OTSH 68: Travel Therapy as a School-Based OT with Devon Breithart, OTR/L

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Welcome to the show notes for the Episode 68 of the OT School House Podcast.

In this episode we are highlighting travel opportunities as an occupational therapy practitioner, but that's not all. We will start this conversation by discussing what you need to know if you are looking into a travel therapy position as an employee for a 3rd party company. But we are also going to discus with Devon how she used a coaching model during the pandemic and what she learned from this.

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OTSH Podcast Episode 68
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Jayson Davies & Devon Breithart

Amazing Narrator 00:01

Hello and welcome to the OT schoolhouse podcast, your source for school based occupational therapy tips, interviews and professional development. Now to get the conversation started, here's your host, Jayson Davies. Class is officially in session.

Jayson Davies 00:18

Hey everyone, and welcome to Episode 68 of OT schoolhouse podcast. My name is Jayson, it hasn't changed, I swear it will always be Jayson. And thank you so much for being here today. I'm excited to have you joining me. It has just been a great day, a great week, a great month at the OT School House. And I am just super excited. And I know many of you have actually shared that excitement with me because you've been emailing me and letting me know. And I just love those all of those messages of kindness of appreciation. It has just been a great time here at the OT School House. So I really do appreciate you taking a moment to listen today. Today we do have on a very special guest by the name of Devon bright heart and she is going to kind of give us all the details on what it is like to be a travel therapist. And she's also going to share with us a little bit about what she has learned throughout the last year of the pandemic and how she developed a coaching model to use during teletherapy services. Before we dive into the interview, though, I actually want to share some great news and that is that the Back To School Conference being held in August is now officially an AOTA approved course good for 11 hours, meaning that you will get a certificate if you are registered and attend for 11 hours toward your recertification or your state re licensure. This is going to be an amazing conference. I cannot wait it is 100% virtual, but it's also 100% live in the sense that everyone the presenters and myself included will be presenting live for you to interact with I cannot wait for it. Some of the amazing presenters that will be joining us for the Back To School Conference include Dr. Susan Bazyk who will be talking about her RTI program every moment counts. Olivia Martinez-Hauge, who was on the podcast a few episodes ago talking about sensory and stress, we are going to continue to build off that discussion that we had and go so much further. And another presenter that I would like to highlight right now is Meg Proctor. She is from learnplaythrive.com, and she will be discussing strategies for kids with autism. So you do not want to miss out on these presenters and more we have discussions on assistive technology and so much more. You can learn all about the conference at otschoolhouse.com/conferenc And also be sure to register now, early bird pricing is going to end at the end of April, the price will increase. So OT month is here we're gonna get through t month and then the price will increase so be sure to check it out. Now. Again, you can find all the details at otschoolhouse.com/conference With that, let's go ahead and jump into our interview. We have Devon Breithart, talking about what it's like to be a travel therapist and a little bit about a coaching model in the times of COVID and how she's going to now bring that forward as kids start to return back to school. So without any further ado, here is Devon Brethart. Hey, Devon, welcome to the OT School House podcast. How are you doing today?

Devon Breithart 03:19

I'm good. I'm really excited to be here.

Jayson Davies 03:21

Yeah. And I'm excited to get to know you as well. We've been getting to know each other a little bit over social media. But I'm excited to have you here on the podcast. So today we're going to talk about travel therapy. But why don't we go ahead and start off with maybe how you became an occupational therapist. What drove you to this profession?

Devon Breithart 03:38

Yeah, so I feel like I have a different story than a lot of the other OTS I've met. Because I didn't actually know what OT was until I was looking at colleges. I never had any family members who received it growing up, it was just a profession that, like the rest of the world I was blissfully unaware of until I was doing college visits. And I actually thought I wanted to be an art therapist because I really liked art. And I also really liked psychology and I knew I wanted to do something kind of in the healthcare field. So I started looking for programs near me that offered art therapy and went on this great college visit to one was touring the campus enjoying myself. And then, you know, the person leading the tour was like, oh, what are you thinking about majoring in? And I was like, Oh, I heard you guys have an art therapy program. He's like, well, we don't. I was like, Oh, he said, but we do have an occupational therapy program. And I said, well, what's occupational therapy? And then he told me, and I was like, Oh, well, that's it. That's what I'm gonna be. It's funny just made sense. Yeah.

Jayson Davies 04:39

So were you a big artist growing up in

Devon Breithart 04:43

bits and pieces, you're in there. So I won't talk too much about this because I don't want to be like too down on myself. I was friends with a lot of really talented artists, like much more talented artists than me in high school. So I took a lot of art classes and it took a few painting classes in college too. So I wouldn't say I'm like, talented. And even now I'm like, I'm not doing any art on a regular basis anymore. But it was it was a big part of my life for a while there.

Jayson Davies 05:08

Yeah, it's always fun hearing what OTS did before OT. Because I mean, yeah, I feel like a lot of people have done some form of art. I did actually film. So in high school, I did all animation. And then I took some film classes. And now I have a podcast, which allows me to kind of do some of that a little bit. Yeah, that's really cool. So let's go ahead and fast forward now a few years, what was OT life like the first few years after OT school?

Devon Breithart 05:33

Yeah. So as soon as I graduated, I knew I wanted to try to get into pediatrics that was always a place that had my heart, even in OT school. And even the jobs I held before I was done with OT school. So I just started applying to different pediatric outpatient clinics near where I was, and the one that I was really interested hired me like a month before I was set to like, fully graduate and be done. And that was great for a while. And then after a few years of that, I started feeling a little stagnant and a little bored. And I knew I needed to make some sort of change.

Jayson Davies 06:07

Gotcha. Okay. So then, what happened from there. So,

Devon Breithart 06:12

I had always been kind of interested in travel therapy, you know, when you first graduate from OT school, there's always like recruiters, you know, they'll be at events or little like, find your phone number or email address somehow. And they'll call you and offer you a job in Nebraska that you really don't want. But they're very certain that you do want to care about it, and they keep calling. So it's always been kind of in the back of my mind, I moved around a lot as a kid and grad school, like college, and then grad school was really the longest amount of time I'd spent in one city in a long time. And, you know, after a few years of working in the outpatient clinic, and doing some early intervention, I was like, you know what I'm going to, I'm going to do it, I'm going to try travel therapy, my partner had recently gotten a remote work job. So I was like, Oh, it's perfect timing, we can take this job anywhere, I'm getting a little stagnant at work. Let's do travel therapy, let's just see what it's like. And if we completely hate it, we can always just move back.

Jayson Davies 07:02

Okay, that makes more sense. Now, for some reason, in my head, I just always thought that you are a travel therapist from day one, but totally makes sense. Let's go ahead and kind of start with just a general overview. What does travel therapy even look like?

Devon Breithart 07:16

Yeah, so basically, you take short term travel contracts, that can be anywhere in the United States, there are some international contracts too. But those are way more complicated, and a whole other can of worms with Visas is in that process. So mostly, it's just contracts in the United States. But there'll be for different facilities that for one reason or another, have trouble finding a qualified ot. So that could be just due to like the geographic location, it could be just like a really rural area. It could be because there's no OT schools around the area of like, California is such a huge state. And there's only a few OT schools for the entire state, like out of all the states I've looked at California has like, the highest like OT to like citizen ratio of any of the states, which I think is interesting. And you know, it's just, it just depends on the reason why they're seeking an OT and why they haven't been able to find one through traditional means. But usually, it's something like that, where they've tried, and just due to geography or whatever other reasons, they haven't been able to find one.