Student Ambassador Blog | Jessica P
Hello, it’s me again!
It has been quite some time since I last blogged as the summer student ambassador, but I am thrilled to begin blogging again and sharing my occupational therapy journey. The past year has been a whirlwind, starting the master’s curriculum and graduating with my bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy this May. I have previously talked about my experience falling in love with OT and why I chose USC, but after immersing myself in the master’s program I feel even more passionate and lucky to be able to pursue the profession I love.
Last fall, I began my OT grad school journey with the mental health immersion and I loved being exposed to areas of OT I had never seen before, such as in forensic mental health. At times, I felt overwhelmed by exams, quizzes, and projects but this summer I was able to reconnect with the reason why I am pursuing OT: to help others.
This past summer, I completed my Level II Fieldwork at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. When deciding where I wanted to do my fieldwork, I chose to go out of area to explore a new city for the summer. At Rush, I worked on four different inpatient psychiatric units – child/adolescent, general adult, mood disorders, and geropsych. Throughout my Level II Fieldwork, I realized how prepared I was to be an entry-level practitioner from everything I had learned in my classes and previous fieldwork experiences. Since I was able to work with clients across the lifespan, I learned how to rapidly shift the different therapeutic modes I was using based on the client and situation.
Over the twelve weeks, I gradually gained more independence and eventually was carrying a full caseload where I evaluated 3 patients daily and ran 2 groups. In addition to assessments, treatment plans, individual interventions, group interventions, and progress notes, I was also able to pursue research on OT’s role in medication management in this setting. I loved being able to apply evidence-based practice and see the progress in my clients. Coming back after my fieldwork experience, I feel more prepared and energized to take on my second year!