This week’s non-clinical spotlight features an OT who now works as Regional Clinical Director for Periscope!
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What is your full name and title at your current job?
Hilary Gans, MS, OTR/L, CAPS.
Regional Clinical Director at Periscope.
Where are you located?
Where did you go to OT school, and what year did you graduate?
Gannon University, 2002
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
I worked for a hospital system in outpatient and home health. I continued to work in home health and outpatient settings on a part time or PRN basis for several years, until my daughter was born in 2007. At that point, I went part-time in home care only, due to the flexibility.
I began feeling burned out in home health and decided to work on a PRN basis for our local health system. This allowed me to continue working in home health on a per-visit basis, as well as in outpatient therapy, treating adults and pediatric populations, and in an inpatient rehab setting.
During this time, I also dabbled in in-home school based therapy. I worked with kiddos who attend cyber school and were in need of occupational therapy services. I also began working with various companies in utilization review from home.
In 2017, I took a position as a part-time fieldwork coordinator. I was able to complete my role for the most part remotely and attended campus two to three times per month. I completed this job and continued the PRN work for the health system as well as intermittent utilization reviews and began to increase my role with Periscope.
I was very busy and became overwhelmed with all of my positions; however, in order to maintain what I needed to financially, and no guaranteed work (with the exception of the fieldwork coordinator position, which wasn’t enough to sustain our family), I let my bosses at Periscope know my interest in full time work.
Shortly after I found out that full time was an option with Periscope, I learned that my part time position as fieldwork coordinator would be eliminated due to the changes to the program and my lack of a doctorate degree. So, the timing was perfect and the full-time status allowed me to focus solely on one position, improving my work/life balance.
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
I enjoyed the variety of experience I received which made me more well-rounded and marketable.
At what point did you realize you wanted to do something non-clinical with your background, and why?
I had been looking for a non-clinical position since my daughter was born, over 15 years ago, and wanted to be at home more. I did some non-clinical work, which only grew my desire for a full time non-clinical position.
What are you doing these days?
I now work full-time for Periscope as Regional Clinical Director. My role is to train and guide therapists who complete the in-home assessments. I also am the second level reviewer to ensure the objectivity that our company is known for. I also act as the liaison between the therapist and the health plan and complete monthly online meetings.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
I will complete in-home assessments, in my area, or as needed due to an inability to obtain a local therapist to complete.
If you’re still treating patients, about what percentage of your time is spent clinically vs. non-clinically?
I work 90% of the time remotely. The additional 10% is spent traveling to complete meet and greets with our therapists throughout the country or completing in-person trainings as needed, as well as in-home assessments that are near me.
How long have you been in your current role?
I began working as a contracted therapist years ago (I actually forgot the official date because it was in my early years). I completed a hand full of assessments; however, the frequency in my area was not great and the client contract was then canceled.
The company owner reengaged with me due to a new contract in PA and I renewed my contractor contract with Periscope in early 2017.
Again, there was minimal work; however, due to my dedication and interest in the company, I was asked to have dinner when Jerry, the COO of Periscope, came to my area. We discussed other roles within the company, and I became the main reviewer in Pennsylvania in late 2018.
My duties continued to grow in 2019 and I officially became a full time, W2 employee in 2020.
How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
I do not recall how I originally connected with Periscope; however, that initial contact got me in their database. The rest of the time Periscope connected with me directly. (That goes to show that sometimes just putting oneself out there can be enough!)
Did you do anything special to your resume and cover letter to land the job?
I was sure to list the various types of work I had completed, even if it was minor, in order to show my versatility.
What was the interview like for the role?
It was mostly just a discussion. They always state that the role has to work for both parties, and not just Periscope.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into the Regional Clinical Director role?
I received my CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) certification in 2021. This certification has helped me tremendously with my responsibilities related to the worker’s compensation and home modification line of business within Periscope.
If you advanced through the company to get to where you are, what are some of the things you did to stand out, take initiative, and advance?
As I noted above, I wasn’t getting a lot of work with Periscope initially. However, due to my dedication and interest in the company, I was asked to have dinner with Jerry when he came to my area. We discussed other roles within the company and I became the main reviewer in Pennsylvania in late 2018.
My duties continued to grow in 2019 and I officially became a full-time, W2 employee at the beginning of 2020.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
Most people were jealous, and my husband was very supportive because he knows it is what I have always wanted. I often get asked if I miss patient interaction. The occasional in-home assessments allow me to get keep my clinical skills fresh.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time?
I spend a lot of time on my computer and phone, texting, emailing, and Zoom meetings on the computer. I complete daily reviews as they come in, as I need to have them turned in within 24 hours (sometimes less time). I respond to therapists as they have questions, which can be 7 days a week.
I do not have set hours or days as it is as the needs arise. I can work from anywhere that I have internet access. I often say the best and worst part of my job is that I have no schedule.
What are some of the challenges of being Regional Clinical Director? What are the rewards?
Some of the challenges are knowing that I don’t have any official “off” hours or days. However, the reward is the flexibility in that I can schedule meetings around my schedule most times.
How do you think working as an OT prepared you for this role? Which skills transferred?
I am using my OT skills daily, especially my home health skills, in order to determine medical necessity of DME and home adaptations, as well as various options to meet the members’ needs.
Roughly speaking, how are the hours and pay compared to patient care?
Periscope compensates therapists and staff well.
What type of person do you think would do well as a Regional Clinical Director?
You have to be organized, flexible, and hard working.
Do you work remotely or on-site?
I work remotely most of the time (except when I need to go to sites for training). The main Periscope office is in California; however, our staff and clinicians are throughout the country. I work from my home in PA—but I was informed when I took the Regional Clinical Director position that I can work from anywhere, as long as the work is completed.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles, and where can people find these job postings?
We mostly hire for clinical roles where you need a PT or OT license to complete the work; however, it is not a standard role. We complete a single in-home assessment and do not have a lot of paperwork and no follow up visits. It is not the “standard” clinical role. I would be happy to elaborate with individuals interested in hearing more.
Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?
What is next for you? What do you want to do with your career long-term?
I am excited to continue to learn and grow my duties within the company. God willing, I see myself retiring from Periscope.
What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a role like yours? Do you have any special words of wisdom for the readers?
Continue to put yourself out there, because you never know what opportunities can grow from what seems like a small role. Dedication goes a long way!
If you could give yourself one piece of career advice you wish you had during your OT program, what would it be?
Absorb as much as you can and don’t lock yourself into one area.
If you could teach anything to today’s graduate students in your profession, what would it be?
Work in a variety of settings and spend time in clinical roles to grow your resume and make you more marketable. So many new graduates want to obtain a non-clinical role right out of college.
Many non-clinical positions require you to reflect on your clinical experiences. Put your time in and the opportunities will open up.
Want to start your own non-clinical career, and need a helping hand?