April is National “Occupational Therapy Month.” This month is set aside to recognize the vital contributions occupational therapists (OTs) make to our success as a healthcare provider and, most importantly, in improving health and quality of life for our patients.
We recently sat down with Jeffery James, divisional director of clinical operations at LHC Group, for a short Q&A to get his perspective on the profession and why OTs should consider LHC Group as a home for their career aspirations.
For someone considering a career in OT, what are the most important things to know?
“Anyone choosing a career in OT should understand that it can be a tough job at times – but, in the end, the rewards are amazing. It is a truly incredible feeling to help a patient recover or improve from an illness or injury, or teach them how to compensate and regain independence. As an OT, the impact you have on someone often defies description. In addition to helping patients regain independence, we improve their safety, give them hope, and help them stay in their home – where they want to be. It’s an amazing profession, and I would recommend it to anyone with a heart for helping others help themselves.”
Why did you choose LHC Group as the place to build your career?
“I chose LHC Group because their values, mission, and purpose are in alignment with mine. All I’ve ever wanted to do is to help people, and that really is what this company is all about. Some of the best people I’ve ever worked with are here, and I’ve never been happier working anywhere else. My colleagues at LHC Group are so kind, so helpful, and so focused on taking great care of our patients. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
How is being an OT at LHC Group different from other options?
“At LHC Group, the support and resources our OTs have is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my career. One of the things that draws people to home health is autonomy as a clinician, but the downside can be too little support. At LHC Group, there is a wonderful balance – our clinicians have the autonomy they want, and also all the help they need to be successful in helping our patients improve.”
Talk about your personal journey to a leadership role at LHC Group.
“When I ended my enlistment in the Army in 1991, I was seeking a profession and found OT through a job I had as a rehab aide in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). I saw the impact the OT had on the residents there and I knew that was what I wanted to do. After graduating OT school at Towson University in 1996, I moved back to my hometown of Richlands, VA. I worked in the hospital there and in a local SNF, but quickly realized that my passion was home health. The residents of those communities in Southwest VA lacked resources, and I felt our home health services were vital to their well-being. Many of them couldn’t make it to their doctor’s offices or the local hospital, and often all they had were our home health services.
“After providing care in the field for about 11 years, I decided I wanted to make an even larger impact, so I went back to school to get my MHA. In 2009, I became the director of a phenomenal agency in my hometown while continuing to see patients who needed OT services. After two years in that role, I moved into a regional operations director role with LifePoint Hospitals based in Brentwood, TN. I moved to the Nashville area in 2012 and went to work for Community Health Systems in the same role, starting in 2013 before becoming a senior therapy director for them in 2014. In 2017, CHS joint ventured with Almost Family and then, in 2018, Almost Family merged with LHC Group – which is how I came to this awesome organization!”
LHC Group is honored to have Jeffery as a member of our team. The talents, unique skills, empathy, and dedication demonstrated by our nationwide team of OTs is a big reason we are growing and touching more lives than ever.
If you’re looking for a home for your career – one with a bright, positive outlook where you will feel valued, appreciated, and rewarded for the great work you do – we’d love to connect with you.