University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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OS/OT Student Blog


Learning Handy Skills! →

Nov 12, 2014, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

This week, our adult rehabilitation course is focusing on hand rehabilitation and making splints! Here are some pictures of the splints that we made in lab:



There’s a lot to learn and I could definitely improve on some of the splints that I made, but it was fun to practice the skill! We made a neoprene thumb splint that is commonly used for children with cerebral palsy in our pediatrics lab course last semester. Now I have many more to add to my splint collection!

We will be having a guest lecture from an adjunct faculty, Lisa Deshaies, who also works at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center also (in about half an hour actually), and I’m really looking forward to it! Our textbook reading for this week was a chapter that was written by her as well—we are really lucky to have so many experienced OT faculty members and connections!

EDIT: We just wrapped up our guest lecture! I learned a lot about hand therapy and physical agent modalities, and Lisa also helped dispel any fears we might have about pursuing hand therapy certification. We got to try out some of the equipment and therapy techniques. We were told, “If you’re going to use these methods on your patients, you should know what the experience is like!”

Here are some pictures:

Cold Therapy: Instead of buying fancy ice cups, you can make your own by freezing water in styrofoam cups and peeling off the bottom!

Heat Therapy with Paraffin: Taken place in our occupations lab. My classmates and I got to experience what it feels like to use paraffin wax!


Gardening as an occupation →

Nov 3, 2014, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

One of the goodies that I picked up from OTAC a couple weeks ago was a little plant set with forget-me-not seeds! While taking a break from studying, I decided to plant it and see what happens! Given my lack of experience with gardening, I consider this pretty adventurous of myself! I called my grandpa who lives back at home to tell him that I planted some seeds, because his favorite occupation is gardening. It was super fun to bond with my grandpa and share in this occupation which is so meaningful to him. He has been gardening for over twenty years now and he often complains about the squirrels and birds eating the fruit from his trees.

He told me to be patient with plants (I was saying that I wanted the seeds to sprout already), and that you plant the seeds with hope and feel a lot of joy when you see them grow. A couple days later, some sprouts came out, and I was surprised by how happy I felt seeing them!

Caring for a small plant can be a really good activity. I interned at the occupational therapy department of a Taiwanese mental health hospital a couple years ago, and planting seeds was an activity that we did with the patients in the acute ward. It was so inspiring to see the patients reflect on times when they had gardened in the past or relate to times when they had to patiently wait for something; every member planted some seeds and they all left the session with their individual potted plant. I thought it was a great way to engage these patients in a healthy occupation and give them a sense of responsibility and control over something.

Have any of you tried out any new occupations recently? Or, what are some occupations that your loved ones like to do, and have you ever had a chance to share in that experience?



Friday Quicktakes →

Oct 24, 2014, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

Happy Friday!

Today I wanted to share some snippets about my week, so here are a few photos.

This past weekend was OTAC! So great to see our faculty and alumni win awards, give presentations, and participate in the learning/networking experience!
In the student track, we got to play with some toys and make our own for pediatrics OT!

Also, here’s a shout out to Rob, one of our former student ambassadors (transformed into Rose King in support of our 2017 OT Centennial Vision float!) and Caitlin, also an occupational therapy student in the USC program!

This week, our adult rehabilitation class did an activity analysis activity. Our team was assigned to do an activity analysis on “making a snack.” We shared a lot of different yummy ideas, perused Pinterest, and decided to make some Jack-O-Lantern quesadillas to reflect our Halloween spirit!

Did you know our classroom walls are actually giant white boards? We were practicing goal writing and developing treatment plans; our teams put all our ideas on the board and our professor gave us feedback. I secretly hope someone will come into our classrooms and leave beautiful drawings one day, like these.

Have a good weekend! smile



Oct 15, 2014, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

Greetings from my kitchen table! I’m working from home and nibbling on a delicious lemon tart that my friend made (baking is her new occupation, to my delight!). Anyway, it is our one full week of Level I fieldwork, so our courses are actually paused for this week. I always look forward to the one full week of fieldwork during the semester! It is a very valuable experience for us as students to see what our fieldwork site does the rest of the week. You get to meet other clients and therapists, see other therapy sessions, participate in other groups, and learn a whole ton! My current Level I Fieldwork is at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. I am usually with my clinical instructor in outpatient occupational therapy and today I got to visit inpatient occupational therapy, followed by attending an aquatics group in the afternoon. So much fun! Fieldwork is definitely one of my highlights of the entire USC OT program. It’s great to see the things that we learn in the classroom come to life in real life applications. I commend our USC fieldwork team for working so hard to match us up with sites around LA and all around the nation – even around the world! Have a great week everyone – hope see some of you at the OTAC conference this weekend!


(Un)balanced? →

Oct 10, 2014, by Claire · email · Leave a comment

The school semester is well underway – we are about halfway done! Hang in there, folks! One goal that I made for myself these two weeks is to work on LIFE BALANCE. (life balance? what is that?). In OT534: Health Promotion and Wellness, we discussed the importance of lifestyle balance and healthy routines. We did an activity using the Balance Wheel, which is a worksheet that helps you categorize how you spend your day in one hour time slots. The categories include Leisure, Individual care, Free/unscheduled time, and Effort in school/work activities (LIFE). Looking at my completed worksheet, I realized that my Balance Wheel was very much unbalanced – it consisted of Individual care (mostly meaning sleep) and Effort in school/work, with very little leisure and free time. I also noticed that I was frequently stressed and my buddies often commented that I looked tired.

So in my new initiative to be in a better state of health, I went OT on myself and started to pay closer attention to where all my time was going. I downloaded an app that allowed me to track my day by the half hour, and over the course of last week, I noted what I did, my productivity and satisfaction level. At the end of the week, I made a few goals for myself: waste less time browsing on my phone (this really added up for me!) and get in more studying earlier in the week to prevent high stress later. This week, I am making an effort to change my study habits in order for me to be less stressed and more pleasant around others. The method seems to be working now that I am making more conscious decisions on what I do with my time. Work and school, leisure, rest, and spending time with friends – these are all very important! I am happier now knowing I don’t need to choose one and sacrifice another by managing my time better!

I always have to remind myself that if I want to help others live their life to the fullest, I have to be healthy and taking care of myself as well. For others who are also feeling overwhelmed, maybe this is a helpful idea for you! Even just take a step back for fifteen minutes and breathe, meditate, take a nap, exercise… and you will feel more refreshed!

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