My OT Journey Into Professional Practice
Throughout my entire life I would consider myself as someone who is caring and compassionate. Caring for others has always been something I loved doing. Being the oldest child of three, I began my role as a big sister at three years old and I have always taken pride in helping my mom with my siblings and being there for them when they needed me most. Growing up I always changed my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up, like most children do. But, as I began high school and really began thinking about a career I began leaning towards the healthcare field. My cousin living in Virginia is an occupational therapist and I had the opportunity to shadow her for a couple days. She worked within a hospital setting and I was fortunate enough to see the positive impact and role an occupational therapist can have with individuals.
After shadowing my cousin I knew occupational therapy was the field I would enjoy being a part of. When researching and learning more about the field, I began to fall more in love with the profession and the passion that occupational therapists have to help others live a more independent and efficient lifestyle. What I love about the profession of occupational therapy is that there is an opportunity to work across a variety of different settings (i.e.., outpatient, acute care, schools, birth to three etc.) and utilize a wide range of strategies that can be tailored to each client’s specific needs. I truly am blessed to be on this journey, heading into professional practice within the field of occupational therapy. Being able to work with clients and assist them in achieving their goals within areas of occupations that are the most meaningful to them and the roles they hold is truly something special.
I have always had an interest in working with the geriatric population. Volunteering with my undergraduate university at a senior center allowed me to expand my perspective to how others view the world and live their life to the fullest. I was fortunate enough to hear stories and receive advice from the residents at the senior center, while assisting them in engaging in a weekly bingo session. Being able to spend time with these residents while engaging in one of their meaningful activities is something I will be forever grateful for.
With that being said, I have also had an interest in working with the pediatric community as well. I am currently finishing up my last week at Building Blocks Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services in Westport, Connecticut. I truly cannot begin to describe how grateful I am for the children and families I have met and for my wonderful supervisor, Justine Bedocs and all she has taught me along the way. While here at Building Blocks for 12 weeks I have not only seen my clients grow, but I have also seen growth within myself. Starting off week one, I couldn’t have been more nervous and stressed out about creating treatment plans, writing notes, and scoring assessments. Justine guided me through the first couple weeks allowing me to get acclimated to the setting and grasp a handle on the basics. As the weeks went on, I slowly began gaining more confidence and experience with the experience that made me anxious in the beginning. I was able to watch my first full evaluation, practicing scoring assessments with Justine’s help, and write treatment session summary notes. With Justine’s guidance and recommendations as well as her confidence in me before I knew it, I was completing entire evaluations on my own, scoring assessments and completing evaluation reports write-ups.
Throughout my time at Building Blocks I experienced the opportunity to meet the most amazing children and families, who have helped me grow on my journey into professional practice. Taking each child’s strengths and interests and incorporating that into play for each individualized treatment session has emphasized even more to me just how important play is as an occupation for children. Through play I have been able to see the clients grow in their confidence and abilities within a variety of different skills areas (fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, social skills, and ADL’s to name a few)! I am extremely grateful for the memories made here at Building Blocks and for the wonderful individuals that I got to meet and help along the way. I am excited to continue to use the knowledge and confidence that I have acquired over the past 12 weeks, throughout the rest of my journey into professional practice.
Sacred Heart University, MSOT 2023