An old classmate of mine called me last week and asked my opinion about a situation he experienced at work. I'd like to describe what happened, and ask you for your input, advice or what you've experienced.
At my friend's clinic, two therapists are staffed on Sundays. My friend was one, and a 5-month pregnant coworker was the other therapist on staff that day. The pregnant therapist kindly asked my friend if he would consider taking all of the max-assist patients from her caseload in exchange for all the supervision/min-assist patients for herself. My friend was agreeable to her plan and was understanding that she wasn't feeling up to working with heavier workloads on that day. However, at the end of the day my friend was exhausted. With 12 treatment sessions of mod and max-assist patients, he had worked harder than most days.
What's the optimal solution here? If the coworker asked for help with their caseload for whatever the reason, should it be expected that the second therapist take on those physically difficult patients? There is always give-and-take with our coworkers; whether for max assist patients or to see a vestibular patient when our "Hallpike-Dix" skills are rusty. In a career based on helping others reach their goals, it is imperative that we work as teammates in the therapy department instead of an every-man-for-himself approach.
One answer is to utilize aide staff during those treatment sessions. The other option would be to dove-tail PT/OT sessions so the therapists could work together for transfers or other heavy mobility pieces, but still maintain separate treatment sessions.
What have you done in these situations? What is the best way to address our own needs as therapists, but still provide successful treatments to patients?