When Maria Nevelgas joined her course to become an Occupational Therapist, she didn’t think that there will come a point where she will feel like she is not working at all. To get the full picture, Maria has been working for seven days straight for years and only recently cut down to a five-day workweek. She says she loves every minute of working as an Early Intervention therapist, so she calls it passion rather than a job.
Growing up in the Philippines, Maria was not the one to choose her career path. Graduating high school in 2001 signaled it was time for Maria’s parents to say what she was to become. With a father a doctor and a mother a phlebotomist, they wanted her to be in healthcare too. A Physical Therapist made it to the top of the options. “Two of my older brothers were physical therapists who have since been sponsored to America. When they heard my parents have the same in mind for me, they advised us that there are better opportunities for Occupational Therapists in the States. To be honest, I said yes and went after it but had not the slightest idea as to what I was getting into.”
Maria was sponsored to the United States by a company that offered her a clinic job at an outpatient facility. That is where she kept on hearing about neck pain, shoulder pain, backpain and sciatica playing up. After six years, Maria was offered a job for several days a week at a school. She decided to split up her days between the elder and younger population, noticing her innate feeling for children where you see so much progress on the day to day.
All this time, Maria was completely unaware of the possibility of working as an occupational therapist through the Early Intervention Program.
Maria Speaks: “In 2014 I gave birth to my youngest and third son who was a most darling little baby. When he turned two and was showing some symptoms and not meeting his milestones, it struck us that something may be wrong. A visit to the doctor confirmed our hunch that our sweetheart of a son is on the autism spectrum. Our son was going to need a lot of help. As a parent of a special needs child, I was first introduced to the Early Intervention Program. When the therapists were coming to my home and we were making some conversation, they told me all about the program from the therapist angle. They explained what working with homecare early intervention patients from 0-3 years entails. Blah. Blah. Blah. It sounded great, like something I would really enjoy. But frankly, I knew it will not work for me. I was not driving at that time. I worked with the school age children, and it looked like that is where I will remain.
My son’s therapists brought the opportunity to my door. They referred me to work with twin homecare patients, a seven-minute walk from home. I grabbed the chance. It was the first time I was doing the homecare and it was love from the first minute. That made me realize how stagnant my work in the clinic has been with the same daily routine, always tackling the identical issues. In homecare, every day is a new story where you can try different approaches. Each home you visit is a unique job where you need to use skill and common sense to know how to address your patients. It is also rewarding to hear the feedback from the parents and follow the progress live.”
Maria slowly transitioned to work solely for the school and homecare. For several years, she worked with a number of agencies, but all the cases were too far from her zip code. Though she accepted the work, it was frustrating. Google helped Maria when she searched an agency and got to see our White Glove raving reviews describing the unparalleled experience that therapists enjoy here.
“What I love about White Glove is how shall I put it? Everything. The onboarding was a breeze. Literally, I made my first call on Friday to apply and by Monday I could join a virtual orientation/training. Within the week, my schedule was filled with cases. Guess what, all of them in my zip code. I appreciate the flexibility, accommodation, and outstanding staff who are always here to facilitate the technical aspects of the job so I can focus on doing what I love.”
Maria works Monday through Friday every weak and gives her weekends to spend time with her children. Her oldest is college age and has another year to decide where his career is headed. Maria is trying to convince him to be an Occupational Therapist too, where you can leave a significant impact on your patients while enjoying what you are doing. Join the White Glove Early Intervention team for an all-inclusive experience and fall in love with your career.