When a person suffers a debilitating injury or incurs a serious, long-term illness, the road to recovery can be long and wrought with adversity. Patients who must spend long periods of time recovering from these insults to the body require multiple kinds of care to get better. One such form is called "therapeutic recreation," which encourages patients to engage in fun activities in order to lift spirits, sharpen minds, and improve physical fitness, and those who aid patients in these recreational activities are called certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS).
The CTRS serves two primary roles: assistant and evaluator. There are dozens of activities in which certified therapeutic recreation specialists engage with patients, including music, botany, several kinds of exercise programs, activities involving animals, and group therapy sessions, all of which are planned and organized by this person with consultation from the particular patient's physicians. The CTRS will monitor the patient as they participate in these activities, charting their progress and using this information to further tailor the program to their needs.
The ideal candidate for this position is an outgoing, friendly person who has a strong drive to help those with serious injuries or illnesses. They must communicate well with both medical staff and patients and also possess good organizational skills. The position often consists of a variety of activities, and it is among the most fun and involving jobs in the medical field.
A Bachelor's degree in a discipline such as psychology or physiology is the minimum educational requirement in most cases. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offers the necessary certification, although some states may have additional eligibility or license requirements.
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) Tasks
Instruct patients in activities and techniques designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
Develop treatment plan with varied interventions based on assessment, interests and objectives of therapy.
Prepare and submit patients' reactions and progress reports, confer with treatment team.
Encourage patient with special needs and circumstances to acquire new skills and promote leisure activities.