How did you first hear about occupational therapy, and when did you know it was meant for you?
I first heard of OT when I was a junior in college at Indiana University. I had originally wanted to get my MSW (Master of Social Work), but I discovered OT in a google search. I decided to shadow a local occupational therapist who was working in pediatrics and I fell in LOVE! I knew immediately it was for me and have never looked back!
What type of settings have you worked in?
I have worked in the hospital, home health and skilled nursing facility settings. My first job was in a large hospital in NYC working on a Traumatic Brain Injury unit. I currently live in Washington, DC and work in the home health and skilled nursing facility settings.
I also recently received my Low Vision Rehabilitation Graduate Certificate from UAB (Mary Warren's program) which is such an AWESOME program. I use what I have learned from that program in EVERY setting!
What is Clinitote and what led you to design it?
Clinitote is my business that I recently launched in June of this year. I design high-end medical bags with multiple compartments to fit our most important clinical tools. We use a very high quality nylon that is extremely durable and washable, and each bag comes with two over-the-door hooks. If you are treating in a client's room, these hooks allow you to hang the bag over the door, some chairs and drawers.
When I came up with the idea for Clinitote, I was working at a large skilled nursing facility in Washington, DC. It was 5 floors, and I was constantly forgetting things in the gym which was located on the first floor. I knew I needed a bag to keep myself organized and productive throughout the day. The only problem is that there wasn't a bag on the market that was functional AND fashionable. So, I decided to make one myself. I sent out about 200 surveys to colleagues, school mates, and other healthcare friends and designed the bag based on their responses to those surveys. These bags are truly made FOR clinicians!
Did you face many challenges through the design/creative process?
YES! I am not a designer by training and did not consider myself a particularly creative person, so creating the first sketches proved challenging. Luckily, a friend of mine introduced me to a handbag designer who has helped me every step of the way. She helped me to put my design into a tech pack (the blueprint of how to make the bag for the manufacturer), introduced me to my manufacturer, and so much more! It took me three years to get my product to market, and I could not have done it without the help of my family and friends!
Describe what a typical day on the job looks like for you now that you have Clinitote.
It is very busy! I am still working full time as an OT, and I work on Clinitote when I get home in the evening and throughout the day commuting between home health.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in creating their own product or starting their own company?
My best advice is to do your research! Make sure you learn as much as you can about the industry you're entering into, target market, product development, etc.
Also, if money is your biggest reason for not pursuing your idea, please don't let that stop you! There are more avenues for financing these days, such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, equity crowdfunding, etc. However, borrowing from family and friends if possible is better than borrowing from the bank.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In my heart of hearts, I hope that Clinitote has become the #1 medical bag company in the US by that time. I hope to create more bags and more products for clinicians. This has been such a fun and crazy experience for me, and I only hope that it gets better.
What is your favorite thing about being an occupational therapist?
I love meeting and talking to people from all walks of life, especially the geriatric population. I love being part of someone's recovery story. Sometimes when I tell people that I work at a SNF (which most people call a "nursing home"), they tell me that it must be so sad and depressing. But I feel the opposite. I feel that I see more hope and happiness than I do sadness. As occupational therapists, we are with our clients during some of their most vulnerable and trying times and to be able to help people through those times is what is most special to me.
Quote to live by?
I know this is more of a poem than a quote, but it is my favorite:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you don't have an idea that materializes and changes a person's life, then what have you got? You have talk, research, telephone calls, meetings, but you don't have a change in the community.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver
1. AFOS, Walking, and Cerebral Palsy-
2. Where to Go with an OT Degree?: OT Certifications and Specialties-
3. Universal Design Makes Homes Accessible and Pleasing-
4. What Every New Grad OT Ought to Know About the Low Vision Certification- newgradoccupationaltherapy.com
ON HEART OF OT THIS MONTH.
In the past few years podcasts have increased in popularity. With topics ranging from fashion to health to gardening, they are a great way to pass the time. I personally have been enjoying listening to podcasts on my daily commute or while completing chores around the house. I love soaking in new information during mundane tasks- it automatically makes me feel more productive. Of course, my favorite topic to listen to is occupational therapy. I have been pleasantly surprised and excited that occupational therapy is making its presence known in the podcast world. Below are some of my favorite OT podcasts. I commend these awesome therapists for putting in the work to create such great resources.
Do you already listen to an OT podcast? Comment below, which podcast you enjoy most.
Share below what are some things you did not expect when becoming an occupational therapist. I would love to know!
About 6 months ago I started working PRN at a hospital, and though I was excited about my new endeavor. I quickly realized there was a learning curve. Making the transition from a pediatric clinic to an acute care setting brought on new challenges and gave me a new perspective on the way I approach treatments/evaluations. Acute care patients have recently had a significant change in their health, therefore to make sure we as therapists are providing the best care possible we have to consider multiple factors. This type of setting is often fast paced with an emphasis on productivity, leaving a lot of room for clinician error. As I developed my own style in this environment I created this guide in order to streamline my evaluation process. It is very easy for me to get side tracked during patient interviews, having this guide in front of me definitely helps me gather information I deem important in order to create the best treatment plan for the patient.
Download the acute care evaluation guide by clicking below:
Self-awareness is an important trait for practitioners to possess. A good OT is aware of their strengths, their weaknesses, and is always willing to build upon their knowledge. Only this way can we be certain that we are providing the best care possible for our clients. It is very easy to fall into an everyday routine were we develop goals and provide interventions without truly understand the why behind it. Remember, just because something has been done a certain way for a long time- does not make it the best way to do it.
I would say that about every 6-months I enter a period which I have lovingly termed “career crisis”, where I feel I am not growing my knowledge as a practitioner. I go down this rabbit hole of searching for information about all the things “I do not know”. Quite frankly it is an anxiety-inducing event that leaves me feeling overwhelmed, and without a clue on what to do next.
This time around I created this Professional Self-Assessment Form to help organize my thoughts, identify my areas of weaknesses, and come up with a plan for tackling my professional goals. This form was designed as a companion to the NBCOT Navigator Self-Assessment Tool. I found this tool to be a helpful resource for establishing my level of competency across different domains, and specific practice areas. If you have not tried it yet, I definitely recommend you check it out.
Download the Professional Self-Assessment Form by clicking below:
*I would love to hear if this form was useful to you, and what self-assessment tools you use to advance your competency as a practitioner.
When performing a pediatric evaluation, things can get hectic. Children are unpredictable and more often than not, plans quickly change. During my first year as an occupational therapist I created this document to help guide and streamline my evaluation process. It has definitely been a handy resource that I use in my everyday practice. I have decided to turn it into a downloadable file in order to share it with other occupational therapists who are looking for a similar guide. I hope it comes in handy, and please feel free to share!
Correcting a student’s grasp on a writing utensil can be a tricky endeavor. Each child is different and presents with different needs. Pencil grips are a handy tool often used by occupational therapists to help with this issue. Pencil grips can be used as a training tool or as an adaptation. Out on the market there is currently a large variety of grips that can be purchased. As many OTs do, I have a few favorites that I love to use with my students. Though, I am always on the hunt for new and improved models.
Today I would like to share with you the WriteRight pencil grip. I first saw this grip at AOTA earlier this year and was eager to test it out with my students. I was sent all three sizes by the company in order to review them, and I must say that I would definitely recommend this product. My students have found it fun to use and really enjoy its cool shape. This grip does a great job promoting a tripod grasp while still providing comfort (each finger has a place). The material is durable, comfortable, and easy to clean. I also love that the pencil that comes with the grip is mechanical making it easy to work on different skills with my students such as graded pressure. The grip can also be transferred to another regular full-sized pencil if that is something you would prefer. To read more about the WriterRight pencil grip make sure to click the following link ------- thewriteright.com
I was given this product to review by the Erin Condren team. However, all
opinions expressed on this post are my own.
I would like to share the Erin Condren hourly LifePlanner. As a life long planner user, you can say that I have tried quite a fair share of planners. Different styles, formats, sizes, and price ranges. Once I started working as an OT practitioner I struggled to find a format that worked for me. On a daily basis I need to schedule clients while still having room to note down important events/dates. This is why when Erin Condren developed the hourly LifePlanner, I knew I had to try it. This planner fits my needs by providing me with a daily hourly breakdown of my day in a format that is simple, clean, and way more stylish than your regular appointment book.
The Erin Condren team was nice enough to send me the planner to try out along with a several other goodies. I was ecstatic when I received the beautifully designed box in the mail. At first glance this planner is gorgeous! The gold rings stand out and the quality of the pages are well worth it. They are definitely thicker than most planners out there. After using the planner for a few weeks- I would love for it to have more space available to write down notes and to do's but, other than that I would definitely recommend it. I love having the entire week spread out where it is easy for me to glance at my schedule to see what I have coming up.
I also love that each day has lines, it helps keep my writing organized and the aesthetic clean. The monthly tabs are laminated which is a plus because they will last twice as long this way. I do not have to worry when traveling with the planner inside my therapy bag.
*To receive $10 off your first Erin Condren order make sure to use the referral link below: