Embrace Living with Rebecca Priest: Find Your Inner Batman

Rebecca Priest

Rebecca Priest

This may be my “nerdiest” posts yet … oh well!

This week, Colleen Curtin, an occupational therapist (OT) here at St. John’s, was talking to her team. She shared that she thought she’d be doing things differently here than she actually does. She came to St. John’s, in part, because we were so open to innovative thinking and unorthodox solutions. This, as I understand about the profession, is an OT’s dream.

Occupational Therapy, in my experience, is innovation and creative problem solving at its best. It’s about linking activities of the day that are meaningful to us with our abilities as human beings in various stages of life amid challenging situations. If we enjoy gardening, OT is about finding a way to be able to reach the garden bed and get back up again. If we love cooking, it’s about configuring our kitchen to create the highest likelihood of successful and safe meals—from the shopping to dicing and serving. If you love playing catch with your dog but had a mobility change, it’s about creating a way to continue that activity.

Being an OT is the most creative profession I’ve ever encountered. It’s like helping elders to be Batman by converging technology, the human body’s abilities, and mental strengthening, to ensure that we can continue to do what we love regardless of our functional changes. Colleen came into a team that trained her in the way they knew. Last week she shared that she wanted to challenge that, and wondered if it would be OK. Her team was 100% supportive. Bring on the ingenuity, Colleen!

I love to hear about people challenging our status quo in order to keep the elders’ experience and organizational brand characteristics at the core of what we do at St. John’s. Colleen wants to do something different for the elders she serves. I can’t encourage the OT group, or any of you, enough to do this.

While out with my mentor, Joyce, in the parking lot, this all came together when I saw this car (pictured below):

This car must have a really awesome owner who comes into St John’s each day to “bring the heat” and change society’s view of elderhood, one relationship at a time. I know of about 100 employees who live their professional lives at St. John’s in a way that makes St. John’s proud. They find a way to achieve success for elders in the face of real villains: excessive call-in’s, difficult-to-navigate institutional systems, physical limitations, etc.

It dawned on me that we are, or should all be, on a quest to be Batman. Batman knows how to look at the situation and figure out what resources he needs in order to save the city. Then, he finds, makes, or brings in people (Alfred, Robin, Commissioner Gordon) who can provide the resources, ingenuity, and energy he needs to achieve success.

SJH is not evil like Gotham City, but our elders and their families are often experiencing one of the most challenging times of their lives. And we have some forces of evil against us. Colleen is tapping into her inner Batman to help them. Are you?

Rebecca Priest,
Administrator of Skilled Nursing

The Dark Knight? Here?

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