How to Create a Deadline for the CHT Exam?
[00:00:00] My name is Hoang I'm an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist, and if you. Thinking about preparing to study for the exam. This is a talk for you.
We're gonna talk about how to create this deadline. How to create this deadline for yourself so that you can actually stay focused and hit your goals of becoming a certified hand therapist. So a lot of people are currently, you. You know, have already been preparing for the last several months and they're taking their exam.
So if you're taking your exam, I wish you all the best. And I think one of my biggest piece of advice I give this to my students all the time, is to not be desperate . Is to not be desperate. But on the other hand, for everyone who's been thinking about it for a while but not yet prepared themselves, how do you create some of that fire?
[00:01:00] Right? So how do you create that deadline? Many therapists love your program. Great job. Oh, thank you so much. I hope that has been helpful. I mean, that is my goal. My goal is to help OTs, you know, realize their potential, grow their career, have lots of opportunities. And I think becoming a certified hand therapist, it's just one type of specialty, but I think it can give you a lot of choices and create a lot of opportunities for you.
So my goal is, Just to help OTs develop their career. I hope that things that I'm doing help you. And if they are, please let me know. If you need more help, you know, more guidance, let me know. And I try to create some of the content on some of the videos and stuff like that around how to help you.
Yes, I can sit here and I can talk about a wrist. I can talk about an elbow and I can talk about the ligaments and all that stuff. But if you don't see what is possible for you, you might. Study it. Right. You might not even say [00:02:00] that. It's worth me doing. When it comes to studying for the cht, how do you create some urgency behind it?
How do you create a deadline for yourself? Because the biggest difference between becoming a specialist and becoming an OT is you went to school, you spent lots of years, you spent lots of money to become an occupational therapist. Where if you don't study and take the boards and pass, you can't work.
Right. As a certified hand therapist, you essentially. are already a practicing therapist. And the biggest thing about becoming a certified hand therapist isn't that you can't practice. You're already practicing. You have to have three years, you have to have 4,000 hours in upper extrem management. So how do you create that urgency?
How do you create that? You know, you have, you can have desire. You can have [00:03:00] all the desire you want, but if you're not taking action, you're not making the commitment, taking the consistent action to actually study to pass, you won't do it. You won't even bother to apply to sit for the exam. Right. So how do you create some of that urgency?
There was this phrase that I heard a while ago and always stuck with. And it's the idea of it's the idea of what was that idea? And something that you can do anytime gets done in no time. Let me look it up. You know what, here it is, What gets done anytime gets done in no time. So that's the idea.
That is if you can do it anytime you want, well, you can do it anytime you want. There's no urgency behind it. It's the same as if you, like I bought some shoes, right? I bought some shoes on Zappos. And Zappos tells me I can return my shoes whenever. Like I have endless amounts of time. So it's sitting in my [00:04:00] trunk, right?
It's sitting in my trunk. Cuz any, you know, anything you can do anytime you done know a time, right? But if you bought something on Amazon, you bought something at the store and you only have 30 days essentially to return it. And it was expensive. You've gonna do it right, You're gonna go return it. If it's cheap, then you're like, Oh, whatever.
It's, you don't value it. See where I'm going? Right? So how do you create the same type of deadline for yourself when, and essentially there's no deadline, right? So how can you create some of that urgency and like light a fire under your butt to study ? You have the years, you have the hours, and you have the desire.
Stop putting off the exam. You know, think about all the opportunities that are passing you by because you don't feel like you're ready to even apply for that job or to go out on your own or [00:05:00] to, you know, to do something different. Right. So let's say, you know, if you want to become a certified hand therapist, you know, decide on that goal, like what does that goal look like?
And then ask yourself. So that is the goal, but. The key thing here is to ask yourself why you want it. You wanna get really clear on why you want it, because this is the one thing that can also drive your focus and your attention to say, I'm putting a light under my butt and doing it now versus in later.
I can only share my story and I, you know, probably can share a couple of students' stories, right? People who come and talk to me. I did it back in the day. It was only once a. So if you missed it, you had to go all around again. Right now it's offered twice a year in May and in November back then you had to wait five years before you took the exam.
Nowadays it's three years, so you have. Less years, but it's still [00:06:00] the same amount of it's still the same amount of hours in terms of four years of experience. Right. Four, 4,000 hours of uppers extremity experience. Right. You know, how do you create that urgency? Well, why do you wanna get really clear on why you want it?
Do you want it to get the job right? Do you. The CHT to get the job. Do you want the cht Because you want to solidify yourself in the current job that you have, right? You wanna keep your job you know, do you want it because you want to start your own business one day. So I shared that because that was mine.
I knew that if I didn't do it at the time that I did it, I would keep putting it. Right. At the time I did it, I didn't have children. And there is a certain amount of pressure that you, that, you know, we have, you have five years to, to [00:07:00] practice before you can sit. So there was a lot of pressure at that time to do it at that five year mark.
Right. And now granted, I, you know, I had the I was starting to get the years, I had the hours, but I did not. The job, right? So I was like, if I can just say I'm starting to study and I actually start studying, I got the resources that it would change my trajectory, and it did. So I said, I'm gonna start studying no matter what.
I'm gonna start studying. If you, if I got the job, great. If I didn't get the job great, I would still study and become a certified hand therapist. Why? Because I want to get the job I wanted the opportunities. That would not pass me by because you know, they were looking for a certified hand therapist or a near certified hand therapist or whatever.
When you work in a really competitive area, that's what they want. If you work in a non-competitive area, . Maybe they're willing to train, you know, that kind of stuff, but it just [00:08:00] depends on what's going on at the time. I actually had a friend of mine who she had a great position where she was at, and it didn't require her to become a certified hand therapist, but I told her, I was like, Listen, you should study and get it because it's gonna solidify and make it easier for you.
If you were to go somewhere else, well, guess what? She didn't think she was gonna move. What happened? She ended up moving and she went. You know, place another state. And even in their kind of rural area, they were looking for a certified hand therapist. Why? Because the director was a certified hand. The.
and their job position was open for a year and they still wouldn't give her the position even though she had 10 years of extremity management, cuz she did not have the certified hand therapy credentials. Right. So she didn't get the job. Guess what she did? She ended up working in a skilled nursing facility for a while, right?
I hear that often that happened to [00:09:00] another person I knew that wanted to become a certified hand therapist, studied and failed, and then didn't give herself another chance. And then when she moved out of the area, because no one knew her and that area, they were really looking for a certified hand therapist.
She did not get the job. Guess what Shannon up doing? Working in acute care, working in skilled nursing, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs. I, myself have done those jobs. Actually, I love acute care. I actually met a certified hand therapist who worked in acute care at a big hospital in Burns, and that's all she did.
Like acute, like tons of splints, tons of up extremity, because what do you think happens in a fire? Ah, you know, like through your hands. There's nothing wrong with those positions, but if you have a desire to be in a particular type of setting, this is outpatient. This is my clinic that you're seeing behind me.
If you wanted to one day open your business and you didn't wanna be [00:10:00] studying for your cht and. Learning how to run your business at the same time. Do that shit now. So if you get really clear on your goals, right? You're already clear on your goals. You wanna be a freaking CHT that's given, right? But then get clear on why you want it.
Because why you want it will light a butt under light, a fire under your butt. I was talking to a student and same thing. Great job. She's working here and there. She's got tons of stuff going on. It's always busy. Here's the thing, she's thinking that she's potentially going to be moving next year and in a very competitive environment, right?
We're in a very competitive environment. Whether you work in a rural area or work in a big city, it's a competitive environment. She knew if she had her certification, it would make things easier for her. She would get better [00:11:00] opportunities in the settings that she wanted. You know, Oh, well, maybe I should wait.
What the hell are you waiting for? What is changing between today and next month? Nothing. Absolutely nothing is changing. So if that is your goal and that is your desire, and that is your reason why, start today. Absolutely no reason to put it off, right. The more you put it off, the more, Oh, I'll just wait one more month.
One more month. Turns into a year, Two years. Look how fast 2022 has passed us by, I'm just saying. You want to create a deadline? We do well when we have deadlines. I'll tell you that right now. We do well when we have deadlines. What do you think happened when you were applying to occupational therapy school?
There was a deadline. If you did not get your applications in by X amount of time, you did not get accepted. You did not have a [00:12:00] chance to get accepted. What do you think happened when you were in school? Every semester there was a deadline. Right, And that kept you going. This right here. To become specialized is called adulting, , no deadlines.
You're your own accountability. You're your own fire. You gotta create all this shit on your own right? And that's why there's programs like this, like the exam prep program is there to hold you accountable, to put a fire under your ass. You will not, you know, invest in yourself and just do nothing. You know what I'm saying?
You're at least gonna come in, you're gonna learn, you're going to you know, study. You're gonna become a better therapist. You're gonna clinical reasoning of understanding why, right? It is not about memorization. Is there a certain amount of memorization? Absolutely. But the exam is all about [00:13:00] how can you critically think through.
Right. Reason why based on the problem that you have to get the solution for your patients is if it's the same as a person who owns a clinic. Patients that come to us, I mean, they come to us because they have a very particular problem and we know how to find the solution for them and help them regardless of a pres.
Regardless of, do I know that doctor? You know what I'm saying? That's how they test you. Listen, is having a relationship with the doctor. Great. Absolutely. I have them. I talk to them. I love working with them, but it's, I still know if I see a scar, if I see an injury, if I hear you know, how they injured, if I take a look at their arm.
If I do a full on assessment, right, this part of the test, I know based on anatomy, [00:14:00] based on the nature of the injury, what is going on, how would I evaluate them to find out what the actual problem is, right? And then I can figure out you know, I can anticipate problems. That's essentially protocols.
I can anticipate problems. I can know what the protocol is in terms of, there is a. Step one, step two, step three, and then I can provide the treatment that will give the patients a solution, right? That's essentially what the exam tests you on. So is it a lot of information? Absolutely. But you know, to become an expert, to become certified, it really does come with a certain level of respect because you worked on it, you got it, you underst.
Right. You don't have to know everything like forever, right? You don't have to know everything. Like in terms of if someone asks you a question like, Oh, it's like Trevor Pursuit. You don't have to know it. [00:15:00] You do have to know where to look to get the answer. And that's part of the critical thinking and problem solving portion of it.
Right. On the exam, do you have to memorize a certain amount of it so you can pick the best possible answer? Absolutely. So if. If you want to become a certified hand therapist, you yourself have to make that determination clear on why you want it so that you can create that deadline so it will drive you towards that deadline, right?
Cuz what gets done anytime gets done in no time to create that deadline for yourself. Let's see, what else can you do in terms of creating that deadline? What else can make it easier for you if you have I think I was saying, cuz listen, life just gets really busy whether you have kids or whether you don't have kids, whether you have life events.
You don't have life events, life is always going to be throwing, you know, chucking shit at you. It's [00:16:00] always gonna have something. If you have a particular if you have a particular event, you know, In your life that you can utilize to help drive that deadline home, it can really help you as well. Right?
Understanding your why will also help drive that deadline. So if you're getting married, I was working with a a member and she was, she knew that she wanted to take the test at a particular time because she was also getting married. A year later or some, you know, something like that. Or a year and a half it was gonna take her a year and a half to get married cuz they were planning something.
She's gonna take them a little while. But she set that as her goal. Right. James, I wish I had you as my mentor when I was taking my exam. Well, kudos to you. You passed right? I'm still. You know, yeah. This is why I created a program like this, because I wish I had me when I was taking the [00:17:00] exam.
It was brutal. It was, you know, you're doing stuff on your own. You are, I mean, just pouring myself into reading stuff and that's the other thing is like, depending on who you. They're gonna tell you what they did, right? For what I do in my program, I'm like, you know, ask very particular questions to find out how people are well suited for what type of learning.
Most people are. are drawn to this type of program because I do have a set curriculum of how the information is, you know, built on each other, like layers of information built from one thing to the next thing so that it's. Easier when you're studying the videos that I have in terms of like my, just my style and my technique of of learning is so that it's just easy.
So you don't have to sit there and read. And if you do read, cuz I have some people who are just readers, [00:18:00] right? Like I too am a reader. Like I don't. What if I miss something? But when you fundamentally understand a concept and understand how the book wants you to understand it, when you go to read, it's so much easier, right?
It's just so much easier. But life is always gonna be busy. Always. Something's gonna happen. There's always gonna. More more. But if you can figure out that kind of like life event you can essentially plan and use that as your line in the sand, right? For some people it's about having children.
So I use that as an example because it was definitely mine. I was I was around year four and a half before and it was gonna take me a year, and I had said it for years, you know, that I would study and here is why I do not accept people into the program, into the exam prep program. Do not [00:19:00] accept if you are planning on.
More than a year. And one of the reasons why is because you tend to lose a lot of the motivation. You tend to lose a lot of the the drive, right. because it's too long. Cuz I used to say that two or three years I'm gonna start studying now. I mean, probably cuz I didn't have a program or anything like this during my day.
But it is so thick of information that it's. You know, when you create something so hard, you're just not likely to do it. So you wanna shorten and ease it, and then it's more doable. Right. So for people who are more than a year out, like in the sense that you're you're more than a year out from being eligible, I do not recommend.
If you don't have a substantial, if you don't have a certain amount of experience, like years of experience in upper [00:20:00] extremity, then I'm, you know, it's also like questionable as well because it makes studying really difficult sometimes. I advise the people who who reach out to me based on the questions that I ask based on a particular assessment that I've created.
I will guide them into the hand therapy mentorship program. And our hand therapy mentorship program is just more based on treatment versus the exam. So the two programs, the main difference between the two programs, Right. The mentorship program and the exam prep program. They're both me. Programs, but the biggest difference between the two is the exam prep, all the videos, all the guidance that I provide is very much specific to sitting and, you know, studying and sitting for.
For the exam. When you sit and you're studying for the exam, does that help improve your treatments? [00:21:00] Absolutely. Do I help answer those questions about treatments? Absolutely. If you're struggling with a case, do I help you with that? Yeah. Based on the book, Right In the Hand Therapy Mentorship Program.
It's great for OT starting out. I have CHS in the program too that, that come in there. They don't have the mentorship. They want to learn new things. I will teach in there based on what I do in the clinic, everything obviously is evidence based, right? Cuz it is based on the body bodies, based on, you know, the biomechanics that's based on the kinematics, based on the nature of injury.
But there's some things I do that might not be on the book. I'm just saying right, That get , I get great results on with my patients. And so there's a lot of that. But the tools that I have created, the frameworks that I have created, the Fast Track framework, the the, there's a framework for documentation.
There's a framework for [00:22:00] treatment. It's like how do you make all this thinking and problem solving easier for. That's what I spend my time on. And it's because, you know, every single time I train a therapist, I'm like, how do I make it easier? How do I chunk the information down in bite size pieces so it's easier to consume?
So it's easier for you to understand because I don't believe it does, I don't think it needs to be that hard. There's this concept, it's called CCAs razor. CCAs razor is all about how can you simplify something, right? How can you do it in the easiest way possible? Right? Taking some hard concept, how do I make it easier?
And that's essentially what I do inside the program. They're both mentorship programs, but the exam prep program, which is currently open right now for application. Is all very specific to taking someone like you who have the years, have the hours and the desire to sit, [00:23:00] prepare you in a way that helps you feel confident, helps you to trust what you are thinking, to make decisions so that when you sit in the exam, you are going to be able to pick the best answers.
You need a 75 score to. That's it. You do not need to be perfect. You do not need to know everything, but you need to know enough to pass . And that is essentially the program, right? Let me share with you, Occam's Razor, right? So when I heard about this like 10 years ago, I was like, ah, you know, what else can I do and use this for?
Because sometimes we are. to make things complicated. First of all, our brain naturally does that. Our brain naturally thinks about the negative, how to make it harder, tells ourselves stories that are not true, right? But how, you know, But also like the people in our lives are like, Oh, let's make it more difficult.
They don't mean to, but this [00:24:00] happened, right? So I was working, I made. A figure eight orthosis right. For one of my patients. And he's got a nerve injury in, so I made it for his two fingers so he could spend a lot more time working on intrinsics. Right. Versus having his extrinsics, you know, of his flexors kind of pull in and then he struggles with it.
So we make these splint so he can do a lot more pinching. And you know, the long finger, my favorite finger, is very strong and he's got big hands, so there's extra long, extra strong, and it tends to pull on the osis on the splint. So it's starting to loosen up and I don't want him to lose it. He was like, Yeah, I need to get tightened.
And I've come down to the last 10 minutes of the session and I already had in my mind something else to do with him. So I was like, Oh, okay, let me, let's decide that. Let me fix your splint cuz I don't want you to lose it. And so my initial thought [00:25:00] is, Oh, I gotta bring out the heat gun. I've got to remolded, blah, blah, blah.
And then I looked at the splint and I said, How can I. This easier. I looked at his finger, I looked at his splint, I looked at his finger, I looked at his splint. I said, Let me bend it. And it's because the finger is constantly trying to bend and the splint is trying to hold. The finger straight. So what happens over time, it starts to soften and loosen.
So it spreads out. So I was like, let me stretch it and bend it cuz there is a little give in some of the materials and sure enough, just by bending it in a particular position, it tightened up. I didn't have to sp, I mean that took me two seconds, right? I. I didn't have to heat the whole thing up.
I didn't have to remold nothing, right? I encourage you to, when you're looking at something, how do I make this easy? What do I need to do to make this [00:26:00] easier? How can I make my life easier? You know, I'm always about that. How do I make my life? . Not everything is easy. I'm not saying it's easy.
I'm saying easier. So it's taking a concept. How do I make it a little bit easier when you're studying? What do I need to do to make my life a little bit easier? If I make my life just a little bit easier, just incrementally a little bit easier, could I enjoy the journey and the process better? Right? Yeah, we could.
Yeah, we could, right? Yeah. Think about that. Think about that. When it comes to, you know, studying for the exam, think about like how you can make your life easier. Our lives are so busy all the time. You don't have kids. You have no idea how busy it really is, but you're busy, right? Full arm respect.
I always had my routine. I always was busy with something, right? And when you have kids, you have a different level of busyness. They're both busy. Right. I'm not discounted. If you don't have children, you [00:27:00] have a different level of busy, right? You have a different level of things that you want to do, and then when you have children, you have a whole nother thing.
So think about creating that deadline for yourself. When you figure out your desire, your real reason for why you're doing what you're doing, and then you set that deadline, you're gonna have to go back and remind yourself, This is why I'm doing it now, versus. , right? This is why I'm doing it now versus later.
I've always been able to anticipate issues. I feel like it's a strong suit of mine. I've always gone for things. I, you know, and part of that is just knowing myself, right? If you know yourself and you have a tendency to put things off because you need accountability, you need someone to like, you know, punch you in the throat.
No, I'm kidding. You know, light a little fire under your butt if you know you need that. This program is for you. Ev so many people who've come to [00:28:00] me, they have a certain amount of awareness that they're like, you know, I know me. Like I know I need. Some help. I know I'm gonna keep putting it off. I know that I don't do well with reading, so I get a lot of that.
I know I don't do well with just reading. I know I'm a visual, auditory, kinesthetic learner, right? I know that I just need extra. So a lot of times people, they apply for the program, they come into the program because they have a certain self-awareness, and I think that I've had that as well. So when I was going into OT school, I sought out help for.
The gre because I just know that I'm not really, I'm not good at standardized exams like taking them, but because I know that about myself, I needed to learn how to study [00:29:00] in a different way than was told by everyone else. Right? So if you're a standard, if you're really good at memorizing stuff and if you're really good at standardized exams and whatever and you don't have any of those problems, You just like barely study, you get by.
You might not need this program, right? You might not need this program because you're like, Oh, now I've seen people take that for granted because they've never had to really study in their college career, and they've taken this exam and failed because they didn't give it the respect that it deserves, right?
And I've seen people fail because of that. But I just knew that I needed extra help. So I sought it. I went into a different, bought different programs that was more than a book. And I think that part of it is you have to decide for yourself if you need more than that. So some people they just do a book and they're good with the book.[00:30:00]
You know, kudos. You might, this program, you might not. Right. That's okay. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you're on the fence and you're just not really sure, then I invite you to apply for the exam prep program and we can at least get on a call to find out what you actually need, and then at least you'll have some peace of mind that you know you're on the right track.
Right? We'll create a plan and you'll know for sure you're on the right track. Right. And that's the biggest thing. And that's a probably the second biggest thing when people just, they want, they wanna know am I using the right resources? Am I using them in the right way? Could I be studying in a way that's just easier for me that.
That allows me to comprehend and understand stuff, and I think majority the people that I work with, their ultimate goal is to be a really great therapist so that they can get results for their patients. And [00:31:00] that in itself will give you the opportunities. When you are really good at that, you show up to interviews differently.
You just, you show up to interviews differently. You're like, Yeah, I got this. I can. Right when I was applying for the hand therapy job and I didn't, hadn't worked in outpatient before, you know, except for, you know, when I was starting out as a student, but because of I had great internships that really allowed me so much practice.
And then I, in acute care, I've done, I did tons of hands and injuries. I just got them in their early stages. And I never got to take them through the whole process, you know, like we get to do an outpatient. But because I felt like I was good that I could, you know, show up. At that interview differently and say the things that I needed to say with confidence so that I could get the job.
And then I took [00:32:00] those skills so that I could then become a business owner and you know, create an environment where patients can come in and I can be very c. To say, Yes, I know how to help you, and they are willing to pay my prices, right? They're willing to pay my price cuz I can, I'm confident about, you know, not just that I'm saying it, but I deliver on the results, right?
And just say, you gotta deliver on the results too. , Right. But the exam will help you prepare if you're on the fence, if you're not really sure, you know for sure. Just it doesn't hurt to apply and see Oh, am I, you know, am I a candidate? Can I get in? Alright, so let me know if you have any questions.
Let me know if. You're just uncertain. Someone sent me a message earlier today. I was like, Oh, I'm not really sure. Does this apply [00:33:00] to me? And I can answer it, so I won't know if you don't tell me. If you're on Instagram, just send me a message. If you're on Facebook or YouTube, you can just send me an.
[email protected] and let me know where you're at on your journey and let me know if there's anything that I can help you with, right? Until next time I am off and I will talk to you guys soon. All right, Bye. Thanks for joining me.