Thursday, April 28, 2016

Close to the End

OMG FIELDWORK IS OVER TOMORROW WHERE DID THE TIME GO??? But seriously, I cannot believe how quickly the last 16 weeks have flown by. From waking up at 5:20 every morning in order to make it on time, to not making it home until 7:00 or later some days, it has been tough to say the least. 

Yesterday I presented my project to my site mentors, and I think they were impressed. The GIF below explains how I feel perfectly. 

When you crush your presentation at the end of fieldwork. 
{from whatshouldwecallot}

Some days it was so difficult to make myself do work when all I wanted to do was read online articles and shop for the most random items, but I knew I had to budget my time wisely in order to meet the demands of my site mentors. I have to admit, I spent more time on it this week (but I had a feeling it would happen that way) simply because I had a final, hard deadline to meet. I had to manage my own time every day since I didn't have anyone checking up on me to see how things were going. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I was able to put the skills I've learned over the last 3 years to good use. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Professional Communication

Being able to effectively communicate is one of the most important life skills we possess. Communication is the act of transferring information from one place to another, either vocally, written, visually, or non-verbally. Developing appropriate communication skills can help your life professionally and personally. Some aspects of communication skills we will discuss include communication styles, learning styles, body language, and communication breakdown, all of which help to facilitate a student's learning during the fieldwork experience.

For example, if a student is unable to effectively discuss a home exercise program with a client, how will the client be able to follow through at home appropriately to maintain his/her functional ability? Or what if a student or clinician is interaction with another professional but that person has difficulty using appropriate terminology to hold a conversation, how might that impact the working relationship?

Other types of communication can include leaning a team, giving a presentation, providing documentation--all require communication skills. One needs to actively listen, clearly express ideas, speak with confidence, and write effectively. As a student, I remember reading over emails numerous times in order to make sure the email sounded professional and educated in the best way possible. And I probably still am that way. Regardless, all communication skills are a vital piece to this profession. 

OT Advocacy

Advocating for patients and for the profession are huge pieces to promoting occupational therapy. Professional advocacy can come in may different forms, such as working with insurance companies, state & national therapy associations, networking, lobbying, writing letters to your state representative. Patient advocacy may be more familiar to people as OTs are required to justify why a client needs services, or why they need continued services. It is our responsibility to use our knowledge and clinical skills to stand up for each patient as we see fit.

Also, last weekend Andrew and I met with some of our friends in our young marrieds church class. They asked me what occupational therapy is since they hadn't heard of it (no surprise there).  Since English wasn't their first language, it was a bit of a challenge. I broke it down into occupations being everyday activities (ADLs), more complex activities (IADLs), and community mobility. I also told them the big piece of occupational therapy is increasing independence for everyone in whatever way possible. OTs work across the lifespan, modifying and educating the people we work with and their families/caregivers.

The next question I got was interesting. The wife of the couple asked me if I could do any job, what would it be? And without skipping a beat, I told her I love what I'm doing as a therapist. Seeing clients make progress warms my heart and I find it so rewarding.

And now more people know about what I do! Keep spreading the word!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Final Week

Well, I never thought this day would come but it's here! My last week of fieldwork. Wow. Things have been quiet around the office since the students are on break this week, and it's quite an adjustment from what I've gotten used to. Over lunch was my final meeting with the faculty, and it was another G & P meeting to discuss any potential student issues. Overall, things are going well but everyone was reminded that if a student fails or withdraws it affects their GPA. For example, a student who fails fieldwork may not be able to graduate with the 3.0 required. Why? Because fieldwork is considered a full course load (full time) for 9 or 12 hours. Which in turn takes a huge hit to a student's GPA.

The other issue discussed during the meeting is the interview process. Does it need to be changed, and if so, how? Is there a way to identify students who may struggle in the curriculum early on? These are questions the faculty members are constantly faced with, and I'm not sure there was a final answer.

Overall, the meeting was much less formal than what I'd previously seen, most likely because of students not being on campus so the professors were feeling more laid back and not under so much stress.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pediatric Assessments

The students had their pediatrics practical today(apparently I'm a harsh grader, sorry guys!) and it was interesting! I had to make a cheat sheet for myself as I have trouble recalling all the necessary information. There were 6 assessments available to use, and I wanted to share my cheat sheet with everyone for use later down the road! I should disclaimer that this is not a complete end-all be-all cheat sheet.

Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2)

Age: 4-21 years
Population: Typically developing to moderate motor deficits, suspected motor delays & sensory processing
Constructs: fine motor precision, fine motor integration,  manual dexterity, upper-limb coordination, bilateral coordination, balance, running speed & agility, and strength

Developmental Test of Visual Perception (DTVP-2)


Ages: 4 years - 12 years 11 months
Population: Children who have difficulty with visual & motor skills
Constructs: eye hand coordination, copying, figure ground, visual closure, and form constancy

Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS-2)

Ages: birth - 5 years
Population: children with suspected motor delays
Constructs: grasping, visual motor integration, reflexes, locomotion, and object manipulation

Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI)

Ages:  6 months - 7 years 6 months
Population: Children with physical disabilities
Constructs: self-care, mobility, and social function

Sensory Profile 2

Ages: birth - 14 years 11 months
Population: children with suspected motor delays or behavioral issues
Constructs: 4 domains - sensory seeker, sensory avoider, sensory sensitivity, and sensory registration; types of sensory issues can include general, auditory, visual, touch, movement, oral, or behavioral

School Function Assessment (SFA)
Ages: kindergarten - 6th grade
Population: anyone in elementary school, students with disabilities
Constructs: participation, task supports, and activity performance (includes physical & cognitive/behavioral tasks)

So there you have it. A quick, easy reference to some pediatric assessments. Keep in mind that some of these also have newer versions/editions, however this post pertains to the assessments the university currently has available. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Professional Requirements in Texas

A huge piece of information I've been working on for my final project is to outline the requirements of supervision in the great state of Texas. Having gone to school in Nebraska, I feel at a slight disadvantage in my knowledge of licensure and the rules and whanot.

Some key pieces which came into play for my project were the OT Rules and OT Practice Act, as well as amendments to both (they can be found here) as well as the Texas Administrative Code (found here) since there have been instances where clinical instructors aren't always aware of the requirements. It seems no matter where I am, there's always some supervisor who doesn't always follow the rules. For example, one of my classmates was given the full patient caseload (she was perfectly capable of handling it) and her supervisor took the day off. Although nothing went awry while the supervisor was gone, it was certainly not the appropriate thing to do.

Something else I've started looking at is the cost of the board exam and licensing requirements. While the exam currently costs $500, I also have to pay $140 to become licensed in the Texas. Or if I want to get my temporary license (which may be a legit possibility depending on upcoming interviews), that will cost me $70. I've spent quite a bit of time recently looking over the general application information. In addition to all of this, there's also a mandatory OT Jurisprudence Exam online which I also have to take.

There's so much to do!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

AOTA Conference & Networking

Hey readers! Last week was a whirlwind as I left Houston on Wednesday to travel to CHICAGO for AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) Conference. It was amazing and I learned so many interesting things, but I'll have to save all those things for another blog post--keep your eyes peeled for those!  I have to admit, the thought didn't cross my mind to bring my resume until I was already in Chicago at conference. Fortunately, people tend to remember me thank you tall genes!

The most important thing I wanted to discuss (before I forget about it!) was the power of networking I saw at this year's conference compared to last year. First, I networked with some professors who I hadn't seen in nearly a year! And then of course I networked with several of the UTMB faculty, attending sessions with them and supporting them during poster presentations. Pretty simple.

The fun part happened when I met recruiters at the Expo Hall from TIRR Memorial Hermann and MD Anderson. The therapist with MD Anderson still remembers me from when I did a one week fieldwork back in October 2014. She encouraged me to apply online and email her directly a resume. Pretty cool, right?

With TIRR, I have to give a little backstory. About two weeks ago Creighton sent out an email stating a recruiter would be coming to visit. Of course, not being in Omaha, I felt at quite a disadvantage and missing out on a huge opportunity. I got things in order and the recruiter actually called me yesterday! While I was at conference, I met with other recruiters and got to know them. Additionally, I got an email yesterday from another TIRR facility encouraging me to apply to their facility. How awesome is that???

Shoot I just might have a job before graduation! Amazing how networking with professionals can get you where you want to go.

T-31 days until graduation!