My Occupational Therapy Journey into Professional Practice:
My journey into occupational therapy practice began while attending undergraduate school at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where I majored in public health and minored in psychology. I always knew I wanted to work in the healthcare profession. My school often had career fairs in which students had the opportunity to learn about different career paths and different graduate programs. Through these career fairs, I learned about occupational therapy. I decided to complete research on my own about occupational therapy and decided it would be best to gain observation experience to learn more about the profession. I had an amazing opportunity in the summer of 2019 to observe a pediatric occupational therapist in the outpatient setting once a week for five hours in Boston, Massachusetts. Throughout this experience, I observed the passion that occupational therapists have to help individuals throughout their lifespan gain independence in the activities that are most meaningful to them. This solidified my decision to purse occupational therapy as a career path.
I attended the occupational therapy graduate program at Sacred Heart University, in Fairfield, CT. My first semester included introductory classes such as functional anatomy & neuroscience, human conditions across the lifespan, and introduction to occupational therapy. My second semester was my mental health-based semester where my courses revolved around learning about occupational therapy in the mental health setting. The third semester was my adult and geriatric semester where I had labs, simulations, and a variety of other hands-on experiences. My fourth semester was my pediatric and adolescent semester, in which I had the opportunity to utilize the sensory integration lab to learn all about pediatric occupational therapy.
After completing my academic courses, I completed two different clinical rotations for 12 weeks in two different settings. My first clinical rotation was at a skilled nursing facility in Danbury, CT. In this setting, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of people with different diagnoses including, parkinson’s disease, CVA, multiple sclerosis, and dementia. The main goal of this setting is to help patients become as independent as possible with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. I also worked on therapeutic exercises and using modalities such as e-stim and diathermy. These interventions allowed my patients to gain as much independence as possible so they could return to their home environment.
My current clinical rotation is at Building Blocks Pediatric Occupational Therapy in Westport, CT. I am in my final week at Building Blocks, and I am so grateful for the amazing opportunity I have had over the last twelve weeks. With the help of my amazing supervisor, Justine Bedocs, I have learned so much regarding pediatric occupational therapy. Throughout the last twelve weeks, I have seen my patients grow as well as myself as a therapist. Starting out in week one, I was very nervous about completing assessments, write-ups, and creating treatment plans. As the weeks went on, and, with the help of Justine, I gained confidence in my abilities to complete assessments/evaluations, write-ups, and treatment plans. Now that it is week twelve, I am completely independent in completing these tasks and I have gained an enormous amount of confidence in my ability to do so.
I am truly grateful for the amazing families and children that I have had the opportunity to work with throughout the last three months and who have allowed me to grow in the areas of professional practice. I also am so thankful for my amazing supervisor, Justine Bedocs, who helped facilitate my confidence with my journey into professional practice. I am excited to continue to expand my knowledge in professional practice and further everything I have learned from Building Blocks with me throughout my professional journey.
With much love,