A Day in the Life of… Bridget Burger

Senior Occupational Therapist (OT), Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street

I get up at 6.30am every morning. I walk, take the train and then walk again to get to work. It takes one hour from door to door.

The first thing I do when I get to work every day is sanitise my hands. I then have a preliminary plan in my diary for each day, but it is flexible enough to be adapted as new priorities come up. It is impossible for me to know exactly what a day will entail due to the nature of the acute hospital setting. Some sessions are scheduled in (such as out-patient appointments). However, new referrals to Occupational Therapy (OT) or advancements on current in-patient cases can come up unexpectedly.

I love that my job helps children function to the best of their ability in their current state; and takes into account what is meaningful and important to them personally. For example, a recent in-patient was frustrated that he was no longer able to put his scarf and hat on himself. I will never forget the smile on his face (and his mother’s) the day he showed me that he now could with improved range and strength.

The thing that I find most challenging about my job is addressing the misconceptions of what OT entails. It is my job to promote each child’s optimal functioning in all aspects of their lives and that can look very different in different cases.

I was really proud when I was offered my job in Temple Street and I try not to take this opportunity for granted.  To keep mind and body healthy, I enjoy walking and (leisurely) jogging. During the week, I try to cook a healthy dinner each evening with enough to be packed as lunch the following day. Over the weekends, we enjoy doing day trips and exploring the beautiful sights of Ireland.

I am motivated by the great sense of ‘possibility’ that I get as I walk up the stairs into the OT office each day. There is something very motivating in knowing that my interactions have the potential to facilitate a positive change in a child’s life and one that will help them to feel more in control and independent, whilst in hospital.

In order to relax and unwind when I get home from work on week days, I enjoy having a cup of coffee (probably with a biscuit) on the couch whilst watching the news. I also enjoy cooking dinner and catching up with my husband. Quiet times and prayer are important to me especially when the burdens of the day are heavy.

My colleagues in the OT Department make me laugh. We are currently a team of eight OTs in addition to Martina (OTA) and Ann (Admin). Despite being hard-working and focussed, we still like to have a good laugh to keep our spirits up.

The place I treasure most at Temple Street is the OT office. It may ‘just’ be an old porter cabin, but it is filled with the loveliest ladies who have made my transition into a new job (and a new country) a smooth journey. As a whole, I have experienced Temple Street to be a place where you don’t remain a stranger for long. Oh, let me not forget, one last thing whilst speaking of treasure – the Temple Street  Canteen’s scones are a treasured treat for me!