Yna’s Elective Experiences
One thing that I was most excited about studying at USC Chan is getting to explore the variety of elective courses that they offer. This is certainly a great opportunity to specialize in whatever field of OT you are most interested to pursue. It certainly was not an easy decision for me; and if you find yourself in that same situation, that’s totally okay! I hope this blog will help you as I talk about some highlights of my elective experiences for the fall semester, and why I chose them.
OT573: Hand Rehabilitation
While I was working as an OT in an adult rehabilitation setting in the Philippines, I had a lot of clients with hand-related injuries. It was during this time when I gained a better appreciation of the complexity of the hands and their importance in daily living—which led me to choose to take this course. Through this elective, I gained in-depth knowledge of the anatomy of the hands and upper extremity primarily through the elaborate reading materials alongside supplementary learning activities such as informative videos. Other topics that were covered in this class included wound healing, scar and edema management, digital splinting, and casting, which was done in-person as can be seen in the photos below!
I definitely learned a lot from this course but one major takeaway that I will never forget is Lisa Deshaies’ (our professor) motto which she likes to abbreviate as FOFO, which stands for “Fight On For Occupations.”
OT562: Advanced Hand Rehabilitation and Certification (Physical Agent Modalities)
A co-requisite of this course is the OT573 Hand Rehabilitation elective I just discussed above. Now that I have the knowledge that I need about hands and the upper extremity, I decided to further my knowledge on the application of Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs) as a preparatory activity for occupation. Each week, we examined a different modality (i.e. heat, ultrasound, TENS, etc.), discussing each of the modality’s purpose, methods, precautions, contraindications, and application in practice. I gained a lot of insights from my classmates during small group discussions. After taking this class, I feel more adept in writing SOAP notes and engaging in evidence-based practice. Another reason why I chose this elective is because the hours that I earned in class are applicable towards the California Board of OT educational requirements for advanced practice. Our professors, Janice Rocker and André Woo prepared us well for this application by training us all on how to properly fill out the advanced practice application form to make sure that we are ready when the time comes.
OT cinco seis seis (OT566): Healthcare Communication with Spanish-Speaking Clients
Besides already having a little bit of background in speaking Spanish, I took this course with the goal of being able to communicate effectively with Spanish speaking clients I may have in the future. Although I may not be able to speak it really fluently yet, I believe the mere fact that you’re making an effort makes a difference in creating a safe space for them, consequently helping in the establishment of client-therapist rapport. The focus of the course is learning Spanish words and phrases within a therapeutic context, so I learned how to speak basic sentences that we usually say during therapy sessions such as when introducing yourself: “Mi nombre es Yna y yo soy su terapeuta ocupacional.” Our professor, Dr. Delgado, provided us with various avenues to practice our skills through group work, practicum, assignments—including one wherein we have to use an app that tracks our progress weekly.