There was a question and answer panel with a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) at the Great Lake Recreational Therapy Student Conference.
I was very pleased to be one of the CTRS on this panel.
I heard there were over 100 students present! What a great bunch of enthusiastic people! I validated to them that the fact that they made it to this event. Most of the people I met were from Indiana or Michigan.
Other CTRS on the panel included: Shawn Geise, Jake Newhand, Brittany Hook, Kaitlyn Smith, Tommy Means, and Lori Schwyer.
Those CTRS are great people. They worked in various different fields and I was so happy and pleased to be on stage with them and to hear their experiences. One woman (and I regret to say I can't recall who) provides services for people with traumatic brain injury. I told her that I am a CTRS, but I would not feel fully competent working in that position. She told me she had worked in mental health before switching. She informed the audience that we can and do get harmed by clients in mental health, which I agreed is true.
Jared Allsop (conference co-chair) lecturer at Indiana University had called on student hands in the audience. They asked questions and the CTRS answered!
I can’t recall the exact questions asked. I wish I would have had a student to write them down.
Some questions I vaguely recall some of the questions.
Should you take an internship in an area you want to work or reach out and try something different to broaden your horizons?
I disagreed with one of the other CTRS on this one. I suggested go for the area you want to get more of a focus/ experience in an expertise area. I also suggested being open-minded to at least trying out other jobs when you’re ready to get hired. Why? I did my training mostly with elderly and seniors in skilled nursing (internship) and rehabilitation hospital (practicum), and even a nursing home (practicum). My first job offer was in mental/ behavioral health working with children and teens. I took the job and I’ve worked there since August 2002.
What do you look for in an intern for your facility?
My answers: passion, interest, eager to learn, well-groomed/ appropriate to work in a hospital setting, and easy-going. willing to grow and learn. I informed them that they will make mistakes (as well all have).
· What do you like most about your job?
Seeing kids grow and change and become successful. Of course, I let them know there are a lot of work place stressors to be prepared for that as well.
Where do you get new updates and information?
My answer: being a member of our professional association (ATRA) and reading.
Does a Master's degree help?
I may have been the only CTRS with a master’s degree on the panel. I’m not sure. I don’t recall any members strongly advocating for getting a master’s degree. I argued that many of our professional colleagues in social worker, physical therapy, mental health counselling, occupational therapy are the process or have already moved their entry-level as having a Master’s degree.
Based on my understanding, the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) had created the specialty certification certificates to help increase the number of CTRS with a graduate level degree.
How do you get a new intervention at your facility?
My answer: if you’re working at a facility that does not offer an activity-based treatment intervention, then you could ask someone who is trained and experienced to come and give a presentation. That individual could help provide resources and connections to help your facility to open up a program.
Feel free to Ask Danny questions and he’ll post them at his blog for others to read as well.