What led you to become and occupational therapist?
I initially was interested in mental health in high school and my first year of college. I was intrigued with the challenge of psychology and helping people, but that all changed after my own grandfather had a stroke. I was exposed to occupational therapy through his rehab process and I discovered that OT combined physical disability and mental health/cognition. Right then and there, I knew OT was for me. The very next year, I changed universities so I could be more involved and submerge myself in a health science-focused school. I applied and was accepted into the first transitional Master's OT class at the University of North Dakota. I love being an occupational therapist and it was one of the best choices I made!
You can read all about my OT journey and inspiration here- www.seniorsflourish.com/about
What type of setting do you currently work in?
I currently work in a variety of settings. I now work PRN for a few local rehab companies and am also an independent contractor providing private occupational therapy services to a local nursing home and clients.
I also run SeniorsFlourish.com, which is a website (and future membership site!) for geriatric OT's helping them be the best clinicians they can be.
Describe what a typical day on the job looks like for you?
I work PRN clinically, so if it is a day I am working, I am running around in the morning trying to get everyone in my house fed (I have a 3 year old and 2 year old twins!), sneak in a shower and get ready to leave the house.
I go in to the clinic, check out my schedule for the day, read up on current progress notes and evaluations, talk to the other therapists about my patients and am off to complete my visits. As someone who fills in, the challenge is getting all the information I need to treat my patients timely as each time I work, there are patients at different stages of their rehab process. I typically work on my website whenever I get the time - early mornings before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. It is definitely a challenge getting quality content together, as well as working on social media, developing and growing my website, all while connecting with my readers, but I find it very fulfilling and a great way to promote our profession.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in the occupational therapy profession?
The first thing to think about when considering OT is to make sure the person has a desire to help others. I would recommend shadowing occupational therapists in all sorts of settings - schools, hospitals, nursing homes or even community-based settings to get a feel for what the typical day is like.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to continue to work clinically PRN and have challenged myself to really develop and grow my website. I will also be educating others through presentations and clinical mentoring.
What is your favorite thing about being an occupational therapist?
My absolute favorite thing about being an occupational therapist is that I truly believe that we can change lives. I love helping others and it fuels my soul.
Quote to live by?
For my thought-provoking side: When was the last time you did something for the first time?
For my fun side: Outta my way world. I've got my sassy pants on today.