kind to created a nice little circle of, you know, a therapist to, to lean off may not and lean, you know, [00:24:00] Kind of bang off from each other.
[00:24:03] Yeah. They're doing the same thing. They're, like-minded in the sense that they strive to be excellent. Right. They strive to constantly learn and grow and develop themselves because at the end of the day, um, you know, we only burn out and get bored and frustrated or we're not doing those things. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:24:25] So, but I always, I always like to share your story. Your persistence. Um, and now like how you've, you know, each step of the way change and made the tough decisions, uh, to get you to where you are today, which is a CHD. Congratulations when you super happy. Um, I couldn't be happier for, I mean, that made my day made my year grateful to be on this journey with you.
[00:24:58] Like so [00:25:00] grateful. It was crazy after I had emailed you and then, oh, I called you. I know I was like, Miami, that's gotta be one. Cause like we get all the spam calls. I'm like, I don't pick them up. And I'm like, Miami, I wonder, I think the fearful and then we both,
[00:25:21] no, I was in the middle of my clinic and I screamed. I was, and people were like looking at me at the patients and everyone was like, oh, it's like,
[00:25:34] I've got to call her.
[00:25:38] Yeah, I saw you emailed me back, but I didn't look at the email till later in the evening. Cause I had, I went oh shit. But yeah. So you were screaming my arms screaming in my clinic. Uh, it was, it was just crazy. They're still screaming. It's like I said, it's so fun. How does that hurl celebrate all the way to the new year [00:26:00] and then some, okay.
[00:26:01] So,
[00:26:05] all right. Well, thank you so much, um, for coming on, sharing your story. And thank you, you know, thank you for doing this, you know, because when I made the decision to start to go back into studying, this was the fall of 2019 and it was around Christmas time. And a friend of mine had known a friend of mine, knew we were, I was starting to do this and she found your Lincoln forwarded it to me.
[00:26:30] And that's how I started. That journey. That's how I found you. And we started that in 2020 before the whole COVID crazy stuff kicked in, but, um, Your, your videos. Like I went through every single one of your videos multiple times through the years and note took on everything and, um, reviewed and, you know, the, the, what I call the wrestling of information [00:27:00] back and forth.
[00:27:00] Cause I mean, we used to have conversations that were like wrestling matches, you know, just trying to break my break, my skull open to get that information out. So, um, Uh, thank you for doing this. Thank you for opening up, you know, making this class. Cause you know, for me, I think it was a game changer from previous attempts really, and, you know, and learning and getting an understanding the information, you know, it's one thing to just get information and just regurgitate it out.
[00:27:30] It's another thing to have it go inside of you so you understand it. And so you're able to then talk the talk, whether you're talking to a patient or to a doctor. Let me ask you like a lot of times people come on and they think they're getting one thing, you know, they they're coming in for the lecture, the bones, attendance, all that good stop.
[00:27:52] What is the one thing you got out of this program that you weren't really expecting, but that you [00:28:00] found really valuable? Um, Well, I can go with 20 different directions on that one. Really? Um, like I said, the. The challenging and the validation of the information. Okay. Yeah. That's the one thing, because in the challenge and the validation, it becomes really, it becomes almost internal, all that stuff became so internal and it wasn't just a bunch of facts, but it became the point of.
[00:28:32] Um, it became, and this is going to sound silly. It became a part of me so that when I started having, I started talking to somebody and they came out with a question from left field. I was able to just turn it around and come back with, with, with the information, because it, it almost becomes ingrained in you, you understand that?
[00:28:54] Yeah, so it's so it was like, okay, great. I passed the exam. It's wonderful. The CHT, [00:29:00] but that information, like, I don't think I'm going to forget it because it's too down deep inside. Now that it'll just keep going. You know what I mean? That makes sense. Yeah, no, it does. It does. It's the, it's the understanding that concept.
[00:29:17] Um, so one of the things I try to do is break down how I think like step by step by step, that's where the framework kind of come from. Um, and you know, so that I can, I can share that piece and how you break stuff down. Cause when you, when you understand a concept fully versus just memorizing something, that's when you can see something and all of a sudden.
[00:29:43] Oh, it's this. And it's not that you just, all the sudden pulled it out of your butt. It's because you took the time to really fully understand that concept in a way. Then now your brain can process information faster and faster and trust. [00:30:00] And that's, that's the difference between, you know, you, you becoming that critical thinker problem solver, and decision-maker, you, you have to really understand that.
[00:30:08] So that, that when you have to do those things, it's that much faster. Right. And for someone like me, who. Panics and exams. Um, when they hit you with that question, you're going to be like, like you're able to like, almost catch the tail end of it, and go wait a minute. And then what would I used? What I would say is work the questions through, because like granted, maybe we read it in the book.
[00:30:37] From right to left, but the question asked to, to you from left to right and bottom to up. Right. So, so the information it got into a certain way, so that when you got hit with that question, even though it was coming at you from another different angle, you were able to kind of. Work it around and then work it through to get the answer you needed to answer the [00:31:00] question your, your thinking became flexible.
[00:31:03] Yeah. Yeah. You're thinking became flexible. That's it? That's it. That's what I was trying to say.
[00:31:11] Yeah. Yeah. We've talked about that before, you know, being able to. But being able to be flexible, like how you're approaching it. Very good. Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing. I think that this we're really help motivate, encourage, um, anyone who's taken the exam and have failed, no matter how many times you failed, you know, uh, you, you only fail if you stop trying, but you learn.
[00:31:42] You know, um, from those failures and you'll always be successful. So, um, thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for using your story to encourage so many other people. Cause I think that, you know me, I think we, we helped so many people with the, you know, everyone, if they're lucky there's two [00:32:00] arms and two hands.
[00:32:01] And there is such a need for more certified hand therapist all over the world. And no matter how many times you failed, um, get up and you can do it again. And you can be like, Nicole, you really want that bed. And I mean, you know, like if someone's listening to this and they just don't know. Do what I did just say, that's it.
[00:32:24] I'm not taking it. I'm not taking with them. Not taking it. I'm done. I'm walking away from it. Don't even crack a book you're not done. And then sit on that and feel what you feel. And if you feel like sad, which is what I do in the, maybe you're not done. And maybe you need to try one more time. I love it. I love it.
[00:32:51] Thanks, Nicole. You're welcome. Thank you. Congratulations again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


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