Listen How an OT with 30 Years of Experience PASSED the CHT Exam!
[00:00:00] share when people think about studying for the exam. They think about how hard it is mostly because of stories that have been told in the past, get stuck in the, your present. tell me share with me a little bit of the experience, like your experience.
[00:00:18] That's exactly. How I've been, like my whole career I work with the C H T cause I'm in, I've been an OT for 30 years in February, I would've taken my , N B C O T A exam, so it would be 30 years in February, . I love that. I love that. I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna circle back to that question.
[00:00:35] Yeah. Circle back to that topic because I get that question a lot. So go on. And I worked with A C H T at the other hospital I was at for a couple years, but that was back in probably like 19 95, 96 or something like that. . And I always thought wow. So she must have, like looking at when the C H T exam, she must have just taken it a few years before, cause it was like brand new back [00:01:00] then.
[00:01:00] That's right. And and then, Since then I'm always, I've always been just like by myself at a clinic, so I have to rely on myself to figure things out and learn. And so I didn't have any mentors or anything like that and so I, like I told you like few months ago probably.
[00:01:18] 12, 15 years ago or something, I was like, okay, I'm gonna do this. And then I would buy some books and start studying and then life would happen. My kids were young and just things got in the way and I, I couldn't do it. And so then I kept so then later, September I was the Med Bridge came out with a C H T prep course.
[00:01:37] And so I thought, oh, okay, this is a sign, , cause I'm gonna do this. Yeah. So I did it and then Like I was going through finishing those videos and then like by spring, cuz I thought I'm gonna do this in May and by Spring I was like, I can't do this. What are you crazy? Like you can't do this.
[00:01:57] And so then I think it was like in [00:02:00] June and one of my other coworkers, she left to do an internship at U of M Hospital, a fellowship I should say. So she's just finishing her one year fellowship and I. like in my head, like my crazy brain. I was like, oh my gosh, she's gonna go get, become a CG and come back and take my job,
[00:02:20] That's if she would ever do that. But that's not interesting. I'm so it, thank you for sharing that . Cause I think that is a really relevant and real fear for a lot of people. Yeah. Yeah. So when I saw your thing in June on like Facebook or something, I started like following some of your videos and I thought, I can't do that.
[00:02:42] It's so much money. But I thought, but it's like, It's a guidepost, it's a guideline, and then there's another one that virtual hand, there's another one too. Yeah. That's a year long or six months or whatever you wanna make it. Yeah. But I felt like watching those videos, it looked like every c HJ I've ever [00:03:00] met.
[00:03:00] Not snooty, but , just like their brain is this big and mine is only this big . Yeah. So I was very intimidating. I'm like, I. Oh, no, I can't do that. But you just seem just more like down to earth okay, I, I could be, maybe I could do this with her. And so when I you had suggested I wait till May because you felt like you should do the whole six months.
[00:03:21] And I thought, you know what? I, in my head, I'm just gonna go for November and Just try it and see what happens. And I studied, like I just lived in my bedroom for three months, , but I had been studying like, before that too. Yes. So it wasn't like I just did three months, but I had been studying a lot before that, but I just thought, I'm just gonna take it now and then I'll take it again in May.
[00:03:43] And like you had said, you would go over like areas that you could study more and focus on. . And like you said, you kept saying, don't put pressure on yourself. Don't like people that don't do well when they feel like I have to do it this time. Yeah. So I remember, like I said, so many [00:04:00] like novenas and prayers and rosaries, to keep me calm, but I just remember like when I went in to do it, all these little things kept.
[00:04:09] It was so bizarre. Like when I got there, my login didn't work. Oh, and then you're embarrassed because they're bringing people in to try to figure it out. But all these other people are trying to take your test so you feel like you're disturbing them. . And then and then they finally figured it out.
[00:04:23] And then . There's something else weird that happened. Oh. And then my phone kept going off, but I had left it out in the front. So they came in is this your phone? Can you come out and turn it off? And I'm like, oh my gosh, where did I leave it? , all these weird things. And I'm just like, okay, just be calm.
[00:04:39] Just take the test. And I like, I was like, if a proctor was watching us, I'm sure they were, but my arms were like this and I'm doing all these crazy things. . Yeah. But I'm like, that's what they told us to do. Your arms are your cheat sheet. What tie your hands behind your back while you take the test?
[00:04:58] No, your arms are [00:05:00] your cheat sheet. But I just felt like when I finished, I thought that's weird because there wasn't anything on the test that was completely foreign like I had never heard before where before I started, like with your course, I also did the A S H T one. There's like a video.
[00:05:19] Book. So I was doing both at the same time, which is like insane , but but I felt like. , like everything, like nothing was completely foreign that I could just like rule in and rule out what was the right answer. And so that, and I think that helped too to critically think what's the right answer, what's the best answer?
[00:05:39] And were you on the study calls, were you on the Saturday study classes? Yes. Yeah. Yeah, those were really good too, because at first, the first one I was like we just spent an hour and we went through eight questions. This is not gonna work. . But that I didn't understand the process, but then I was like, oh, okay so [00:06:00] now and it was so funny because she would always say, okay, she would always say, but sometimes she'd say, this is a really hard question. It's really complete. Does everybody take. Should take a deep breath. And I'd be I swear almost every question I'm like, take a deep breath,
[00:06:18] common my brain to not explode. So all those things just help to keep me focused. And I, like I, when I was at work, they sent out the email. There. And I was like, I can't look at this here. Cause there probably didn't pass, that was my thought. And I thought, you know what?
[00:06:38] You already know. You probably didn't pass. Just look at it \ so you checked it and then what happened? Oh wait, I checked it and and I would say the, what? This said, I passed and I'm like the, and I started shaking, like I was just, What , and so I walked onto the hallway. we have this, we have a new supervisor now, and it's a guide before the girl that signed off on [00:07:00] my, that I had enough hours and I told her, I'm like, you can never ask me about this again.
[00:07:04] I'm gonna do it sometime, but I'm not telling you one. I'm not talking about it. She was like, okay, Colleen, but you're be ok. So she is gone. So now I have this guy, but I kinda know him, but I walk in his office and I hand my phone. I'm like, read this and tell me what it says. And so he's reading and he.
[00:07:21] Oh, this is good. Kelly. Why are you crying? Why? Why? What's wrong? He like, oh, hold on. I don't know how to deal with women crying.
[00:07:37] I was like, Floored that I had passed and I still like, he'd say can we tell people? Can I start telling people? And I'm like, no. Can I get my certificate first? I told like a couple of my people in my clinic, you're like, I dunno if I believe this, I have it sent to me. Then somebody said, they're like, oh, I saw your name on.
[00:07:59] Like the [00:08:00] Facebook paste that, that posts all the names of the people that passed. And I was like, really? But was there, I should probably look . And I'm like, ok, so that's two things. And so he's ok, you have two things. Can we start telling people, I'm like, he's, I need to start telling people like, just can I certificate
[00:08:20] So that took forever to come. But I told some people, before that, . Yeah. I just kept thinking like they were gonna say oops, we made an error. Like you made pass . You did the work, right? Yeah. Yeah. You really did the work and kudos to you. My recommendations usually come, I'm just not pulling stuff outta my ass.
[00:08:40] Like my recommendations come from what you tell me and what's possible. I have these series of questions and that's where the recommendation was. We can take this long. , we can also shoot for it at this time. But it might not be enough, so don't put that kind of pressure on yourself.
[00:08:57] So let me ask you, because, [00:09:00] because of the type of premium program and the price of my program people do take other programs before they even take mine. . So they'll take other programs and find that there's some missing pieces or, they're just, they still feel like they're, they don't have enough.
[00:09:18] . And what would you say. is the biggest difference that kind of sealed the deal for you, that made you feel it was possible to take the exam? Because like you said, you took it earlier cuz you're like, I'm ready. What was it about the program that helped you feel that way? I think it was just like um, just following that timeline and having that structure.
[00:09:41] And so I just thought okay, so you've just studied like really hard for three months. And even if, I think, even if I didn't feel like I was ready, I think in my brain I was still just you're just gonna take it and this, and then see where you have to like study more. Because if you wait till May and then say you don't do [00:10:00] well, now you gotta wait till November.
[00:10:01] So in my head, I'm just gonna take it now and then whatever areas I need to improve should show on the test or something like that. Yeah. But I think it was I needed that structure because anytime, like before this, anytime it would, if you went on the A S H T T website, it was just like, look at read all these books.
[00:10:23] and that's not gonna work for me. And I don't work in like a hand clinic and I didn't have a mentor to, help me. And yeah, so there was just a ton of gaps and I can't just read a bunch of books. So I think it was very helpful to have a set timeline. We're gonna focus on this and then we're gonna focus on this.
[00:10:39] And then the videos really help so that, cause it's like, , not just reading, you're seeing what you're, and you're practicing and writing on yourself and, yeah. It was just, I think it was all those things, really helped all the strategies, like Yeah. Yeah. All the, basically the curriculum of the program along with which is, has the built-in structure [00:11:00] to it helped you to feel more confident and more.
[00:11:04] And just like fill in those gaps of knowledge and help you feel more prepared to take it earlier than later. Yeah. And I like, I haven't taken a, like a test like that, like I said, in, in 30 years. And even back then, they didn't really talk about test taking strategies or Yeah. Anything like that.
[00:11:22] And like the, that a s h T one, that's it's like a bunch of videos. They didn't really, I don't think they really talked about test taking strategies or, anything like that. It was good information. Yeah. And but I think it was very helpful to have those strategies, yeah. Yeah. One thing that I hear from other people is the inability, like a lot of these other programs that are available, they're literally just regurgitating stuff from the book. But really at the end of the day, one of the things that I try to do and it's important that is built in, into the program that I've created, is the ability to critically think through and [00:12:00] connect all of the information.
[00:12:01] , connect all the information so you can apply it, because at the end of the day, you are treating the patient right. And when you reverse engineer, I do this in the treatment room. , but I might not fully understand why I'm doing it, why I chose to do that versus something else.
[00:12:18] And so if I don't understand that fully, it's hard for me to explain it to them, hard to, for me to explain to the doctor or the referring sources. But now you have that understanding . And so you can either, you can work backwards and get to that information or from that information you can make decisions about what to do.
[00:12:36] Would you say? Yeah. Yep. All right, perfect. Awesome. So one of the questions you said that you you said that you've been a therapist for 30 years , and didn't ever think that this was a possibility for you. I have so many therapists who think. , you have to be young. [00:13:00] You have to be with no children.
[00:13:02] You have to be early on in your career to become a certified hand therapist. And that somehow as we get older, we don't have the capacity in our brain to study and take the exam. And for me, I don't think that it's true. , look how smart some of the older people are that are still doing so much.
[00:13:24] . So we have the capacity to do it no matter how many years, how, no matter how old we are. And I think that it really just takes a certain commitment to the process. Yeah. The commitment to the journey right Outside of the fear of losing your job.
[00:13:41] What was your driving factor to not allow age to, stop you from achieving a career goal? I . Like occasionally we would get scripts from doctors, like surgeons, and it would say c h t, so then we would have to call and I'd have to talk to the doctor, say, I'm not a C ht, but I'm gonna follow this [00:14:00] protocol.
[00:14:00] And I have worked with a, like a flexor tendon repair before, and So then I felt like I was here to say I think I'm pretty sure I can do this, and and the patient would wanna come here because, they, the other clinic was too far or Right. Something like that.
[00:14:12] I, it drove me crazy like having to turn people away when I knew I could see them, I knew I could treat them. Yeah. And it's not like I didn't know anything, and Yeah. But it still It does make me nervous. If I was to be working in a, like a full, like your clinic where you're getting all these walk-in surgeries, I feel like I need a day to look up and say oh, okay, I have this tomorrow I'm gonna read up on the protocol and see what I have to do.
[00:14:37] And it doesn't, it's not just all the protocols in my head. , I know my therapist has it hard. Huh? . Yeah. Yeah.
[00:14:45] But yeah, you didn't want, you didn't wanna keep explaining yourself. Yeah. Yeah. And I just want, I just kept nagging at me, oh, he would say oh, you should totally do it. You're smart enough and you can do it. And, but I didn't believe it myself. And I had [00:15:00] to shut my brain after that.
[00:15:01] What made you believe, what made you believe in yourself? Because you studied regardless. I don't know, maybe I just in the back of my mind, I had a, like a feeling that I could do it, but but my brain kept telling me you couldn't do it. . Yeah. I know it's a fight, right? The devil and the angel.
[00:15:17] Yeah. And I feel like I have, I'm like, even now, like I feel like I'm like a baby CT . I'm like, I just got started . I dunno, everyth. But I think I have that imposter syndrome too, that a lot of people struggle with that. I just always feel like I'm never good enough and I don't know enough.
[00:15:34] And so I don't know, enough, I always think, when it comes imposter, like I think imposter is someone who's lying. Yeah. Are you lying? No, that's exactly. Are it's like it's a thing that you have to tr you have to, in a way trick your brain because the part of the brain [00:16:00] that always leads with the negative, it's like the devil that always thinks that things are bad and things are wrong.
[00:16:05] That part of the brain, Is strong because it's a protective mechanism. Yeah. Think about compensatory patterns, right? How fast does that come and how fast do they develop those? Patterns. It's because your body. is always trying to protect itself, right? So is your brain. So your brain is always constantly protecting itself from to keep you safe, to keep right.
[00:16:36] You the ego, the person safe. And so that part of the brain is just, it's stronger, it's easier. So the other part of your brain, that's the real you. Knows what is actually true. . But it, I that, that does make sense, . Yeah. So it never thought about it. Yeah. So it, yeah, it's, you have to like that part of your brain has to be like, no I'm [00:17:00] safe.
[00:17:00] , I'm safe, I'm good. Nothing can harm me because I'm not lying. . , right? So whenever you feel like, oh my god, I don't know as much as other per or I don't know enough. No, enough cuz you're , you're never lying and we can't know everything. But do you work in a hospital?
[00:17:20] Yeah, it's attached to a hospital. It's an outpatient clinic, so we work, I used to work in a hospital, remember jco? Did you have Uhhuh? ? Yeah, we have Jacob. Yeah. Yeah. . I hate Jacob. I know, but you know how you know stuff. But when JCO comes around, everyone's like shitting in their pants. Yes. Cause you don't want someone to catch you lying.
[00:17:43] So what do they train you to say? When Jo JCO comes? I know the answer, but let me double check to confirm. Yeah, that's true. . So that's the part of your brain that not everyone is like really [00:18:00] quick. Like for example, I can't do math in my head. , I can do math. I got a calculator.
[00:18:06] I know how to work that, but I'm never like, fast with my brain in terms of that. , I'm not fast with like the, one of the reasons why I don't do quizzes in my program is because that's not how the test tests you. But I'm not good with quizzes. I don't need you to pop up in my face all of a sudden one day and be like, do you know?
[00:18:27] What is that? Yeah, don't just shut me down. That would shut me down. I don't, I dunno the answer. So that's like this fight or flight, but stuff, but it's the way that the information is coming at you that makes you pull back. So if you always go yeah, I know, but you know what, just before I confirm with you, let me get a few minutes.
[00:18:48] and then I'll get back to you. , that's how Jacob is. That's how Yeah. When you want. Just, sometimes we just need a little bit of time. Like I, I can shoot off a hip from other ways. Like I can take a concept and I [00:19:00] could take something complex and make it really simple. So that's just my gift.
[00:19:04] , that's like unique to me, but I can't rattle off like trivia to save my life, . Yeah. So how welcome you are. , that's your awareness and just understanding that, saying no, it's not that you have imposs, so SY syndrome in the sense that I'm not lying. , I just , let me get a few minutes, gather my thoughts and my perspective, my opinion for you, and I'll, I'll come back.
[00:19:28] I'll come back and tell you once I've gathered my thoughts, right? Yeah. Because you know how to take plus tendon, you know how to do, a hand, a wrist and a, like you, cuz a joint is a joint, you know how to do it. It's just sometimes you just holds, gimme a minute because you're a thoughtful, intentional person. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. , yeah. Most therapists I know are not liar. No, we're like, so we care about the patients more than they care about themselves at the time, but to me, I'm kinda like, you're not an imposter cuz you're not [00:20:00] lying.
[00:20:00] Yeah. So it's just a, it's a way of reframing it. To always know that my intention is there and it's good. . Yeah. Yeah. That's a different way of, I never thought about it like that before . Cause my brain's saying you don't know enough . Yeah. No we're not supposed to know it all.
[00:20:17] That's what the internet's for. . Yeah. . We're not, we're, we shouldn't know everything. One of the things I would say about becoming a certified hand therapist isn't just about getting the letters. It is, but. , it's about that commitment to constantly learn and develop yourself.
[00:20:33] . And when you see progress in your career and in what you're doing, it keeps it exciting. And it keeps you wanting to work. And that's really one way of preventing burnout. The, healthcare fatigue, all these like catch phrases that people are putting labels to, they're solutions to them, but problems are always more a [00:21:00] clickbait, like problems always get more attention than solutions.
[00:21:04] . So those are the words. But if we focus and we say, oh, I am doing, things to further myself along, I am always improving year upon year and learning more every single time, then, it's worth it. , yeah. So has g has getting to see she changed anything for you?
[00:21:23] No, not, I don't think so. Really? I don't , I dunno. I have my little pen on my badge anyway. ? Yeah. Yeah. I'm like, I saw more things differently. I got three more letters behind my name. Do you is all electronic and so it like, I don't know if I can. I guess I should see if I can change my signature on the electronic form because it, they all just say OTT T and oh my God, girl, I, Colleen.
[00:21:51] You better get on that and redo your signature. I dunno if I, I guess I'll have to find out how you do that. Cause I've not seen I've never seen [00:22:00] anybody's that says anything different than like OT or pt. Oh girl. I'll have to find out. . Yeah, your signature. Your signature changes.
[00:22:08] They just have to add a comma and a C and a h and a T. And that's. . Yeah. But yeah, our signatures, we sign our things and then it's just an electronic image and then it gets embedded in our, oh, okay. Thing. So I don't know if it does for you, but Yeah. Cuz we don't like physically sign it. Oh no. Just automatically sign.
[00:22:27] Yeah. It's just done. Submit. Yeah. Because even like with my, cause I'm a certified lymphedema therapist too, those initials aren't even. So I guess I'm putting that on. I should probably put, see if they can put those in too. . Oh my gosh. Yeah. . Yeah. Have you gone and marketed yourself to some of the surgeons so you don't have to explain things and you can just say, I'm a C H T.
[00:22:51] Is that your patients? . Yeah I haven't yet because I've been like so busy at work, , so I guess when I have some downtime, I'll have to do that. Can you get rid of some of [00:23:00] your non. Hand therapy are, you don't have to become a UD C H T and be like, I only treat for attendance . I'm the only therapist, I'm the only OT in my clinic.
[00:23:11] So I don't think I can really get rid of any, cause anyone have enough patients, unless I suddenly get a bunch of hand patients. But you're like, sorry, I gotta make space. I gotta make space for this crush injury , awesome. Oh. But yeah, it's good. And then I al we also hired. A brand new therapist who's in the outpatient clinic.
[00:23:31] So I've mentoring her over the past year too. so I was like, geez, that, that was another reason too. I was like, I should, I have to go, I have to do this because like I'm supposed to be mentoring her , and you're like, I wanna know what I'm saying. For real.
[00:23:45] Yeah. . That's awesome. That's so great. Yeah. I know that. that time and money, your time to be in the program, your money to commit to the program is a big ask, right? , it's a big [00:24:00] ask people, that's all they have is time and money have you felt that the program re the program is, was worth it for you?
[00:24:09] Yeah. Yeah. Cause it's, like I said, it. . Like you were saying, if you were to take a college class or something, it would, probably cost like that much anyway, and you probably wouldn't even get that much out of it. Yeah. And there's not any classes, yeah. That's the thing too, is there's not anything, there's not any very many like this even.
[00:24:27] Yeah. Fellowships cost like 12 to $15,000. Yeah, the but you don't even get your C H D. Yeah, the OT that's doing it from our clinic. She didn't have to pay, but she had to take a pay cut. in order to do it. So paying. Yeah. So you're paying, yeah, basically. Yeah. So cuz she was like, yeah, it's a lot less money, but it's a really good experience.
[00:24:51] And I was thinking, but it's, I find it odd, like they're paying her less, but she technically right now is the last one because they have [00:25:00] to save money to build some building or something like that. at u. Yeah. So it's, but it's tough. It's tough out there right now in the business market. So however you need to make yourself more marketable.
[00:25:14] Is how, because if you're not growing and you're not doing more, then you're dying. , then you're backsliding. Congratulations again for . Doing the hard work. Yeah. Really doing the hard work. And, really just getting it done. It takes a lot of bravery and commitment on your part to, to do it.
[00:25:32] Congratulations. Yeah. Thank you, . All right. Awesome. Alright, I'll I'll edit and do some stuff with this but we'll share it because I think a lot of people needed to hear that. It doesn't matter how old. . . So I get that question a lot. Yeah. You it's a lot to study though. There's another therapist at the, another clinic and she's Yeah.
[00:25:52] A couple years younger than me. Yeah. And she, last year, she's another person that she's we're gonna do this, Colleen. And I'm like, okay. So I [00:26:00] kept going. She was like, yeah maybe I'll do it in May. . Yeah. It's a lot. It's a lot. But in the end it's, it's worth it because, , the way I see it is when something is easy, everyone's doing it, and then no one values it.
[00:26:12] When you put your work, you put hard effort and work to it, like , there's pride in there that not everyone can do it, and but you did it right. Yeah. And Yeah, it wasn't easy. It was hard, but it's not supposed to be easy. Yeah. It's not supposed to be easy.
[00:26:29] Cuz if it was easy, nobody would want it. Yeah. Yeah. Just like a sniff. Sorry for all the sniff people. . But working in a sniff is easy here, but hard on your body. Nobody wants it. . , not nobody, but you know what I mean. Yeah. Yeah. I'm glad I found your program and I appreciate all your hard work and I don't know how you make all these videos
[00:26:49] Cause there's a lot, it's a lot work. It's a lot of it's, people think it's easy going online. It's a lot of work. You see the inside part, it's a lot of work. Yeah. But I love it. It gives [00:27:00] me great joy. Yeah. I can't imagine doing anything else, , it's been a blessing, all right.
[00:27:04] Thank you. Were there, , were there? I'm sorry. Were there were there others that, from our like little cohort that, that passed it in November too? Oh my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. That's good. For sure. Yeah. Cause we never really talked to each other, like in a group, so I didn't really feel like I knew them.
[00:27:22] Yeah. I was like, oh, I hope they all passed. Some groups talk to each other a lot and then some groups don't talk to anybody. It's really interesting. Yeah. It's just whoever is in there. , I always encourage, like one of the other past years they, they talked to there were tons of study clusters.
[00:27:38] , and I think this last one, not too many people got together, but the way I see it is you have to find something that works for you. There is no time to waste, to be nice and say, oh, I'll still work with your, or study with you when it doesn't work for you. . Yeah. Sometimes people say, oh, I wanna study with you, but then they're not [00:28:00] studying and then you come and they want you to teach them. You're like, I thought we were studying together. I didn't know I was supposed to study and then somehow drag you along cuz you didn't study and you weren't prepared. So we can have a back and forth where you're challenging me and I'm challenging you. Yeah.
[00:28:18] So it's important to have the right, the right people studying with . . Yeah. So that's why there's the live calls. So you see people, you might not have questions, but other people will have questions that you didn't think of and, but you get the benefit of those questions, you get the benefit of those questions.
[00:28:32] You get the benefit of those answers, right? And then when we go onto the study group calls, like everyone is there too. And then it's okay, how do you think through the question? Because it's not about getting the question it's about understanding why you got it right and understanding why you got it wrong.
[00:28:44] . Because if you're just all about let me get it right, then you'll never know what you don't know. . Yeah. So that's key. That's key. All right, Colleen, I gotta go. I gotta run someone else, but I really appreciate [00:29:00] you taking your time. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thanks again on the next call.
[00:29:05] Yeah. Okay. Bye.
[00:29:08] Hey, thanks for listening to Hoang's world podcast. If you are brand new to the hand therapy world, head over to my website, www . Hand therapy secrets.com, where you can get started with some of our free guides and paid programs for both OTs and PTs diving into the world of hand therapy. Or if you've been listening for a while watching on our YouTube channel and you think you could benefit from developing and moving your career further along in hand therapy, reach out to me and my team at info @ Hand therapy.secrets.com and tell us exactly what you're looking for, By the way, if you know someone who could benefit from today's show, please share.
[00:29:45] Thanks. See you on the next episode.