One of my favorite occupations is reading. In my spare time, there are few things I find as comforting as curling up with a good non-textbook book in one hand and maybe a warm latte in the other. Keep on reading to hear about some of my recent reads with OT themes…
After completing the adult rehabilitation immersion, I found myself intrigued by first-hand accounts of people living with physical disabilities. During the summer, I read “Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, whose story has now become a widely-viewed TED talk. As a neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill provides a unique perspective of her cognitive impairments in real time while she experiences a stroke herself. The book details the cerebrovascular accident itself, as well as her long path to recovery.
In addition to exploring non-fiction, I have become a fan of novels that capture the disability or different-ability experience. Jodi Picoult has been a long-time favorite of mine, as her books cover controversial and profound topics. She evidently devotes a great deal of effort to researching the conditions and situations presented in her novels. Her books have covered a range of illnesses and disabilities that OTs may be interested in, from pediatric leukemia and organ donation in My Sister’s Keeper, to osteogenesis imperfecta in Handle with Care, to Asperger’s Syndrome in House Rules. Similarly, Lisa Genova has found a niche within the disability fiction genre. So far, I have read Left Neglected about the effects of a traumatic brain injury. I also read Love Anthony, which involves a story about autism, among other emotional themes. Both authors have discussed the extensive research necessary to accurately write about different conditions and the effects they may have.
One of my ultimate goals is to be a lifelong learner. I find reading to be one way to constantly continue learning—outside the classroom walls, beyond graduation. Both non-fiction and fiction books are capable of presenting disabilities and life circumstances through new perspectives. The more we consume the words of others, the better we are able to construct our own thoughts. The better we construct our thoughts, the more effectively we serve clients. I definitely believe the best way to open your mind is to open the cover and start flipping those pages!
Greetings! Hola! Bonjour! Ciao! 你好! Today we locally, nationally, and internationally celebrate our wonderful profession and all of the work that we do! Fight on!
This past week was what we like to call fieldwork week. With each immersion (adult rehabilitation, pediatrics, and mental health), there is an accompanying level I fieldwork in that practice area. Normally we only go one day a week for the full day, but last week we did not have class and only went to fieldwork. Level I fieldwork is a great opportunity to observe and maybe apply skills we learned in class to the OT real world.
I am in adult rehab this semester and my fieldwork placement is in an outpatient hands clinic. I have been learning about different conditions and interventions related to the upper extremities. We have seen many different prefabricated splints and exercises commonly seen in hand therapy. We enjoyed learning about the benefits of different physical agent modality (PAM) techniques, including paraffin wax, which I can now say from personal experience that it feels great.
This week in class, we are learning all about PAMs and hand therapy! In lab, we were able to try all of the different techniques I see in the clinic and read about the different diagnoses I have become familiar with. We even made our own splints! I have a much greater appreciation for the work that hand therapists do.
“Why did you want to go to USC?” this was a question I would get a lot while I was working on my application. I never really knew what to say except “why not USC?” Now having experienced the MA-1 program for myself I have come up with a short summary of why I love USC and I would like to share them with you.
USC has been a cornerstone for research and development in the field occupational therapy. Theories such as Sensory Integration, Lifestyle redesign, and occupational science took root in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.
2. The Trojan Family:
USC is home to some of the most recognized minds in the field of occupational therapy, many of whom are faculty members who teach classes at USC. The faculty members have expertise in their own practice areas, mainly in the fields of research, education, and clinical practice. USC OSOT also hosts a Global Initiatives project. The Global initiatives project aims to enhance the profession of occupational therapy on a global scale.
“#CareerGoals” is what my friends back home would say when we do things that help us achieve our goals. Having practiced occupational therapy for about a year, I was able to reflect how I wanted to structure my practice. I want to specialize in the field of neurorehabilitation and acute care settings. My long-term goal would be to complete my Doctorate degree (OTD) for advanced clinical practice or clinical research in neurorehabilitation.
USC plays an integral role in helping me achieve my career goals, I cannot imagine me taking my master’s program anywhere else. No regrets here! I hope you will consider working towards your #Careergoals and have USC help you in achieving them.
Beyond clinical work, a huge part of being an OT revolves around advocacy—both for the profession and for the populations OTs serve. This past Saturday, I attended NAMI Walks, a fundraiser and awareness-raiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Not only was it a great way to spend a morning with my classmates and professors, it was also an opportunity to see how our actions extend beyond the classroom. Overall, NAMI raised over $385,000 which will be put toward breaking down the stigma of mental illness.
There are plenty of outreach opportunities available to breach the divide between classroom and community. Next week, I will attend a NAMI group to experience the support system firsthand. Through fieldwork, fundraisers, and class assignments, the program and faculty encourage students to open their minds to these new experiences and open their eyes to what exists outside of textbooks. Throughout school, I believe it is essential to keep in mind why you are studying all of this content, consider the people you want to help. Don’t wait until graduation to get out there!
USC OTs Fight On for NAMI!