Externship: Opportunity to Explore What I’ve been Interested
April 1, 2019
In the Leadership Capstone Course, I had a chance to participate in a two-week externship to learn communication and leadership skills. I went my leadership externship in the USC Davis School of Gerontology, National Resource Center on Supportive Housing & Home Modification, and Fall Prevention Center of Excellence. I chose the site as I’ve been interested in home modifications since I was in my country, Korea. I was working in a hospital as an occupational therapist and after patients were about to be discharged, they naturally planned to move to other hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or rehabilitation centers. However, after their stay at other facilities, they need to go back to their homes anyway and I could not help patients to go through the process and build a bridge for them. That brought me interests in home modifications but since there hasn’t been any research or resources about it, I had less chance to explore.
Thankfully, now I’m here, and the USC Davis School of Gerontology, they are well-known for home modifications and fall prevention which is a key factor in home modifications. Moreover, from January, I’ve been taking the Executive Certificate in Home Modification Program from the USC Davis School of Gerontology, so I wanted to learn more from them.
During the externship, I did a lot of research regarding home modifications in general, assessment tools in home environments and fall prevention, health-related issues about Asian-Americans and home modifications related specifically. Also, I had an opportunity to attend a class, Housing, and Community Policies and Program. In that course, I visited an assisted living facility for older adults with dementia or other physical problems. The other thing that I did was interviewing and meeting various professions. I was able to interview gerontologists from different settings, an occupational therapist and a building contractor. By talking with them, I was able to listen to different perspectives and advocate what occupational therapy is especially for students who are not familiar with it. The good thing was that people that I interviewed already knew about occupational therapy and our roles as well. Lastly, I combined and synthesized what I have done and set goals in short-term and long-term.
It was a precious experience to learn more about what I’ve been wanting to know and I hope I can expand later in the future!