[00:00:00] If you're an occupational therapist looking to develop your skills in hand therapy. This podcast is for you. Your hosts, Hong Tron, occupational therapist, and certified hand therapist turned serial entrepreneur with her own therapy clinic in Miami. Hong is an author and successful coach helping occupational therapists get jobs, develop their skills and become certified hand therapist so they can become experts in their.
[00:00:24] Hoang Works with occupational therapists from across the United States and around the world. She talks about everything from hand therapy, skills, career development, leadership skills, money, mindset, and business. You too can become an expert. See a certified hand therapist, business owner, and have more choices in your career.
[00:00:41] Subscribe now.
[00:00:42] So if you're an Occupational Therapist Physical therapist you're studying for the hand therapy exam, or even if you're not studying, but your therapist and you think you are completely burnt out. This is the topic for you. Come join me today. Come listen in. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'd love to hear your what you're struggling with.
[00:01:06] It really helps me to kind of like provide some, some. That's totally right. For what you can do to one spot it and two what to do to help yourself. Right. So it's really key. You can spot it. So if you're a therapist and you want to become a certified hand therapist, you want to work in hands and you're feeling [00:01:30] it already.
[00:01:30] You're feeling like, oh my God, I might be. Okay. I'm an occupational therapist, certified hand therapist and we are in my clinic or right now. So we can talk about that. It's something that I see often with the ne staff that and I can tell you right now as someone with, you know, with a small team is that it really doesn't matter if you're a therapist or not therapist.
[00:01:53] You used see burnout in, in all. Industries solely just to us therapists, but specifically, I'm going to give you some strategies today. All what you can do if you're studying to become a certified hand therapist, right. To become a certified hand. It can be a lot, right? Let's not lie about it. It can be a lot, it can be a lot because there's tons of subjects and topics, even within the hand therapy that you have to cover last time you were think, oh, or yeah, just hand, but hands are one of the most complex you know, parts of our body.
[00:02:31] And then on top of that it's not just the hand you've got to do. And you've got to know, we've got to know elbows and shoulders and and even neck, right. Because all of that's related and you have to know how things work. Well, you have to know chronic issues. You have to know postsurgical stuff.
[00:02:49] You have to know road types of conditions. So there's so many different things when it comes to the handling. That you might not possibly [00:03:00] have treated or all of them. So it can be a little bit daunting to sit around and think about all this stuff that you know you have to study for the exam. Now, if you didn't catch my headlines live, go through the post and watch.
[00:03:19] 'cause I talk about how to create a plan that will take away the overwhelm, right? So you want to be realistic in your plan is one of the first things I often talk about talks to people about studying and helping them create their plan. So right now hand exam prep program is open for enrollment. So who are looking to take the exam in may of next year?
[00:03:42] We are right now, a year away, and this is the best, best time. It started haven't gotten started yet now is a great time to get started and put your site upon taking the exam in may of 2023. If you've already been studying, just struggling quite a bit to get to home run for the November exam. The hand exam prep program is open.
[00:04:06] I really invite you to come grab a call like book. Yeah, we can I can help you create that plan so that it's more realistic. It's doable as you some questions to kind of gauge like where you're at and. You know, how likely, you know, what needs to happen to help you become successful, right? And one way to help you become successful is to avoid burnout.
[00:04:28] Cause I know you want [00:04:30] the goal. I know you want to become a certified hand therapist. I know you want to really I can tell you right now, the majority of the people who come on. Or come in my program, they really want to be such a great therapist. They want to be considered experts in their area. They want to be known to help, you know, certain types of patients, surgeons work with post-surgical cases or any kind of case that comes their way.
[00:04:56] You know, in my clinic here at hands-on therapy services we treat like, I would say. Pretty of our cases, I would say majority of our cases are complex cases, regardless of whether they're surgical cases or non-surgical cases, right. The surgical cases that come in, they are they can be very, and then our non-surgical cases.
[00:05:20] The flex in the, in the way that they're chronic. Right? So it involves being able to know how to evaluate really to get to the root cause of things. So I know that there's a ton of information and when you're coming into hand therapy, there's so many things for you to do so, as you're, as you're.
[00:05:41] Towards being this, when you study for the exam, it really solidifies it just because it, from the studying, it just allows you to think at a higher level to be able to critically think through and help. Oh mate, that are coming to you because they have some [00:06:00] grave types of injuries. Right. So if you're studying for the exam and you're starting to, to see signs of burnout, like let's see what you can do about it.
[00:06:09] So, you know, I always talk about things for the most part just about everyday life. If you really think about it falls on a bell curve, right? For the most part, just that air falls on a bell curve depends on where you want to be on that bell curve. Right. So a lot of times there's too there's two types, like at the end of the spectrum on the bell curve is when things are too easily.
[00:06:45] Writings are too easy. You can be bored and you can experience burnout. I don't know about you, but I have spoken to therapists who don't work in certain in certain settings, right? Because they feel like it's the same shit over and over, and they're just bored of. It's too easy. They're not being challenged.
[00:07:09] They're not the old challenging is how heavy the work is. Right. And so if you're, if you're completely bored and you see no growth potential, then you it's, it's very easy to kind of get to the stage or your parts out. Right. If something is too hard on the other side [00:07:30] of the milk. It's too hard. You essentially can also experienced so hard for you that, that
[00:07:41] it's so hard. That it's extremely challenging, right? Like that it it's almost defeating, you know, kind of like you got, you got to be. So anywhere on the ends of the spectrums, you're likely to experience burnout. So one of the very first things about not being burnt out and staying in this area is really to create that realistic plan.
[00:08:11] All right.
[00:08:16] You've got to create a realistic plan in order to essentially stay out of burnout. And that's how, that's one of the ways like you spot it, you know, the ways you spot it. That's one of the ways that bought it and you're aware of it. It can really. Right. So stay in the middle of the bell curve where it's just enough.
[00:08:40] If it's, if it's not too easy. You enhance therapy and have there be, there are some things are too easy or some things that are kind of boring. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes if you're too good at it, you know, or you deem it like, oh, oh, it's a you know, easy trigger finger or something like that. Or an [00:09:00] easy you know, I got tired of do these distal radius fractures.
[00:09:04] Everybody's a distal radius fracture, you know, Or arthritis, you know, so it can sometimes be too easy. So you want to see where you can fall into that bell curve and then yourself a few questions, right? So you want to be realistic. And part of being realistic is setting these like expectations that you have in your own head.
[00:09:28] Nobody else has said, but you, so let's be honest. Right? So, so ask yourself these questions when you're saying. Right. Do you feel the need to, do you feel the need to read? Do you get easily overwhelmed and anxious?
[00:09:52] Do you get easily overwhelmed or anxious?
[00:09:56] Does it take you longer to remember or understand concepts? Right. So if you're answering yes to these questions, you know, if you're answering yes to these questions, give yourself more time. We've got nothing, you know, but time in the sentence, right? Give yourself more time. If you're answering, no. Then you potentially to [00:10:30] go faster.
[00:10:31] So you're watching this, or you're watching this on replay you know, type into the chat. Yes or no, right. Type into the chat for me. Yes or no. So let me, you know, to create a realistic plan so that you can stay in the middle of the bell curve. Do you need to read everything? Do you get easily overwhelmed or anxious, you know, about what you're reading and studying?
[00:10:55] Yes. Does it take you longer to remember or understand concepts because you feel the need to like fully understand them one more time? There's absolutely no judgment, right? Hey, don't judge yourself for that. Just give yourself more time. And if you go back to watch the other video where I do talk about creating that plan, then give yourself more time and just do it.
[00:11:20] Just do it from this, you know, like let's say it's may two may of 2023, the key thing here is to not keep putting it off, like often talk about don't keep putting it off, right. Don't keep putting it off because you're scared to don't put it off because you're scared to fail again. Don't put it off because you're afraid that someone's going to judge you.
[00:11:43] Cause they're going to know that you took this exam. And then what if the stories that you tell yourself in your head are just so, so long half the time? Well, right the wrong half the time. So give yourself more time. So yes. Thank you for [00:12:00] answering that. Sorry. I think that's more time. Absolutely no judgment.
[00:12:05] I've had a student when she joined my program, she said, I'm going to do it at this time and are two months into it. She's like, well, are, you know, I, I w I want to rethink this and I want to recreate a plan as, okay. Let's, let's get through a few questions first and see how we. We can create this plan.
[00:12:25] Cause I don't want you to, just to give up because you feel like it's hard. I want you to actually know oh based on some self-assessments right based on your self assessments so that you can be realistic with yourself. She felt the need to read everything. She felt the need. Like she did get overwhelmed if she didn't read everything.
[00:12:47] And it just, it helped her to feel more comfortable to know that she understood fully and that she could remember certain things was she ended up being in the program for 12 months. And when she took the exam, Right. And she took the pass now that requires a certain honesty. You know, I, I talk about this.
[00:13:12] You know, just her hands. Oh yeah. That's that's, that's terrible. Hand injuries are bad. Hand injuries are bad. That's why they require specialists certified hand therapist to help them. So I had another student who she had time to [00:13:30] read everything. No, she's like she didn't, she. He just came in, watch the videos, took notes, read from her notes, came on the calls, answered, you know, ask questions.
[00:13:41] And she didn't feel the need to have to memorize everything. And she felt really comfortable with. With, we helped her create and she was able to go faster. So she came in for that full six month plan. But she also had a certain amount of experience and stuff like that. So you're coming in with less experience, you know, it depending.
[00:14:02] So that's why this assessment's really important. And that's why it's so important to really create a, your land for you so that you can be successful, right. So that you can be successful. So that's number one. So signs of study, burnout, what you can do about it. Well, what you've got realistic plan, right?
[00:14:23] Especially when you're studying and things are too hard. Pacific plan. Number two is plan in your brakes, Poland, and your breaks. I often talk about chunking, right? So chunk of. Chunkier during the day, chunk them into pockets of time. You can for that you plan in your breaks. I mean those chunks. And during that day, it could be during that week, but really make sure you're giving yourself breaks, right.
[00:14:57] You're giving yourself breaks and then setting a [00:15:00] cadence or flow so that you don't burn out. So we often talk about that in the hand exam prep program, hard and heavy for three months. And then during this time right now as you know, opening the program and enrolling more students. We're going a little bit slower.
[00:15:19] And if, you know, for my members who are in that went through the last three months, we want a hard and heavy. Now their cadence is this little bit slower. It allows them to go back through and it allows them to say, okay, what do you already know? What topics didn't. I get a chance to really fully cover.
[00:15:35] And I don't under. And as much where I do it, so I'm going to go through it now. And then we'll we go from August until November to take the exam. People who have been in the program already when now go through, you know, and then it's their recall it's intense review. Right. And so that we can we think through all of the topics, all the materials, as much as.
[00:16:01] I suppose Solimar exam there's everything is tap mine right on mine. So, so a cadence is really important and in your, with the cadence, it's, it's sending your brakes, right? That's how we set it up. So, you know, if you're starting to feel like I might be burning out. It's okay. To take a break. You got to plan those breaks out.
[00:16:26] You got to plan those breaks in what you're studying so that you don't make it [00:16:30] so hard on yourself that you quit. I think there's a lot of therapists who find it very hard and they keep saying it's hard. And then everywhere that they go, everyone's telling them how hard it is. And so hard that you end up dropping off and I'm here to tell you let's recreate this plan.
[00:16:53] Let's get you structured. Let's get you focused. And let's get you to the goal that you've said that you were going to achieve. Right? Because I do you believe seen more certified hand therapist and I live in a big city. I have people from all over. From different, different countries, different cities from different states, you know, like areas it's not all urban, some very rural areas.
[00:17:19] And really honestly, there there's just so, so much need for your service. I really do believe that you get more choices in your career. I mean, look, if you look back when we were going through the pandemic, you know, when COVID hit, like the people. Well, who lost their jobs, potentially work workable were generalists, right?
[00:17:45] Who kept their jobs specialists. You know, maybe you didn't keep all of your hours, but you kept more of them. When someone, you know, needed you hospital systems need a certified hand. Their. Private places, just like my, my own [00:18:00] clinic. I needed certified hand therapist, chain clinics, certified hand therapist, hand surgeons, and needs.
[00:18:10] Right. And the more skilled you are. The more likely you're going to have the choice verses have the jobs, and you're going to get those positions and you can ask for more money so that you can avoid burnout. You know, as long when you're constantly learning the people who are learning, right. Not too hard, not too easy.
[00:18:35] Don't get bored, right. If, if it's too easy and you're, you're bored shitless, you're not learning, you're not progressing. You're not doing things. Like burnout. I think another, another part of burnout is like, when you don't like what you do, right. When you don't like what you do hand therapists, is that a lot of hand therapists alike, like what they do, they just don't like the studying part.
[00:19:00] But the studying part is just a small, like little piece of. The whole grand scheme of things. The best thing about becoming a certified hand therapist is once you do it, you keep it forever. Right? So, Return on your investment is for the rest of your life is for the rest of your career. So this small little pocket of window that you're having to study, it's a small [00:19:30] sacrifice for the long-term gain of what you're going to get from having a really fruitful career.
[00:19:35] Of having more choices in your career, all of that stuff. So plan in your breaks so that you keep studying so that you can become a certified hand therapist. That's the only part you need right now. Right? Now the third after creating a realistic plan and then to planning your breaks, the third one is to create and keep boundaries.
[00:19:59] I don't know. I don't know which one is harder to create a realistic plan or to create eight and keep I'm not really sure you tell me, type it into the chat. What, which one do you think is easier to create and keep boundaries or to create a realistic. 'cause sometimes we want the world yesterday, right.
[00:20:23] Or it's just talking to my ops manager and we're talking about like how, you know, you know, this happens to everybody where we think we can do so much more than we actually can, and then shit on ourselves for the fact that we didn't get it done. Right. There's a perspective. And you have to like key type of work of like not being so negative that is practice that is you know, hanging out with the right people that can help you, you know, say focus and say how do you say stay focused [00:21:00] and you know, say positive to keep a certain perspective.
[00:21:04] So, So create, create and keep boundaries. So if you're in a negative brain space, and this is where I was talking, if you're in a negative brain space and you're talking to someone in that same space, all you see and hear is that negativity. And when you, when all you hear and see is that negativity.
[00:21:28] Your that's all you, you're going to keep hearing and feeling that. Right. So when you spot that, you've got to make sure that you're moving away from that. Literally just talking about that, like, because negativity creates more negativity, right. So we can all get at some point. But when, you know, I can only talk about like, what happens to me when I get really new.
[00:21:55] One of the things that I do is, you know, I make sure I look for the person who can't, that I'm going to talk to. That's going to bring me out of that negative mindset is if I sit there and talk to someone who's also negative, then all I'm going to see is like, they're going to just negativity, bouncing back and forth.
[00:22:14] Right? So you want to make sure that you find someone that you can go to so that you can keep a positive. With us. And then you have to do everything that you can do to protect that space. And that's really about [00:22:30] creating and keeping it, it was found. Now it can be really hard because there's going to be people in your life that you love, that you care about.
[00:22:36] And that sometimes it just negative. Right? Part of sometimes they're negative because they're just, they were like, they were like that before you got there. And then sometimes they're negative because they worry about you. I, for example, my mother. When I was studying for the exam, you know, my mother was very negative.
[00:22:54] My mother was like, oh, you know, but why are you doing. What do you do this for? She didn't mean it in a bad way. She just like, you know, didn't want me to get hurt or maybe she didn't really understand the importance, but I couldn't talk to the woman before I took my exam. I needed to like, make sure that any conversation around that got shut down.
[00:23:14] I wasn't listening to it because I was, I really wanted to be focused. I knew what I needed to do to become a certified hand therapist, which is really. Study. I had a deadline because you know, my, like my job was at state. Right. I felt like my job was, as I got of them, I was going to become one, so they could have one in their office and I didn't want to, you know, I didn't want.
[00:23:42] To, to clinical fail. Right. So I just knew like anyone would talk to where they were like, oh, you know, it's really hard tests, you know, good luck with that. No kind of BS is.
[00:23:56] Tell me who else has that, you know, I definitely have that. [00:24:00] So it's really important as you know, we're studying so that you can, you can way you make yourself to be in this realm is, is to create those boundaries. Right. Create those create those boundaries so that you can stay focused. You can stay structured so that you can study and prepare for the, for the exam.
[00:24:30] So here's my plan. Number two is breaks. Make sure you plan those in schedule those in and number three is create and keep those boundaries. Right? So one of the first things to do is you got to spot when you have burnout and really understood habit. If it's something you just hate being a hand there.
[00:24:51] Well, then, you know, get out of hand therapy, right? You hate being an OT while shit. I'm so sorry that you got so many years of school in and I hate that therapists. I can tell you when I was first a therapist, because I wasn't good at what I was doing. I hated being a therapist. I didn't hate being a therapist because I hated being a therapist.
[00:25:12] I hated being a therapist cause I wasn't. At being a therapist, once I got better and better, and I developed my skills became really good and I had to love being a therapist, just a therapist. And then, because I really, you know, I really liked [00:25:30] what I'd like. I couldn't imagine doing something else. I couldn't imagine I had an opportunity around two years ago.
[00:25:38] The school too. I could've gone back to school and gotten my degree in business, but then you're learning something new. If I wasn't good at being a therapist. And I, I was getting clinical burnt out because I wasn't good at what I was doing. Well, what was I going to do? I was going to go get another degree so I can learn something else.
[00:25:54] That could be not good at that thing. Right. When I started aren't good in business. But as a man I had to learn and the same thing. I have to make sure I stayed out of the it's too hard and there is nothing easy about business. So I don't even know who gets to sit in the it's too easy, burnt out some actually sometimes certain phases or business I can get really easy.
[00:26:20] And you you'll, you'll sabotage your business because it's sewage, but limit to this is talk, but the it's the same thing. This bell curve happens in all aspects. Different phases. When I first came out, I didn't like being an OT. I, I found out it was because I wasn't good at it. My expectations were not clear on I didn't what, you know, like we all fucking live in Lala land when we come out of school, like everything's peaches and cream.
[00:26:51] And then the world smashed in the face and you're like, holy shit. That's I didn't think OT was like that. So I had to like learn some of that. [00:27:00] So the first several years of my career as a therapist, but over time, I've developed a skills. I went into hand therapy and it was something that. I always knew I would do which was hands.
[00:27:10] And really what I wanted to do is specialize. So even when I was beforehand, I was dabbling some in in the NICU with the hand injuries of those little babies in the NICU and stuff like that. But you have to be well-rounded take classes. So part of how I stayed out of burnout was I was always learning.
[00:27:31] I was enhanced my skills so that I got out of the it too easy part. And so things when they were new to me and stay so hard. So I, one of the things that I did for myself was I just took classes. I didn't have pro to join, but I can tell you right now, you know, at, at the stage where I am, I, you know, I still take classes.
[00:27:54] I still join programs. I enjoy different types of mentorship programs, coaching programs, whether it be on the business side or on like, as a clinician, I take stuffs. I can still train my therapist and also I can train the people who are in my programs, who depend on me. The teacher them in a way that helps them to develop their skills faster.
[00:28:18] So, you know, those essentially are the ways that you could have it if you're potentially suffering now. And then really, it's not just [00:28:30] about finding the signs of burnout, but it's really, what can you do about it? What are you going to do about it? So you can burn out and you can take this. Even if you, you can take this.
[00:28:41] PI this thing for the exam. Right. But if you exam, you know, definitely come back and use these strategies to help you stay out of burnout so that you can study and get to the finish line of the exam. So whether you can in November of this year or you, you need more time, you're like, yes, I need more time.
[00:29:05] Come study with me in may. And let's go from this main to next may of 2023 and become a certified hand therapist then. All right. So if you are studying and you have questions about it and you want help, you want some structure in your life. You want some accountability in your life. You want some focus in your life to know, okay, what am I studying?
[00:29:27] Am I studying it? You know, a lot of people wonder, like, am I, am I studying it right? Am I covering everything that I need to, am I moving from the topics that I need to be moving to? Do I know enough is all essentially what we covered in the program and that's why you're getting the, the structure that you need, accountability that you need and the focus so that you can stop putting it off and just take the exam and feel good about having studied it in a way that makes you.
[00:29:57] Become that decision maker [00:30:00] because in the Zam you one there, you've got to be able to make decisions and it's all evidence based and pick the best answer on the exam so that you become a certified hand there. All right. If you're looking at your studying send me a message. This is my, send me a message, a hand gesture.
[00:30:18] You can, I'm going to, if you are watching on Facebook or, or on YouTube, I'll leave the link below. And if you're on Instagram, the link is in the viral, but you can always send me a message as well. And if you have any questions about it, let me know. All right. That's it for today. And I will talk to you guys soon.
[00:30:39] Thank you.
[00:30:40] Become the critical thinker problem solver and decision-maker so that you can help any patient that comes your way and skyrocket your career in hand therapy.