We sat down with Work Options’ Ashrit Kaur to chat about her role as Senior Rehabilitation Counsellor before she went on maternity leave to welcome new family member Viraj.
Ashrit graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (major in Psychology and Neuro-anatomy) and a Masters in Rehabilitation Counselling and joined Work Options in early 2019.
Ashrit, can you tell us about your role as a Senior Rehabilitation Counsellor?
My role focuses on working with people who are injured both physically and psychologically at work and require workplace rehabilitation and guidance to get back on track.
This is done by getting to know the client, completing formal assessments, agreeing on a return to work goal, speaking with their doctors and treatment providers on how to manage the injury, providing ongoing emotional support, and acting as a communication medium between all parties involved in their claim. This process continues until a desirable outcome is achieved.
What do you enjoy about the role?
I enjoy inspiring my fellow consultants to stay positive and to achieve good outcomes with their clients. I enjoy building rapport with clients and inspiring them to change their lives for the better.
In 2020, I relished in the role of Employee Assistance Program Counsellor. Through counselling sessions, I help clients to develop the skills to help them make better decisions.
I enjoy the versatility of the role, no one day is ever the same; you learn so much from the large range of stakeholders we get to communicate with from surgeons, to lawyers, to injury management advisors, client family members, and managers of great businesses.
What are the challenges in the role?
The challenge I face in the role is accepting the fact that not every case is guaranteed a win, a good outcome, and most of the time this is out of our control due to limits on allowable services.
Some cases come with a large number of barriers that stop us from progressing a claim forward and we have to ensure that our communication with all stakeholders is consistent in addressing why a claim is particularly difficult.
It is also a challenge to become involved too late in a claim when the client has already started navigating the claims system on their own. We know that once rehabilitation becomes involved, the client is not alone and can navigate the system more easily, which guarantees a better outcome.
Describe the three qualities a Rehabilitation Counsellor requires for the role to be achieved?
- Being holistic – it’s important to see a case as a whole, including all parties involved and ensuring that no party is being favoured. Be neutral and of course have the client’s best interest at heart including their whole body, emotions, and psycho-social situation.
- Communication – Rehabilitation Counsellors must excel at this, we must keep all parties i.e. the agent, employer, doctor, treatment providers, client on the same page and updated. We must speak with them regularly and always have a plan in place to move forward.
- Time management – this is crucial for our role. We can work with 20 to 30 clients and/or customers at once which means there are many individual people with their unique situation and expectations of monthly progression. It’s a busy, fast-paced job but the job satisfaction is high.
What do you see as the challenges for an injured worker or worker’s compensation claim returning into their original workplace and role?
Challenges arising from worker’s going back to their pre-injury employer include;
- The employer not understanding how an injury can impact a person, the employer not maintaining communication with the client, the employer not being able to provide suitable duties.
- The worker being traumatised about the accident and not willing to accept going back to where they were injured, the worker not feeling supported by the workplace to come back, the worker being in too much pain that they feel they need to be ‘fixed’ before going back.
- The employer and worker not accepting mediation services from a third party, i.e. rehabilitation provider.
- The treating doctor and treatment providers believing that it’s not possible to return to the previous workplace, role, and being highly patient-focused.
- The agent not getting rehabilitation providers involved fast enough to possibly prevent this from happening.
What’s great about working for Work Options?
The support I receive from my manager and the team, we have a great group of professional rehabilitation consultants. The fast-paced role of juggling multiple cases provides me with a high job satisfaction. I enjoy bonding time with my work colleagues to ensure that our mental health is in check to provide the best service.
Ashrit, your role is about to change with the new arrival of your baby, what are you looking forward to in this new chapter in your life?
I am honestly looking forward to meeting the human being that’s been growing in me for 9 months and giving the bub all the love and care that he needs. I’m as curious as to what it’ll be like having another family member chilling in our apartment and learning about babies and being a parent!
The team at Work Options looks forward to Ashrit returning in 2022.