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Where Do You Work? Teresa Hill

What's it like working in a medical setting? Read responses from Teresa Hill, a massage therapist at Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Teresa recently provided an in-depth tour of her working facility during the AMTA 2011 National Convention.

What types of education have aided in your success?
Upon completion of the required hours for licensing, I was involved with an internship program through a local cancer center where I worked on patients who were actively receiving chemotherapy. I have completed courses in myofascial release and manual lymphatic drainage. I have completed two hospital intensive courses with Gayle MacDonald at OHSU, which were integral in developing a deeper level of knowledge of the oncology and medical community. I have also volunteered with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Portland.

My patients, however, have taught me things that no classroom ever could. They have taught me a level of compassion and tolerance that I would not have learned anywhere but from them.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The medical setting can be extremely unpredictable. My patients' health and reactions to treatment can fluctuate day-to-day. So, my job requires a high level of flexibility and patience in addition to extensive knowledge of and appropriate use of universal precautions. Not always, but at times, gloves, gowns, and masks are required.

What are the challenges?
My greatest challenge, however, is body mechanics. Working around hospital beds, medical equipment, IVs, nurses and more can sometimes create a less than desirable work space. Learning to navigate can get tricky. All of that being said, I wouldn't trade my job for anything in the world. I love the impact that the palliative care I am able to give has on people. I am able to ease pain, nausea and anxiety in a group of people who are at times literally fighting for their lives. I find it an honor that they would allow me into their fragile world to try and make a difference. My patients have made me a better person.

How has your involvement in AMTA helped your career?
AMTA keeps me motivated. It is such a valuable resource for ideas, professional connections, continuing education and support. I feel AMTA takes an interest in “me” and cares that I am not only successful in my profession, but happy as well.

›› More about working in medical and health care-related settings.

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Chris B., AMTA member since 2012

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