For Brian Bailkowski, to be a good occupational therapist (OT) you need to be a good problem solver.
“There are a lot of things that get in the way of my clients doing what they want and need to do,” says Bailkowski. “It is my job to help figure out what’s getting in the way, and how we can help get them back to the things they want and need to be doing.”
For the past six years Bailkowski has worked exclusively with the Community Mental Health and Addictions program in Dartmouth and Sackville. He is currently in Dartmouth in the role of part time OT and part-time Clinical Practice Leader for the clinic.
“Part of my job is clinical work which involves working one-to-one with clients and their families,” says Bailkowski. “The unique part of my job is my role as the Clinical Practice Leader. We have three clinics, and I am the first Occupational Therapist to hold the role.”
In the role Bailkowski is responsible for supporting the clinical work within the clinic, which includes planning of time for clinicians, helping with learning goals, and assisting with the more complicated situations that come up in practice.
“We work as a multi-disciplinary team, and I feel the OT brings a unique skill set and perspective to case discussions and work with clients,” says Bailkowski. “OTs are well trained to support individual clients, work with their families and also understand the environmental and systemic factors that get in the way of clients reaching their goals. We also bring a very strong understanding of functional impact of client’s difficulties.”
And that understanding means that they seek out those that need their help.
“I really feel that we are working towards supporting everyone who is looking for support. My team and program area are constantly working to try to reach out to under serviced populations and help them access the services they need.”
Bailkowski believes that there are still ways that OTs can use their skills to support clients, and that they must continue to advocate on behalf of the profession and the unique skill set that they bring to the table.
Because in the end it all comes down to problem solving.
“Every day is so different and presents new challenges and new situations. There is certainly no chance of becoming bored!”