What is your role at UPHS – Marquette? I am a Recreational Therapist on the Adult Behavioral Health Unit at UP Health System – Marquette.
What was your inspiration for getting into healthcare? My degree field is very holistic, taking in the whole person’s physical, mental, and emotional self through the use of recreation. I started working at a hospital in Oklahoma after graduating from Oklahoma State University. I loved meeting people and learning more about their stories. I feel I should use my career to serve as best I can. I worked in Oklahoma for 17 years before moving to the UP. My mom greatly supported me in my chosen career, and I have a scholarship in her name through Oklahoma State University.
What’s a typical day like for you? What is it like working in this field? Every day is different on the Behavioral Health Unit. We start with a morning meeting, then assessments, then we see patients both in groups and individually. It can be challenging, but I love to look for ideas for new activities, finding ways to better connect everyone through crafts, mindfulness, physical activity, music and more. I do my best to treat everyone the way I would want to be treated.
How long have you been employed here? Have you always been in the same position? I have worked here at UP Health System – Marquette for 7 years total, 2 years in PRN status and 5 years in full-time status.
What are some of the big changes you have experienced in this position? There are several: first is the big move to this new, beautiful hospital campus. We also have modified what we do and how we see patients, limited the number of patients in group sessions, and we’re wearing masks at all times.
What are some of your interests outside of work? What is your favorite local gem? I spend as much time as I can landscaping, making art and being creating, walking, seeing new places, and hanging out with my husband and our pets. Just being around forests and Lake Superior is good for the soul.
When COVID-19 hit, a friend in Oklahoma and I started playing a new game: I travel the UP to towns alphabetically from A to Z and she does the same in Oklahoma, sharing photos in all the different locations with each other. That way, we can travel together in a way — it’s been fun.
What do you enjoy most about working at UPHS – Marquette? I love my coworkers from the rehab team and the Behavioral Health Unit, as well as the patients I spend most of my day with. I feel respected, heard, and appreciated, and that means so much to me.