People of KHSC: Sara FitzPatrick
Portraits of caring, compassion and commitment.
Many of the activities that are part of a daily routine - like going to the bathroom, getting dressed, or taking a shower- can be impacted by illness or injury and a subsequent hospital stay. That’s where occupational therapists like Sara FitzPatrick step in.
“Day to day our role is to assess a patient’s function and cognition to address any support they need, like equipment or pressure relief, while they are in the hospital. We also prepare them for a safe discharge home, whether that is to their own home with some extra help, a rehabilitation facility, a retirement home or otherwise,” she says. “We help identify what support people might need for the activities of daily living.
Hailing from Newfoundland, Sara joined KHSC in November of 2021 during the onset of the third wave of COVID-19. Sara jumped feet first into her new career, and new PPE, spending her first months on the job assessing patients on the Connell 3 COVID unit.
“I wasn’t surprised that I was working on the COVID unit, it’s just a lot more PPE. People are still people and they need help with things. If I have to put a couple more things on to help them that is not a big deal. Some people who were completely independent before now couldn’t stand for long enough to shower – these are things we all take for granted.”
Now slightly more seasoned, and having been exposed to occupational therapy cases across the entire organization, Sara credits the mentorship and support from her teammates as one of the things that has set her up for success and kept her coming back to work during the many different stressors brought on by the pandemic.
“Everyone was, and still is, busy,” she says. “Everyone was doing the work of more than one person, but the team still found time to answer my questions and mentor me or check in with me. I was so well supported even in such a challenging time which really speaks to the character of the people who work here.”
And if you have a hint of the iconic Newfoundland accent – whether you are a patient or a staff member – don’t be surprised if Sara strikes up a friendly conversation.
“I’m so pleasantly surprised by how many east coasters there are in this area,” she says.” It’s one of the things that makes KHSC feel even more like home.”