Sharon Grunow, OT, Director of Occupational Therapy at Bacharach
When Sharon Grunow selected small private Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, it wasn’t for the smell of cows some days or Hershey’s chocolate on others.
She did so with a purpose.
She wanted to become an occupational therapist. An aunt with multiple sclerosis had had occupational therapy, and Sharon liked the concept of getting people back to the “job of living everyday life”.
In August, Sharon will mark 41 years as an occupational therapist at Bacharach. “Only, it doesn’t even feel like 5 years,” she said.
Positive Staff Makes the Job Effortless
“I’ve enjoyed my career and employment at Bacharach. Getting up to go to work every day never felt like a burden. The OTs I have worked with for nearly 41 years have always been very positive and upbeat. Long timers and younger therapists have always been good co-workers and friends. They always worked together. My job has been made effortless because the staff has made it effortless.”
Early on in her career, Sharon talked about how different a typical length of stay was. “Those were wonderful rehab days. Patients sometimes stayed upwards of 6 months. You really got to know them. We had community outings. We used to video all our patients in those days, so we could show them how much progress they had made.”
“The early head injury days in my career are most memorable to me. I have 2 patients who stay in contact with me 35 years after the fact. One calls me and another one lives locally and if he sees me at Shoprite, he calls out ‘Sharon!’’
“I went back to school and earned my Master’s in Health Care Administration. It was offered through Central Michigan University. I either drove up to Fort Lee or down to Maryland to the Aberdeen Proving Ground for classes, 4 hours Friday night and all day Saturday.”
The Right Career Choice
Sharon is 100 percent satisfied with her career choice. “I really embraced rehab. The fact that Richard (CEO Richard Kathrins, Ph.D.) was a physical therapist before he became an administrator, gave me the sense that he understands and values the role of the clinician. Not just a numbers guy. Being the director has been a perfect fit for me. I can be a manager and use management skills and still treat patients if and when needed.”
“I was born and raised in Galloway. The only other job I have ever had was carrying irrigation pipe, cutting cabbage or bagging potatoes on my family’s vegetable farm. I would not trade either of my “jobs” for anything in the world. This is home. Bacharach has always been my home.”