Meet our Spotlight OT Entrepreneur… Bridget! She is a Geriatric Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, with experience in Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, COPD, CHF, CVA, TBI, Orthopedic injuries, UTI’s post-joint replacement surgery, cancer, PNA, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and many other diagnoses. Bridget is currently licensed and practicing in Virginia. Bridget plays an important role as a Geriatric OT serving the needs of patients and families on her caseload in a SNF. After 17 years of experience Bridget has begun her entrepreneurial journey as the new owner and CEO of Purpose Therapy Box. Continue reading below to learn about her entrepreneurial journey and advice for new Occupational Therapy Practitioners.
- What led you to pursue Occupational Therapy as a career?
I like my OT journey began different than others because I had not heard much of Occupational Therapy prior to college. I was in college pursuing a nursing career I had ran into an old friend who had just completed the OTA program, we began to talk about her getting ready to graduate and how passionate she was to start her OT journey and a spark lit up for me! I lined up some OT job shadowing and then I knew exactly what my calling was and that was the field of Occupational Therapy it lined up so well with my passion for life and helping others in the world feel and know their worth! After all the multiple injuries I had incurred throughout my years (I’ve always been the clumsy/accident prone child). I’ve had numerous injuries including fractured nose and crushed sinuses when my brother & I were sword fighting…lol, fractured coccyx twice, first time when my brother pushed me racing to get to the bus first on a cold winter morning and the black ice got me, second time when I was pregnant with my oldest son, fell backwards and couldn’t catch myself, and paralysis/paresis of R UE/LE for approximately a year due to again my little brother tripped me down the family home stairs. Needless to say, my brother and I have learnt new boundaries as adults, and we don’t push and fight anymore…lol!!! Also, my brother was younger than me!!! I knew with that experience first-hand that I had a way to help return people back to their healthiest and give them independence in their life as I knew a lot of the struggles they were dealing with every single day. From that point on, I have never looked back and fully invested myself into becoming the best occupational therapist that I could!
- What is your favorite thing about being an Occupational Therapist?
My favorite part of being a COTA/L is being the one that can be there for my patients when they achieve their goals that they have worked hard to get them back home where they want to be is a huge part of why I love my job! I enjoy building a rapport with my patients, so I get to know them and living in a small community I get opportunities to see them master reaching the top shelf at the grocery store or get out of the car on their own because they crossed my therapy path.
- What settings and populations do you have experience working with?
I’ve worked in Home Health, SNF/rehab facility and LTC most of my career, I have been in the same skilled nursing facility/long term care for 15 years beginning as PRN and working my way up to Full time. I have worked with all ages of patients from couple hours old to a 101 including during my clinicals and many diagnoses including those listed above however not limited to as in 17 years a therapist can see tons of diagnoses.
- What sparked your idea to start a side hustle?
I have always had a crafty side and I enjoy making stuff and being creative. I had researched how to start some kind of subscription box for a long time, but never could get it together something always came up to put the idea on the backburner and then one day on lunch at work I was looking on Facebook which is odd because I rarely get on there. And of course, there on the top of my feed I saw Holly’s post on an OT-side hustle group that I follow inquiring about selling the Purpose business and that was it, my reason for it not working out all those times before. I was super excited I messaged Holly immediately and we had several conversations and zoom calls and to this day I still message her in Ali often they have been amazing in this transition, they have helped me in ways that I couldn’t have been successful if I was learning alone.
- Explain what your business is for those that don’t know!
I hope all of you know what my business is but for those that don’t it’s called Purpose Therapy Box! I am so very thankful for Holly and Ali for building this business from the ground up and allowing me the opportunity to continue to build it! I firmly believe we all have a PURPOSE in this life and advocating for OT, connecting with other therapy squad peeps and designing awesome apparel and accessories for my fellow therapy squad will allow me to have more of an opportunity to advocate for the career that we love so dearly. I truly enjoy the opportunity and who knows where #taking a therapist centered approach will take us! I have tons of ideas and plans I am working on but in due time, I hope to not overwhelm myself, take my time, and build Purpose Therapy Box! I hope all love my new designs and that I can be a path of education and help for any therapist that needs help along the way!
- How long have you been in business?
I acquired the Purpose business in the middle of January 2022. I have been working behind the scenes while Holly & Ali have been amazing by helping me through every step of the way, they have taught me everything that they knew to help me to grow with the Purpose business I cannot say how grateful I am for them and their passion for OT and the geriatric population!
- What is one long term goal you have for your business?
I want to continue to build with Purpose Therapy Box and I would like to see it reach every therapist that needs encouragement to keep going because working through this pandemic has proven to be very difficult, for some it’s been more difficult than others and we’ve had the power to push through and it’s been a crucial part for our patients for us to have been able to hang in there. I can speak for the geriatric population at times we were all they had, especially when family had to visit through the windows and then some didn’t even come at all when they thought mom or dad couldn’t hear them so what was the point, and us knowing if they could’ve just seen them, it would have kept the fire burning in their heart to keep moving forward! As OT practitioners we are a huge part for our patients’ lives being their encouragers/cheerleaders so, Hey! Why not do it stylishly? I have ideas galore, including to open up more variations of OT therapy apparel to incorporate all the disciplines and I would like to add new lines for different therapy scopes of practice. If you have ideas or requests send me a DM on Instagram and I’ll see what I can do! I would also like to be a source of information to help upcoming and new grad OT practitioners, because I know not only our small children in schools have had trouble learning but you as adults in college through this pandemic you have had it tough too and I’m sure you didn’t get the learning opportunities as we did before the pandemic. We have to help each other learn what we can so we all can be the best therapist as we can be!
- What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?
Having enough time in the day & time management is such a huge part of our everyday productivity selves but we all know what it’s like to get lost on Pinterest, on our favorite blog, Etsy and Lord knows TikTok and that takes valuable time, but I am always looking for inspiration and ideas to help my other OT practitioners and to help me to grow in my OT practice. The most challenging part right now in the beginning is that it all relies on me to get it done and learning the social media aspect and balancing my work/life/entrepreneur balances! I want to be a super consistent blogger/Instagram content creator; however I’m just doing okay with managing my website and Etsy shop and making sure my customers are satisfied and that I put out great products.
- What is the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
Being a girl boss and knowing it’s my designs people want to rep OT. I enjoy getting reviews or notes from someone that ordered something from my shop. I enjoy seeing people learn from information and I plan to put more info out there when I finally figure out my work/life balances with a new side hustle in my life!
- What does a typical week look like for you?
I typically work 4-5 days a week at SNF, the hours vary depending on the case load typically work at least 6 1/2 to 7 hours a day. I commute 30 minutes to/from work! I take my youngest kid to school each morning on my way so we get more time together! I am 1 of 3 COTA/L’s in my facility. I have spent a lot of my time researching, seeking advice, and preparing for my new designs to launch. On the weekend I love to make memories with my son, we spend a lot of that time on the soccer fields, go camping with my in-laws and attend church !
- What advice do you have for Occupational Therapy Students or New Grads?
You should always be ready to learn something new every day! Know your worth and don’t be afraid to explore ideas! Find your niche, find what you’re good at! Be open minded because I felt for sure I would work in peds going through my clinicals however once going through my clinicals working in the school system, out-patient peds, in-patient peds, and the NICU as well as home health peds. I quickly realized I couldn’t handle all that came with work/home life managing kiddos and their difficulties navigating through this world because I was dealing with it at work and at home! I wasn’t able to work with peds, so I work in geriatrics and I love it! Geriatrics is my specialty, it’s my place, my spot in this little tiny world where God designed me to be! Me and my coworker plan to work together, retire together and be in wheelchairs in SNF together just so we can be best friends again over and over each day when we don’t know who the other is..lol
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