Sunday, November 25, 2018

I don't believe my eyes!
Patti Henk

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Friday, November 04, 2016

Can you imagine it?

I was amazed! This really works! I can't believe!




Patti Henk




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

from: Patti Henk

Hi! How are you? 

Have you seen this before? 
Oprah had been using it for over a year! 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

from: Patti Henk

Hi! How are you?
Have you seen this before? Oprah had been using it for over a year!

Patti Henk

Monday, October 06, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

on and on and on we go

I wish time would slow down a little bit, just to give me a chance to catch up. Life is good and busy... Here's the rundown....

Just finished week 3/10. This was the best week ever!! I went in early and watched surgeries!!! I was literally a foot away from the surgeon. I watched the patient walk onto the operating room, lay on the table, get knocked out with anesthesia, prepped for surgery, get a hand operation, wake up and get rolled to recovery. It was unreal! I watched a pin removal (which literally took 5 minutes), a trigger finger release, a carpal tunnel release, and a scaphoid fx ORIF (which took like 2 hours). After 5 hours of that my legs were numb from standing, but it was worth it. The surgeon actually took time during the surgeries to give me a brief anatomy lesson and show me the exact tendons/nerves/bones he was working on. I never expected that! After the surgeries, I went back to the clinic and observed a patient with horrible RSD (from an injury at work). My CI's last patients canceled, so we spent the rest of the evening fabricating splints. I'm familiar with melting and cutting thermoplastic and making hand paddles from my rehab tech job, but this was my first time making a split from scratch. My CI taught me how to make a carpal tunnel splint. It wasn't so hard to make and it was pretty fun! I can't wait to take my splinting class next semester. My little sister has been wearing it around the house today... ; )

I'm not going to talk about all my classes today because that would take forever, but these two apply most directly to me and the population I'll work with immediately after graduation. We're learning about AROM, PROM, joint measurements, edema and scar management, transfers (chair->bed), bed mobility, managing wheelchairs, and different dx we'll be working with such as MS, Parkinsons and SCI. I made a blog for an advocacy project which can be found here: .

As I mentioned previously, the biggest part of my GA work has been my involvement with the autism social skills research and weekly groups. Here are some pictures from the presentation at the NJOTA conference...

There's tons more to share, but I'm out of time!
Till next week!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love hands.

They are more complicated than I could have imagined, though. I understand now why you need to be practicing for at least 5 years before you can even consider becoming a Certified Hand Therapist. You basically have to be a rocket scientist and know every muscle, tendon, origin, insertion, surgical procedure, rehab protocol and contraindication before you can touch the client.

During my second day of fieldwork I was able to go through a tendon gliding routine with a patient, and assess a patient's grip strength with the dynamometer. Next week I'll spend half of the day sitting in on surgeries! Awesome!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Presenting at the NJOTA conference was incredible too. I had horrible dreams the night before that I freaked out and didn't show up at it. haha. It really was a lot of fun, and once I got up to talk, it all came out fine.

The conference was great for networking and learning. It's funny to talk to random people, and when you mention a place you've worked or had a fieldwork placement, people will always name someone they know. The OT world is really small, it amazes me.

I attended two lecture sessions, one was about contracture management and one was about the aging eye which gave an overview of natural changes that occur and common pathologies, as well as compensatory strategies and devices we can use.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

School is starting to pick up, and I'm almost at the overwhelmed point, but it's nothing like my first year. It's probably the same amount of work, but my coping/time management skills are improving. I'm taking 5 classes...
Adult Intervention
Adult Evaluation
OT Skills III (UE)
Clinical Neuroscience

Time to get some work done.
Nap first. ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So it begins!

Year 2 has begun!

Today was my first day of adult fieldwork Level I. I am at an outpatient hand surgery and rehab hospital. It's incredible, fast-pasted, and exciting. The morning started out with an inservice about iontophoresis (read more about it here I was able to try on a patch (saline solution rather than dextro or other meds)... Anyway, it's sort of a combo of a portable TENS that delivers medication trans-dermally. It's used for a variety of purposes, ie- contractures, pain and scars. Very interesting!

I saw a variety of modalities today including ultrasound, heat, contrast bath, fluidotherapy, iontophoresis, vibration, etc... I was also able to assist a patient with his BTE program, which was awesome! Their BTE is computerized and customized for each client. I saw quite a few dx's today including carpal tunnel release, ulnar nerve translocation and a variety of fractures/ ORIF's. In a few weeks I'll probably get to observe a surgery!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm also elected the secretary of our Student OT Association. Woo!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This weekend I'm presenting at the NJOTA (New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association) conference. I'll be discussing the benefits of a social skills group for pre-school children with autism. We're discussing the research we've done about social skills, and the structure of our program so that other people can run it. This year I'm running three autism groups in three different towns, and it's really incredible how fast we're expanding. We're in the process of publishing a manual.

That's it for now..... things are good and busy. : )

Monday, July 14, 2008

Friday, May 09, 2008

I'm officially a second year MSOT student! I can't believe how fast this year went. I start a two week Assistive Technology class next week, and I'm also taking a one day serial casting course! In two weeks, I'll have my first "client", whom I'll be co-treating with a speech therapy student, and I'm also working on a manual that will be published for my autism group. We put in a proposal to present our autism research at the NJOTA conference in September. This summer I'm doing a 2 credit GA and working at the rehab hospital again... and hopefully relaxing as much as possible. :)

Here are some pics of my first year...

No, we're not studying here... we're looking at a book of henna tattoos.

Here we're painting birdhouses that we built.

Here's my roommate, Alli, and Michele painting their birdhouse. School really isn't this fun generally. ;) These pics are deceiving.

I forget what I'm doing here..... stereo vision?

Laura and Alanna teaching us some adaptive dressing skills.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fieldwork Advice

Another post today.....
I had received an email a while back from a student who wanted advice about the Level I Pediatrics Fieldwork experience. I wanted to wait to answer that because I wanted to finish the 10 weeks before I summed it up.

What I've learned is that every fieldwork site is different. Everyone in my class pretty much went to different places, some went to public schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, etc. I was at a special services school. Also, everyone saw different ages. Some worked with babies, preschoolers, or elementary aged. I worked primarily with 14-21 year olds, although I got to observe younger children, also. Finally, all fieldwork clinical instructors have different expectations. Some people in my class did nothing but strictly observe, while others actually got to "treat" kids and run groups. Personally, my CI had pretty high expectations but I didn't get a lot of hands-on experience (although toward the end she did give me a few opportunities, which was awesome!). She challenged me from the very first day, and had me write pseudo-goals, progress notes, and threw a few A&P pop quiz questions at me. It was great that our personalities meshed well, and I felt comfortable pretty much instantly. Some people never got that comfortable. So basically, I can't tell anyone what their experience will be like. There are 20 people in my class, and we each had 20 entirely different experiences.

As to not be entirely useless in my advice-giving, here's some things to keep in mind...

Be open-minded about the experience. You'll hear this from your Fieldwork professor, but seriously... You won't know for certain if you DO or DO NOT want to work in a setting until you experience it firsthand. I had no intention of considering pediatrics post-graduation, but now I see that it is definitely something I can (and might want to!) do eventually. Okay I know some people swear they will never work with a certain population... but you still have to do fieldwork in pediatrics, adults, and geriatrics and possibly mental health. It's not a choice, so suck it up for 10 weeks and learn something.

Bring a notebook. I was SHOCKED when my fieldwork CI told me she's had students who didn't even write anything down during the day. If you have a photographic memory, good for you, but your fieldwork supervisor is going to think you're lazy. I didn't want to ask too many questions when my CI was treating, so I wrote down my Q's and asked her between patients or after treatment was over. Also, I'd write progress notes for some of the students as she was treating, and at the end of the day I'd ask her to read a few of them to see if I was on the right track or if I was missing vital info.

Be honest. Your CI won't think you're a horrible student because you don't know the answers to his/her questions. As a level I, you're there to learn, and your CI is there to teach you. Don't say you know something when you don't and never do something with a kid that you're not trained and comfortable with doing. With that in mind, you're also educated and have spent tons of money on courses and textbooks, so bring that knowledge with you so you have some solid questions to ask and interventions to suggest.

The first time your CI allows you to put your hands on your first "client", the feeling will be intense. You might have a minor heart attack for a second, but once it passes, the feeling is awesome! Enjoy the experience!


One-ish more week to go!

There's a lot of books I'd like to read. I wish they weren't so expensive.

This one caught my eye and it's probably worth investing in once I start making money.

My first year of grad school is coming to an end. The program is half over and I still remember my interview like it was yesterday. I promise I'll write something deep one of these days, but I need to reserve my remaining brain cells for 1 more presentation, a baby lab, and 2 final exams.

So anyway, if you're an OTS, you'll understand this list I created.

Things I've learned as an Occupational Therapy Student.. . . .

... I have sensory issues and I'm probably in need of SI, or at least a trampoline.
... Throughout any given day I can fluctuate between a level 6 to a level 1 on Allen's Cognitive Scale.
... I sound like a robot when I administer the MVPT.
... I can knit, and so can you! But don't bother... go to Target and buy a scarf.
...You'll paint a birdhouse in one class, and in the next you'll perform a phase-effect analysis determining the autocorrelation of a nomothetic nonrandomized sample with issues you know nothing about.
... Suddenly everything seems more fun than getting your case studies done (ie, cleaning, shopping, root canal, etc).
... God invented the Dollar Store for OT students.
Feel free to add on! :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

3 weeks left.....

I am so stressed out & I want to scream.

I still love school, but my brain is numb.

Tomorrow is my last Level I Peds Fieldwork! :(

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Break

YAY for SPRING lack-of-BREAK!!! My break consists of going to fieldwork, working on presentations on the COPM and the MVPT-3, and working on an evidence-based article review project. Regardless, it's still nice to do things at my own pace and catch up on some sleep and laundry.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Two weeks till spring break!!!

I haven't had time to update in a while. So much has been going on lately... good, bad, and everything in between. But for the most part, things are good. : )

The first exciting news is that I moved (part-time) down to Ocean City with a classmate. My commute is cut in half, and she is just awesome to live with. We work on assignments together, take mental health breaks together, we joined a local gym so we can motivate each other. We threw a wine and cheese party last week and half of the class came. Pictures will probably be uploaded eventually on our class Facebook @ (There's lots of other pics too, so check it out).

Today was week 4/10 of fieldwork and I still absolutely LOVE it. We went on an outing to the mall with a class, and mostly stayed with one student. We worked on functional tasks such as navigating through the mall, finding elevators, asking for directions or assistance as needed, purchasing and managing change, etc. It was definitely a test on my patience today & I realize I need to just let things happen sometimes, as slow as it may occur. My FW supervisor Angie is just fantastic and she is the Einstein of SI and ped OT altogether. I'm very lucky to have such a dedicated teacher. I'm coming out of my shell more and more and I feel 75% comfortable now. There are behavioral issues I'm still not used to, but I guess I'll get over it with experience.

I gave a presentation this week about the TVPS (Test of Visual Perceptual Skills). My group and I had to discuss it's purpose and background, then we showed a video demonstrating the visual discrimination subtest which we used on my little sister, and then we showed the class how to score it and discussed other psychometric properties of the test. If you don't know what this test is, it's for ages 4-19. The test assesses visual-perceptual strengths and weaknesses; using non-motor visual perceptual testing. This includes testing the following visual-perceptual categories: discrimination, memory, spatial-relationships, form-constancy, sequential-memory, figure-ground and visual closure. It was relatively easy to administer and score. Oh, and in fieldwork today Angie administered a VMI on a child and let me score it... that one is complicated to score, in my opinion... well, this student made it complicated. Anyway, she didn't administer it to exact standardization, so it won't be used as a valid assessment.

One of my favorite classes right now is OT Skills II, which is an activity analysis class. We do lots of craft projects and then discuss grading as well as adaptation. We look at the component areas and the physical demands of the activity and all other aspects (cognitive, social, cultural, environmental, etc) involved with the activity. Last week I learned how to KNIT! It was definitely more complicated for me because I'm left-handed so my teacher had to teach the 3 of us the backwards method to knitting. I was frustrated for the most part and had no desire to continue my project after class ended. I need to turn in a sample by the end of the semester, so I drove over to the craft shop and bought myself some SUPER SOFT and pretty yarn which totally inspired me and feels so good, so now my motivation is back...hmm, Sensory Integration?, More stimulating tactile input?, or the desire to pass the class? Take your pick.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fieldwork Week 2

Today was Week 2 of 10 for Level I FW.

I love it so much I wish I was there every day instead of in class!!!
I'm actually considering working with kids..... ::gasp!:::
It rocks. It's draining, fast, and awesome.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Week #3

I have a lot going on right now..... I'll make subheadings for your/my convenience...

Level I Fieldwork- Week 1

On Wednesday I began my first Level I fieldwork placement. I'm at a special needs school with children ages 3-21. The school is absolutely enormous and provides services for children diagnosed with autism, CP, PDD, and multiple disabilities. Ethically and legally I can't give a lot of detail about the kids I saw, but it was an incredible first experience.
My clinical instructor, Angie, is just fantastic. It's easy to see that she loves her job & she knows how to help these kids. During my first day, I pretty much observed her in action, sat in on her treatment groups, as well as an IEP meeting, took lots of notes and asked questions. My CI works in the transitional area, which is adolescents ages 13-21, I'm not sure how hands-on I'll be getting during Level I, but hopefully I'll get a little taste of what it'd be like working in that setting.
I was a little anxious before starting, but I felt comfortable by the end of the day. It was a little emotionally overwhelming for me (maybe I was overstimulated?), it can be difficult for me to separate myself emotionally sometimes and I went home my head was spinning for a while.
I'm going to make the most of this experience though. I really enjoyed the kids and I can almost see myself working in this type of setting. . . I just don't know yet.


Yesterday I went on a tour of a psychiatric hospital and I sat in on an art treatment class. I was not able to observe an OT treatment session because they work with more severe cases, which may have been unsafe for us students to observe. That's scary.
I had an image of what a psychiatric hospital would look like before I went there, and it was exactly what I expected.
Again, I can't give too much detail, but what I learned is that I am not interested in working in that type of setting. I am definitely interested in mental health and mental illness, heck, I have a degree in psychology! I just would not want to work in this type of place, it was more of a prison than a hospital to me.
In the art therapy class I joined, we made heart valentines with stick-on foam hearts, letters, etc. The leader (art therapist?) was asking them questions about what the experience reminded them of during their childhood.... It was interesting to say the least.

Circle of Friends

Tomorrow I re-start my group with my little friends who have autism! Yay!


OT In Mental Health: This is a continuation of my class last semester, Psychosocial clinical conditions. In this class we are doing qualitative and quantitative article reviews, we are learning MANY assessment tools and how to administer them, and we are running groups for adults with mental illness to teach them many skills so that they can return to occupations they find important.
Research Methods: This is the first research class out of 3 we'll be having. We're critiquing research articles, and by the end of the semester we'll be writing our own research proposal which we'll be implementing in the subsequent semesters. We're learning statistical analysis, validity measurements, confounds, etc.
Pediatric Assessment: This is pediatric semester, so there are 2 ped classes. This one is obviously about the evaluations and assessments we'll be performing as clinicians. We're learning OT/OTA role differences, typical vs. atypical development (physical, cognitive, social, etc), as well as standardized evaluations we'll be performing. We're also learning how we can assess specific skills using everyday objects and toys.
Pediatric Intervention: Right now in this class we're learning about age appropriate skills and the therapeutic activities we can do to facilitate the development of these skills. We're learning activity analysis, as well as grading and adaptation to make activities more functional for pediatrics.
OT Skills II: This years skill class focuses on activity analysis. This week we made birdhouses out of wood and painted them. Afterward, we looked at the activity to analyze all of the component parts involved and what client factors need to be considered when doing this activity. For example, could a person with one arm be able to do this? How would we modify it for a person with poor fine motor control?

Graduate Assistantship

This semester I'm doing 8 credits for my GA. Along with running my group on Saturdays I am trying to implement a mentoring program for first year incoming OT students. I'm not sure how that's going to turn out, but I'm working on it.


I'm still working at the hospital every other Sunday for right now.

So that's it for me right now! I'm busy...... but it's time to sleep!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I compiled all of my syllabi into one list of assignments that are due and I figured I'd share it. Is your workload anything like mine? More/less? I think this is insane. But in more exciting news I start fieldwork next week!!! YAY!


Monday 4th- Ped Evaluation: Item Eval Due
Tuesday 5th- Research Methods: Quantitative Proposal
Wednesday 6th- FIELDWORK 1 *LOG*
Monday 11th- Ped. Evaluation: QUIZ 1
Wednesday 13th- FIELDWORK 2 *LOG*
Thursday 14th- OT Skills II: Genogram Assignment
Friday 15th- Ped. OT Intervention: QUIZ 1
Tuesday 19th- Mental Health: Log #1 Due
Tuesday 19th- Research Methods: Quantitative Critique Due
Wednesday 20th- FIELDWORK 3 *LOG*
Tuesday 26th- Mental Health: EBP review of Eklund article due.
Tuesday 26th- Research Methods: MIDTERM
Tuesday 26th- Research Methods: Qualitative Proposal
Wednesday 27th- FIELDWORK 4 *LOG*
Friday 29th- Ped OT Intervention: Autism Reading Assignment

Monday 3rd- Ped Evaluation: QUIZ 2
Monday 3rd- Ped Evaluation: Teach/Learn Test of Visual-Perceptual Skills
Thursday 6th- OT Skills II: Health Fair/ Community Assignment
Tuesday 11th- Mental Health: EBP review of Lee article
Tuesday 11th- Research Methods: Qualitative Critique Due
Tuesday 4th- Mental Health: MIDTERM EXAM
Tuesday 4th- Mental Health: Log #2 Due
Wednesday 5th- FIELDWORK 5 *LOG*
Friday. 7th- Ped OT Intervention: QUIZ 2
Wednesday 12th- FIELDWORK 6 *LOG*
Monday 24th- Ped Evaluation: MVPT Assessment Tool Due
Monday. 24th- *PBA Due*
Tuesday 25th- Mental Health: Evaluation Presentation COPM
Tuesday 25th- Mental Health: Log #3 Due
Wednesday 26th- FIELDWORK 7 *LOG*
Friday 28th- Ped OT Intervention: EBP Assignment Due
Monday 31st- Ped Evaluation: QUIZ 3

Tuesday 1st- EBP review of Schindler article due.
Wednesday 2nd - FIELDWORK 8 *LOG*
Friday 4th- Ped. OT Intervention: QUIZ 3
Tuesday 8th- Mental Health: Log #4 Due (put in mailbox).
Tuesday 8th- Research Methods: Draft Proposal Due
Wednesday 9th- FIELDWORK 9 *LOG*
Tuesday 15th- OT Skills II: Activity Presentation???
Tuesday 15th- Research Methods: FINAL EXAM
Wednesday 16th- FIELDWORK 10 *LOG*
Thursday 17th- Mental Health: EBP review of Liu article.
Thursday 17th- Mental Health: ICE- Group Leader! Resumes/Apps.
Friday 18th- Ped. OT Intervention: QUIZ 4
Friday 18th- Ped OT Intervention: Case Study Intervention Plan Due
Tuesday 22nd- Mental Health: Log #5 Due
Tuesday 22nd- Mental Health: Case Study Paper Due!!!
Friday 25th- Ped OT Intervention/Evaluation: BABY LAB
Monday 28th- Ped Evaluation: QUIZ 4
Tuesday 29th- Mental Health: FINAL EXAM
Tuesday 29th- Research Methods: Final Proposal Due and Presentation

Monday 5th- Ped OT Intervention/Evaluation FINAL DUE by 9am.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Week 1

I am so overwhelmed. . . Have I said that before?

It's really awesome and exciting to be back & it's great seeing everyone again.

But I am so overwhelmed.

I'll write something more productive by next week. ; )

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Semester 2

School starts again next Tuesday. I'm ready to see everyone again and get my focus back, but I'm not ready to be chronically overwhelmed again. Over the break I worked part time at the rehab hospital, and being there made me so excited to know I'll actually BE a therapist by the end of next year. It's a cool, but nerve-wracking feeling.

I've been bogged down with things lately, but I need to give a few shout outs to some awesome people who have contacted me recently.

First and foremost is Karen.. Karen's been my friend for over 10 years and our lives have gone the same direction career-wise. She's running in the AOTA elections for the OT-Vice Chair Person of the Assembly of Student delegates, so if you're an AOTA member... you need to vote for her! : )

I'd like to thank Justin., the Campus Relations Manager from RehabCare for my cool Blogspot t-shirt and for posting my journal on the RehabCare Blog! OT/PT students, you should definitely check out their site.

Next I'd like to thank Anita Hamilton for checking out my site. She's an OT educator from the University of Alberta in Canada. Her blog is dedicated to the use of technology in OT and education. It's awesome!

Time to get myself organized... I've already gotten my first week of reading assignments, as well as my assistantship assignment to get started on.

4 months till summer vacation... ; )

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 : )

Merry Christmas / Kwanzaa/ Hanukkah / Festivus : ) and Happy New Year! It's incredible how much can happen in life in just one short year. 2007 gave me so many new experiences, and brought some awesome new people in my life. I am truly blessed and thankful for the people in my life that continue to support and encourage me. I could not ask for more.

I'm on a much-needed vacation from Occupational Therapy school. I've been enjoying just relaxing, reading, playing my guitar, working at the hospital, going to the gym and being with my friends and family. I miss my OTS family, though and I'm psyched to start my next semester.

January 22nd starts my pediatric and mental health semester. I'm also starting Level I FIELDWORK already! I'll be working at a school with people between the ages of 3-21 with multiple disabilities, autism or other PDD's. I can't wait to write about my experiences (although I'll have to change many details, names, ages, etc as per HIPAA and all that fun legal stuff...).

I will also be a graduate assistant again this semester and I'll continue my weekend program for the children with Autism. I really enjoyed the experience last year and I feel so much more comfortable with the kids. They are so cool and they really look forward to coming to the group.

Oh and I can officially say that I'll be graduating next year....
Which is really almost 2 years since graduation is the end of next year. Does that make sense at all?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Throughout the semester I've received a bunch of emails from prospective occupational therapy students. Here are some of the Q's & A's I've compiled, hopefully it will help someone out!

So OT's the same thing as PT, right?

Not exactly. When people ask me what occupational therapy is, I usually start off with something like "It's a little like physical therapy...", just to get them in the right mindset. OT's take a movement and make it functional and meaningful to their client/patient. For example, a person recently had a hip replacement. This may be the first time they're using a walker and have 'hip precautions' which means certain things such as not flexing the hip past 90 degrees... so how do they maneuver around their small kitchen safely with a walker? and how do they get into their car without flexing their recovering hip? and if you can't bend over, how the heck do you get your shoes/socks/pants on? That's where occupational therapy comes in. We give people the strategies and tools necessary to adapt and compensate.
That's just a simple example of OT for physical dysfunction... OTs are very much known for upper extremity rehab including splinting. OT's help people with various diseases or disabilities who would like to live independent and meaningful lives. OTs take on so many roles, I'll probably have to write a post just about the various aspects of OT. It's pretty much awesome.

Can I get into OT school with a BA in Psychology?

YES!!! I got my degree in Psychology with a minor in Holistic Health. Looking back I don't think I could have chosen a better major for the field. The theories of psychology, sociology, and anthropology are definitely a part of the OT field. You need to have an understanding of people, including group processes, mental illness and cognitive behavioral theory. OT is holistic, you are never treating an arm/ injury / mental illness, you are treating a person which includes every aspect of that individual. You're looking into their social, spiritual, cultural and environmental contexts as much as their physical.

Schools are competitive, what should I do before applying?

First of all, decide the school/s that you're applying to and get to know their prerequisites as early as possible. Some schools want the GRE, some don't. Some want physics, others don't require it. (Like mine, thank goodness!). The one thing that helped me the most was being in the field before I applied. Volunteer, observe, or get a job with occupational therapists. Really KNOW what OT is before you decide that you want to make it your career. Check out more than one setting. I worked at a rehab hospital that is primarily older adults and geriatrics and I observed in an outpatient pediatric clinic. Get to know the therapists you work with and see if one will be your mentor. I have a few and they've been my biggest supports and most valuable resource in school.

Is school hard?
Er that's a tough one. I would not call it hard as much as I'd say it's an incredible test on your ability to adapt, prioritize and be flexible. I might change my mind about this one next semester when the course work becomes more intense, but as far as my first semester went, the biggest challenge is learning to keep up. There is no break. You work on a major project/presentation/paper and you don't get that "freedom" feeling, because the next huge project/presentation/paper is due in a few days. You learn to deal with it though, and everyone in your class is going through the same experience, so I definitely never felt alone.
My advice is to remember that OT school is a huge priority, but it's not your only 'occupation'. If you figure out your learning style, it's still possible to go out on weekends with friends, hit the gym regularly, or pick up the guitar to just jam out and relax. Balance is the key! So are catnaps...

Where can you work with a degree in Occupational Therapy?
Tons of places.
Hospitals, rehab hospitals (inpatient and outpatient), nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities, mental health facilities, group homes, home health, even in client's workplaces.
For more info check out this site....

Friday, November 30, 2007

I love school, but I'm ready for the semester to end. I am pathetic because some of the things I'm excited to do are: Organize my bookshelf (which has just accumulated insane amounts of books, articles, and random papers throughout the semester), reorganize my closet, and go back to work. Yes, simple things make me happy.

I have 7 more days of class and they are probably the most overwhelming days I'll have this semester. On Monday I'm running a group lab about self-advocacy with Leigh Ann. We'll be running an assertiveness training session. (THANK YOU KAREN for this suggestion.... Have I told you lately how awesome you are???). Anyway, I put together a powerpoint presentation with clips from the movie Office Space. I'll be having my group watch some clips, decide how the character could have been more assertive, then they'll act out the scene using assertiveness techniques.

On Tuesday I have to turn in a case-study (12 pages!) project about my patient who has OCD... I have to look at every aspect of the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework and decide where her deficits are, and determine some treatment ideas. It's actually pretty interesting.

Wednesday is task analysis day!!! My group had to videotape 3 people performing the same activity (turning on a faucet), and then break down each component, the type of movement, muscles and joints involved, etc etc. It doesn't seem difficult but it's just incredibly time consuming. We'll be working on that project all day on Sunday.

Thursday is my last medical terminology quiz!!! Woo!

The following week is finals week. : )

Time to get stuff done... I'll be posting a blog soon about questions I've gotten throughout the semester from prospective occupational therapy students. I'd love to help anyone I can because OT is awesome and as crazy as school can be, it's worth every minute of it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

As usual, I've been busy with life. We are winding down the last THREE weeks of the semester. I have some major major things coming up including a task analysis video presentation, a 12 page case study project, 5 exams, a lab practical, and I have to run a group lab about self-advocacy. I am so psyched to get this over with and go back to work... It'll be so cool because I'll be going to the rehab hospital with an entirely different perspective now. I understand things a little differently now that I have a new vantage point.

So anyway today was a very educational OT-Thanksgiving. Every year we go to my aunt & uncles house in Freehold for dinner, and every year I see Ron. Ron's been a friend of the family for as long as I remember. He's a really nice, smart guy and cool to talk with. About 10 years ago he was in a really horrific car accident which left him a C6 quadriplegic.

Ron is more of an occupational therapist than I can ever hope to be. He's adapted his home and car to meet his needs 100%. I hardly see any obstacles for Ron, because he's found a way to get around all of them somehow. He's great because he really wants to show me how he lives his day and functions independently. I'm going to make it my mission to make some sort of photo/video blog of how he goes about his day, because it's just incredible and he's eager to share it.

Time to sleep... the tryptophan is kicking it... and I don't even eat turkey.
Maybe it's just the sleep deprivation. : )

Monday, October 29, 2007

My teacher dismissed us a little early from class today because in so many words, she basically told us we looked like zombies and need to get some sleep. AHAHAHA. That's what OT school does to you.... but it's still awesome. : )

Midterms are here already. I don't know how that happened so fast. Weeks just fly by, and when one project is finally wrapped up, the next one is due already. My head is constantly spinning, but I'm really not that stressed. I've figured out what is important and how to prioritize, and I realize how important my non-OTS life is. I make time during the week to see a few friends, play my guitar, and get to the gym... although my power naps have pretty much come to an end. Going to work on Sundays is actually something I look forward to... I'm starting to 'see' myself treating patients, and I have a great support network at my job. It also helps that I get to move around all day and see a lot, rather than sit for hours on end and listen.

I'm on week 7 of my autism program, and each session makes me a little bit more comfortable with the kids. They are seriously adorable and each one is incredibly different in their social abilities. Up to this point I've just been assisting, but next weekend will be my first time running it independently. I'm a little nervous, but I need to do it. The session consists of a social circle, motor games like a parachute and dancing, an art project, a snack time (which is really supposed to be playing with food, but the kids would rather just sit there and eat it. lol). Most of them are really not orally or sensory defensive with the snacks we've brought... I guess that means I can be a little more creative soon. Jello?

Oh I've been checking out my blog statistics and it's been viewed from all over the country.. That is really awesome even tho I'm sure lots of hits were accidental. ; ) If you're a student, OT, or anyone else please feel free to comment or email me at

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm still here! OT school is getting busier, but it's still awesome. I'll write more soon about what we've been learning, but for now I'll post some pictures.

Rebecca and Sarah testing their equilibrium...
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I'm checking Michele's righting reactions even though she's too terrified to lift her feet. ; )
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Here are a few after-school shots....
Leigh-Ann and Jocelyn mixing up some cake or brownies...
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Alanna and I busting out the cookie cutters...
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy Anniversary to my Blog!

I probably won't post again till next week so I'll write this now... My OT blog is officially a year old! and what a year it has been... graduating college, applying for grad schools, stressing over interviews, getting accepted and finally getting started. It's been an awesome trip so far and at this time next year I'll be in my Level I fieldwork rotations... it's crazy. ;)


One month down, only two more to go. This is going insanely fast. A little too fast... I have so much to do and not enough time. I'm still overwhelmed but I don't think that that aspect will ever change, so I've learned to just deal with it. ; )

My class is becoming more cohesive and that is really awesome. We're starting to make plans to get together outside of the classroom. It's really incredible how you can become so comfortable with people in such a short period of time... I never thought that would happen.

We're diving into the OTPF now (uh, save me Karen!)

I had my first exam in Foundations of Motor Performance and it went great. We were tested on the cranial nerves (which I thought I would NEVER be able to memorize last year when I took anatomy...), sensory pathways like the DCML, axis of movement, and tons of other stuff that I'm bound to forget soon.... :/

This upcoming week I have to run a warm-up activity for my practice skills class on group dynamics. The activity I'm going to run is called "Two Truths and a Lie". Everyone will get an index card and will write 2 true facts about themselves and one false fact and the class will guess which one was the lie. I figured it's a good way for us to learn some unique things about each other, and in a therapeutic setting it's a great method of self-disclosure and opening up to the group. So we'll see how that works out!

I also have an exam in Science of Occupation, and an exam in Physical Clinical Conditions, as well as a quiz in Psychosocial Clinical Conditions this week. Yikes.

On Saturday's I assist with a program for children with autism and that's been pretty cool so far since it's my first experience with autism. On Sunday's I work at the rehab hospital. I'm also a member of SOTA so that includes some extra activities. Even with all this craziness I still manage to find a little time to enjoy my 'other' life (non-OTS-related), though not nearly enough! I've still been able to get to the gym about 4 times a week and I've been taking guitar lessons one night a week... trying to keep 'balanced'. ; ) oh and sometimes I sleep.... ;)

till next time....

Friday, September 21, 2007

School is going great and we're officially out of orientation mode and getting into the good/fun/entirelytoomuchtodo stuff. I really like my classmates, it's definitely an interesting blend of personalities, which is awesome. With the insane amount of group projects and presentations that we do, it's been easy getting to know new people.

Here's what's been going on in my classes this week:

OT Practice Skills: We're learning about group dynamics and group processes. We're discussing Leadership Roles as well as group membership norms and roles. The idea is for us to get an idea of what we're going to encounter when we run therapy groups... the types of behavior that we'll see, and how we use the roles of the members to reach the goals. We've discussed a 7 step process of running a group and eventually we'll be implementing our own group. My group is on self-advocacy. We've been doing a lot of role playing with group roles and OT group demonstrations.

Psychosocial Clinical Conditions: We started off by breaking down the DSM-IV and looking at what each axis encompasses. We're looking at things one condition at a time, and this week was schizophrenia. I mentioned in an earlier post about our simulated schizophrenia experience. This week we had a schizophrenic man come and talk to us about his experiences and it was just incredible. I'd love to write more about him because he's a fascinating story, but I have a great fear/respect for HIPPA. Anyway he had delusions, which are false beliefs that he held to be true in his own mind. They really controlled his life, and ultimately effected his performance skills and performance patterns (yeah I had to bust out the OTPF for that one). The neurology of SZ is very interesting, such as a decrease in the size of the limbic system and an increase in the size of the lateral ventricles.

Foundations of Motor Performance: We're learning a tonnnnnnn of information in this class. Kinesiology, osteokinematics, arthrokinematics, biomechanics of functional movement, ROM, motion analysis, skeletal anatomy, physics of movement, basic goniometry.... ah! We're also doing vital signs, respiration rate, pulse and blood pressure. I really need to train my ears to hear those dang Korotkoff sounds. My professor used the dual-head stethoscope and tapped me when she heard it start and end and I hardly heard anything. I brought home a steth and a cuff to practice with so EVERYONE is getting their pressure taken.... family, friends, cat (?) will be getting their vitals taken until I get this down.

Science of Occupation: This class is basically about the theory and philosophy of OT. As important as this information is, it lacks the zest of the other classes. We've been talking a little about observing events around us and trying to figure out the occupational significance of these activities. We had an entire class on how to use the library resources and health databases... I found some of it very helpful. Next week we're supposed to dive into the OT Practice Framework which I'm excited about because that's the document we base our entire careers on in a way.

Physical Clinical Conditions: In this class, like Psych clinical, we're going through it condition by condition. We already learned about cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and now we're discussing burns. We're really just covering the basics of symptoms, prevalence, etiology, etc. We touch on the OT's role but not in depth about treatment and I really wish we did... but that's covered in another class. We're doing case studies and chart reviews. We're also doing a book report on a disability of our choice..... of course I chose TBI! The book I'm reading is called "Where is the Mango Princess?"

This weekend I'm starting my program for autistic children called Circle of Friends. I'm definitely a little nervous/anxious about this... it's my first experience with autism. This weekend I can sit back and watch though because the children have a music program the first week. My job begins next week. Part of my job is to videotape the sessions because they are being coded by OTs for different social components.

Also as part of my GA I had to find assessment tools that we're going to use for the group. I had a hard time finding them at first but once I found one, I found a ton. So if anyone is looking for good valid and reliable skill assessment tools check out...


Western Psychological Services


That's all the rambling I can handle for tonight. : )

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some things money can't buy.

Cost of Fall semester textbooks.... $500.
Cost of the commute to school.... $40 a week.
Learning activity analysis by watching Richard Simmons.......


Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 3

On to week three and I'm still loving OT school. The awesome thing is that it's not extremely difficult, it is just extremely overwhelming. Most things make sense to me and I cannot express enough how helpful it is to work in a rehab hospital. There's not a day that goes by that I don't learn about something I saw at the hospital. I have a lot of moments where things suddenly make more sense and seem more practical. To anyone considering OT school.... WORK IN REHAB I swear life will be a little easier.

Oh I'm now a note-taker for two of my classes. . . I had a car issue over the weekend that set me back quite a few dollars, and it was definitely fate that this job opportunity opened up today, so of course I jumped on it.

Here's some of the excitement I have coming up:
- Quizzes every Tuesday on Psychosocial Clinical Conditions.
- Mental Health- professional areas of practice research paper and 30 minute powerpoint presentation to the class.
- Professional behavior assessment paper
- 5 midterm exams.
- Case study project
- Quizzes every Monday for OT Practice Skills
- Plan and implement a self-advocacy OT group with Leigh-Ann
- Run a 'warm-up' for a group therapy session.
- Brain, Cranial Nerve and Dermatome charts
- Lifespan task analysis group observation guidelines and presentation.
- Exams on Muscles of UE, LE, Trunk and Shoulder.
- Motor performance lab practical exam.
- 5 final exams.
- 24 hour activity log
- Occupational Profile project / Frame of Reference project
- 3 community observation logs
- APA Writing paper/presentation with Cathy
- Medical Terminology quiz every Thursday
- Illness/disability awareness book report.

Hmm, that's all I can think of for now.... it'll be nice to start crossing things off that list as I accomplish them.

Time to exercise and get to work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Today was interesting. In Psychosocial Clinical Conditions (which I believe will be one of my fav classes, I looooove psych), we got to be schizophrenic! We learned some of the basic etiology, incidence (did you know the onset of symptoms is usually in the 20's? Ah!), diagnosis and next week we're going to cover methods of treatment, and the OT's role in intervention.

We had a guest speaker come in from Atlantic County mental health and she gave us a taste of what it feels like to be schizophrenic. We had to wear earphones and listen to tapes made by schizophrenic patients with recordings of their actual auditory hallucinations. We had to do different activities (play a game of pictionary with a group, go on a scavenger hunt around the school which included asking people for directions, etc, and taking a few IQ/brain teaser type of tests). I found the tests incredibly hard to do, and I probably reread each question 5 times before it made any sense. Hearing voices (particular ones telling you to push someone into traffic) really isn't something you can zone out while trying to focus on another task. What a horrible disease. I can't wait to see the types of OT intervention we can offer to these patients.

We also had our first SOTA meeting today.

I have a lot to get done tonight and i'm beat. Power naps have become an essential part of my life this week. . . and coffee and green tea.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Week 2.

I'm still too exhausted and overwhelmed to write much. I've had four of my classes, and my final one is tomorrow. I spent a long time just organizing my syllabi and trying to condense it into one manageable timeline. Hopefully I can manage. ; ) But to sum it all up....... I seriously LOVE OT SCHOOL. My professors are awesome, the girls in my class are great and I'm starting to get to know them better. People are incredibly supportive, the 2nd year students had a lunch for us today and gave us a pep talk.

We spent the first week mostly in orientation mode going over all (325325432523) assignments, exams, presentations, research projects, essays, quizzes and observations we are expected to do this semester.

With that in mind I should probably get started on something.....

Oh I got this quote in an email today, how appropriate:

Bite off more than you can chew,
then chew it.
Plan more than you can do,
then do it.

- Anonymous

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

and so it begins...

Well I made it through my first day. :) I'm too exhausted to write much about it, but I can tell already that this semester is going to be really fun, challenging, exhausting, etc etc.. My classmates seem really cool and it's nice that I'll be going through this with the same 20 people for the next two years.

I'll write more soon once I settle in.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Tomorrow's my first day of graduate school.... MSOT here I come.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I am a horrible horrible procrastinator when I don't want to do something. I can always think of something more important to do (ie, burn CDs or watch my turtle do absolutely nothing in it's tank...).

Just thought I'd share that because from this point on I vow to stay focused and not slack off. After I file my nails I will work on this paper, I promise.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Woah, a miracle..

Wow, two posts in one day... that'll never happen again. Karen was asking me about my book list for this semester, so I thought I'd share a glimpse at the latest additions to my bookshelf. I'm a little overwhelmed looking at all of them, but at least the spines are pretty and make my bookshelf look colorful and exciting... (way to see the silver lining, Patti...)

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Motor Control: Theory and Practical Application – 2nd Edition. Shumway-Cook, A. & Woollacott, M. (2001) Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Muscles, Nerves and Movement In Human Occupation – 3rd Edition. Tyldesley, B & Grieve J.I. (2002).

Illustrated Essentials of Musculoskeletal Anatomy – 4th Edition. Sieg, K.W. & Adams, S.P. (2002).

Anatomy of Movement. Calais-Germain, B. (1993). Eastland Press

OCTH 5110: Foundations of Motor Performance Course Lecture Notes & Resources.

Bonder, B. (2004). Psychopathology and Function, 3rd ed. Thorofare, NJ:

Neistadt, M. & Crepeau, E.B.(1998). Willard and Spackman’s Occupational Therapy

Gylys, B., & Master, R. (2005), Medical Terminology Simplified: A Programmed
Learning Approach by Body Systems with Interactive Media

Atchison, B, Dirette, D. & Hansen, R. (2006) Conditions is Occupational
Therapy: Effects on Occupational Performance, 3nd, Ed.
Time to blog again, it's been a while... I don't even know where to start. Karen, I'm very impressed with your blog. It's cool that my friend is famous in the online OT world. ; ) I saw your letter in OT Practice and bragged about you to my coworkers.

Thursday was my last day of full time work at the rehab hospital till next summer. I'm going to miss it so much, but I know it's just another step on the path toward my future. It's been such an intense journey so far... I remember being so stressed about the application and interview process. (As you can probably tell from earlier posts). I didn't think I was going to make it this far so fast, it's all a blur. There's a girl doing her volunteer hours at the hospital as part of her prereq's before applying... and I thank God that I'm not in her shoes anymore. I was so anxious during the entire application phase and it feels good to have that part over with. : )

My summer has been incredible for the most part. It was one of the fastest summers of my life. I decided to leave my summer job of the past 6 years to work full time at the hospital, and that was probably the best choice I've made in a while. It's hard to break away from something you're so comfortable with, but if I didn't allow it to happen I'd have missed out on so much. I've had so many new experiences and I've met so many people and I've made some awesome new friends. I went to Washington DC, Baltimore, Catskill Mountains and Atlantic City. I saw some awesome concerts, and went on weekend bar/club/band/restaurant tours with one of my best friends. I finally dusted off my guitar and learned a few chords (thank you Anita). I also had my very first professional massage.

Next week I have orientation and I get to buy my boatload of textbooks and notebooks which will soon cover every inch of my bedroom... ; )

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The realization that I'll be starting graduate school in less than six weeks hit me hard this week. It could be the fact that I met with some of my professors for my grad assistantship assignment, and was already assigned a six page lit review/essay to be completed before school starts, or maybe it was the emails I received today from each professor giving me multiple chapters to read for each class, with quizzes to be awaiting me on the first day of class. Or maybe the realization hit me the hardest when I looked up the prices for the 11 textbooks and manuals I have to buy. I swear it's a crime to charge that much.

As crazy as it sounds, I live for the excitement that a new semester brings. Even though I'm already feeling the pressure of what awaits... I get my motivation from knowing I'll have a challenge ahead. My philosophy has always been that nothing worth having should be easy to get. I've worked extremely hard just to get this far, and I haven't even begun. Grad school is just the next step, and the real learning experience will begin when I'm an OT with patients of my own.

Oh, and I'm also psyched about buying school supplies. There's something about blank notebooks and new high-lighters that gives me the sense of a fresh start. ; ) ...yeah, I'm strange like that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Waiting, Watching, Wishing...

July is already here, that's insane! Things are going well for the most part. Graduate school starts in less than 9 weeks, and I have less than 35 days of work. (But who's counting?...). I'm psyched, a little anxious, but mostly psyched. Life as I know it is going to be different... but I'm sure it's a good different.

One of my soon-to-be professors wrote to me about a potential graduate assistantship option. It involves planning and facilitating a social skills group for autistic children down in Long Beach Island. It's a ten week program on Saturdays throughout the semester. Now this is something entirely out of my comfort zone... which is also a reason it appeals to me. My intentions up to this point have always been to work with neuro/psych patients, primarily geriatrics and stroke/TBI. These next two years will be my best chance to see every option I have and to truly define my area of passion in the OT field. Like anything in life, if you never give something a chance, you might miss an awesome opportunity or experience. So I'm going to meet with the professor to discuss the project, and I'll probably take her up on the offer. One of my goals in grad school is to become a braver person, and to be more willing to try new things.

Finally, I was emailed an awesome OT treatment plan website by the creator of This is going to be extremely useful when we start learning about evaluating and treating pediatrics. I can't wait to see this site grow. Thanks for sharing it with me! It'd be cool if there as a huge database out there like this for all populations and conditions that we see in OT.

Till next time!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm back from my brief blogging hiatus. I'm going to attempt to make it a more regular thing from this point on. Summer has officially begun and one of my coworkers, a Level II fieldwork student advised me to use this summer as my chance to spend as much time with my friends and family as possible... apparently once September comes around, my life will be taken over by textbooks and therapy clinics. (Which I am extremely excited about. Yes, I'm a nerd). So I've been doing just that- I went on a vacation to Baltimore/DC with my dad, I've caught up with a few college friends and previous coworkers, and I've made a few really awesome new friends at my job. There's really nothing more incredible than meeting people who share your interests, values, and especially your passion for learning.

As far as my OT life these days- Two recreational therapists from our long-term care program asked me if I'd be interested in helping them start up a type of community integration group with a few higher level residents. We'd get them involved in planning and implementing their own outings. For example if they decided they wanted to see a movie, they'd need to check for times, prices and location, they'd need to tell their therapist if they were going to miss therapy, etc. Hopefully this idea will be put into action... I'll have to get on that!

I'll write more soon. I need some sleep!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today I had a really cool experience and discovered a branch of rehab that shares a lot of connections with OT. This afternoon I was invited on an outing with a recreation therapist, and two of our brain injured residents. It was a beautiful day so we went to the boardwalk at Seaside Heights.

The major lessons I learned today were about patience and accessibility. I am reminded over and over again how our society is set up for people with a lot of mobility and not for people with physical limitations. For people with physical or mental disabilities, every aspect of life takes a little more planning, problem-solving and patience.

I took one of the patients into an arcade to play some games. Not one game in the place was set up for easy accessibility for a customer that needs to use a wheelchair. Sure, the chairs under the slot machines were able to be moved, but the metal bases were so heavy that even I struggled to move them over so she could reach the game. After the arcade we went for pizza... which should be an easy thing to get at Seaside considering every other shop is a pizzeria. I took a look into a few of them and realized that the tables or isles were much too close together to fit the patients chair through. I finally found one that would fit her comfortably and safely. I have been taught that as therapists, our job is to give our patients all of the options of the norm, but I now see how difficult it can be for disabled people to have these options if the environment doesn't allow for it. Luckily, the environment is a factor that can be changed... although it's not always that simple to tell a business to remove some tables and widen the isles to accommodate handicapped people. We still have a long way to go in terms of disability rights... more than I ever thought.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I r not ADL!

Karen you will appreciate this, I'm sure. :)

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm really excited that my blog has already gone international! Thanks to my newfound OT's in New Zealand for checking me out and leaving comments. It's going to be so interesting to see how blogs and web journals will help in our profession, especially on a global level. Links are posted on the right!

I know this is way too early to talk about, and I have no intention of limiting my education by any means- but it's going to be cool to see where I "end up" in the OT field. One thing that attracted me to OT is that the possibilities and opportunities are really endless. I can work with kids, adults, or elderly adults. I can work with brain injury, sensory integration, orthopedics, mental health, assistive technology, education, research... it goes on and on.

Although I have a lot more to see out there, I find myself being drawn to brain injury and stroke patients in particular. Their recovery fascinates me the most because it's so variable on so many levels. Nothing is ever exactly the same from patient to patient and the OT needs to engage in every system of the person to see the best outcome possible. Not only must an OT have an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise to help their patient physically, but it's essential that they also have empathy and compassion for the PERSON they are treating.

I've studied psychology for the past four years, and I can really see it's significance when I observe people with strokes (or any other disease or injury, for that matter!). To many patients, it's a tragedy. It's a terrifying, confusing tragedy. I can't even imagine not being able to understand what people are telling me, or even worse, not be able to express what I need. I encountered my first experience with Global Aphasia today where the patient couldn't express or comprehend spoken language. Sometimes I see patients cry, sometimes I notice that they are frustrated and angry, and oftentimes they are scared about what has happened to them. I see now how important it is for a therapist to allow their patient to acknowledge their emotions. We need to let (or even encourage) our patients to express how they are feeling inside. Emotions are what make us real. Sometimes all we need to do is extend a compassionate hand to hold, and pass over the tissues.


In other news, I received the Graduate Assistantship. :) It will cover 1/3 of my tuition bill, which is fabulous. It's going to be a lot of work and is a huge time commitment. I'm in for one busy year! 17 more weeks!

I received some great quotes that I found inspirational:

Keep away from people
who try to belittle your ambitions.
Small people always do that,
but the really great make you feel
that you, too, can become great.

- Mark Twain

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~ William James

If I can truly make a difference in just one person's life,
within my lifetime, my life would not have been in vain. ~unknown

Friday, April 27, 2007

To anyone who may read this (which is like 3 people, lol), please check out my friend Karen's OT student blog that she recently made...

I think it's an awesome idea to write about your experiences as a student and even as a clinician. It's so good to know I'm not alone in my hopes/fears/dreams! I know we'll be able to look back at this one day and appreciate what we've been through... we'll be better therapists for it, and hopefully more understanding teachers when it's time to mentor our own students.

Karen I think it's great that you get to practice with real patients already. That's what I'm looking forward to the most. As an OT tech, I'm extremely limited in the amount of hands-on interaction I can have with patients (which is understandable). It's nice to observe, ask some questions and try to figure things out without having any of the responsibility... but I'm already starting to crave it!

So I registered for my Fall classes, and my schedule looks like this:
~Foundations of Motor Performance
~ Clinical Conditions: Physical
~ Clinical Conditions: Psychosocial
~Science of Occupation
~ OT Practice Skills I.
I also applied to be a graduate assistant, so I'm waiting to hear back about that. School starts in 19 weeks, and as excited as I am, I am definitely not going to rush the summer along! I need to enjoy this one! ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Follow your dreams... except the one when you're at school in your underwear.

Patient: Hey Patti, are you an occupational terrorist?

HAHAHAHA. I like that one. Here are some lessons that I've learned so far during my short career in the rehab field. I hope to add to this as my life experiences continue...

Lessons from OT:
... Having the ability to listen and understand is more powerful than knowing the right things to say.
... A person's recovery is as unique as their fingerprints, you are never dealing with the same thing twice.
... Some questions might sound dumb, but they still need to be asked.
.... You will spend a great deal of effort helping someone out of bed, into their clothes and into their wheelchair. But once you head for the door, they will inevitably need to use the bathroom.
... There is no job duct tape can't handle.
... If you show passion in your job, you can see its reflection in your patients attitude and outcome.
... It's okay not to know everything, I'm sure even doctors need to use Google every now and then.
... Every day holds a learning experience, even when it's something you really didn't want to learn. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hoppy Easter and OT Month!

Ryan doing an eval on a new pt...

Ryan: How old are you?
Patient: 93
Ryan: What's the secret?
Patient: Well I worked all my life, and I drank three glasses of whiskey.
Ryan: Every day?
Patient: Yes
Ryan: So you were hammered every day?
Patient: Yes.

~~~~~~~~ OT Bits of Wisdom....

Me: How long have you been married?
Patient: 48 years.
Me: Wow! What is the secret to a long marriage?
Patient: Compromise... and knowing when to shut your mouth.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Time for an update, as per death threats from Karen, my Memphis-OT-sister! (whom I need to visit this summer!) Life has been good, and a heavy weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I know I'll begin my OT education in just a few short months. It's going to be interesting to start learning more about what I see in practice every day at work. I try my best to observe and listen to everything that goes on during therapy, but there's so much I need to learn. Some of my friends recently got their licenses and it's really cool to watch their transition from tech and student to therapist... is that really going to be me one day?

I got to be a pseudo-OT last weekend with my grandma in PA, so of course I felt super cool. I made sure everything she uses frequently was within easy reach in her kitchen and bedroom and I removed an area rug. Her biggest concern was finding a way to get her bedside commode bucket to the bathroom, while still being able to use her RW. I showed her a slide/pass technique she could use by making little 'reststops' for the bucket along the way. She seemed more confident about it after she tried it. My grams apartment is much too small/smoky/creepy to stay at, but one of my favorite OT friends (who happens to live only about 15 mins from my grandma!) graciously welcomed me for the weekend. I swear God brings people into my life for a reason... I'm incredibly blessed.

So all in all, everything is good. I'm trying to make the most of my last few months of real freedom! I'm catching up with some old friends, and many of my friends are graduating college next month. I'm reading some books for "fun" (as in non-educational for once!), and I'm working hard on keeping up my gym routine. Till next time!

Monday, March 12, 2007

This is why I love my job.

After transporting a patient to OT...

Patient: I wanted to tell you earlier when you were in front of me.. You have the cutest little hiney.

Patti: .... thanks. Little? I think it's big!

Patient: Oh no! You're very proportional!

AHAHAHAHAHA. Pain killers will make people say anything, I swear. :)


While chatting with a patient who was laying on a mat...

Patti: My dad retired from the Army.

Patient: What does he do now?

Patti: He drives for a company.

Patient: Oh he died?! God rest his soul.

Patti: No no... not died.. he DRIVES.

Patient: Oh god rest his soul.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Arriving at one point is the starting point to another.


I wish I could put into words how I feel right now... but it's just impossible. I feel like suddenly everything is falling into place and I just feel SO GOOD! Woo! I've worked so hard for this for so long, and now it's in my hands. I know my journey has only begun and I have an incredible amount of things to learn... but to know that soon I will be helping people who've had strokes or other injuries become independent again is such an empowering feeling. I want to be the best therapist possible and I am so blessed that I have people in my life who are guiding me in the right direction.

Yes, I took a picture of my acceptance letter... because I AM that cool. ;)
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Today was such an emotional day!!! I actually cried when I found out that I got into school. I never cry! But it felt so good! I feel like I can breathe again, as crazy as that sounds... I was sweatin' it for a while! :)

I'm going to OT school!

"When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it" ~ W. Clement Stone.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sitting, waiting, wishing...

Patti calling her 8-year-old sister to see if "The Letter" came:

Patti: Laurel, did I get any mail?
Laurel: Yep!
Patti: Are the envelopes big or small?
Laurel: Really big!
Patti: YES! Who's it from???
Laurel: Ummmm... The inter...nal...

Ugh. Still no letters, but at least my tax return came. ;)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

There and back again...

I'm waiting not-so-patiently for the acceptance/rejection letters to arrive at my doorstep. (But more importantly right now, I'm waiting not-so-patiently for my friend to get here so we can go out for sushi...)

So while I wait, I think that it's important for me to write about how I've come to the place I'm at now. And what better way to start than from the beginning... my birth. (Mini-autobiography ahead, you can stop reading now if you want, this could take a while.)

I was born Oct 22 (making me a libra and I fit every trait of it), 1984, in Mannheim, Germany. My dad was in the army, which meant that we up and moved every 3 years. We moved from Germany to Louisiana, to Pennsylvania, to Hawaii and finally to NJ. It was a hard thing as a kid to pack up and leave as soon as I felt comfortable, but it really helped me become more willing to try new things and it gave me so many life experiences. I still keep in touch with my best friend from Erie, and my best friend from Hawaii. I've found, however, as I get older, I really have a desire for consistency and comfort, if that makes sense. It took a lot of bravery for me to finally quit a job that was breaking me down, because I was so comfortable there.

As far as my family life- I was an only child for 14 years. I thought that I was perfectly happy that way, until my sister was born 8 years ago. My mom says she is exactly like me (whether that is good or bad, I'm not sure sometimes!) But to me, she is brilliant, funny and full of life. Maybe too much life... even dinnertime is a broadway production at our house. and yes, we have the same parents.. that's not something a lot of people can say! She is my little friend, comedian and personal chef, and I can only hope that as she grows older, she'll always trust me and come to me for anything.

Since first grade, I have been to 8 different schools. I always enjoyed going to school. I guess I was always a bit of a nerd, and school wasn't a chore for me. As a child, my ambition was to become an astronaut (I currently hate planes!), then it switched to a pharmacist, and finally an occupational therapist (which I feel surpasses an astronaut or pharmacist any day!).

When we moved to NJ, we were going to buy my great aunts house. When plans fell through with that, we ended up living with her for our first year and a half in NJ before building our own home. Aunt Jeanne became like a second mother to me. She was always there for me, she cheered me on at karate tournaments, she came to all my concerts and shows at school, and she would do anything for me or for my family, she's just that kind of person.

I remember sitting in my dorm one night when I received a call from my dad. He told me Aunt Jeanne was in the hospital and she was on life support and would probably not make it through the night. I remember feeling crushed and helpless. This can't happen to her, it's just not possible. Dad picked me up from Rutgers the following day and took me home to see her. I can't describe who I saw, but it just wasn't her. Weeks turned into months, and she only got worse. She was attached to a respirator and she had a feeding tube. I was losing my faith and was preparing for the worst at that point. She was in a coma for weeks, and in a way, I felt like I was in one too.

Some kind of miracle happened, though. Very slowly she seemed to come back... week by week they removed her machines... first the ventilator, then the feeding tube... she came alive again and it was incredible. She wasn't able to speak yet because of a tracheotomy and it was incredibly frustrating for her to communicate. She pulled through this, but her difficult journey had only begun.

She started rehab at HealthSouth.... which was the turning point of my life, as much as hers. This was the first time I had been exposed to occupational therapy. I remember meeting her OT, Stephanie, and all I can think was "where is she going to start?" (Speaking OT lingo here, she was definitely max A x 2!) Aunt Jeanne lived alone, she was independent, that's how she wanted it. She just came back from death, there's no way she can be alone again. Her physical therapist, Grania, got her back on her feet again and helped her regain her strength and mobility, and OT gave her back her life. She learned energy conservation techniques with assistive devices, she regained confidence in her ability to get around her home, bathroom, and kitchen. She learned medication management techniques, and she was given lots of adaptive equipment to make her recovery easier. Her OT also helped her regain the function of her hands, which were incredibly weak. Aunt Jeanne's biggest fear was that she would be unable to return home again, and OT helped her abolish that fear.

Aunt Jeanne is home now, watching soap operas and playing Slingo on the computer while her fat cat sits on her lap. She is driving and substitute nursing at the local elementary schools. She's active in the emergency management team in our community. And once again, she was there to cheer me on while I walked across the graduation stage to get my college diploma.

I never thought I'd find something in life that I would be so passionate about. Discovering OT has given my life a new meaning, and has given me such an appreciation for life and for people.

I'm so happy to be working at HealthSouth now, even if I am just a lowly technician for the time being. I learn something about OT and about myself each and every day, and that's all I could ask for. My co-workers have become my teachers, and a certain few are like big sisters that I've never had. I love to wake up in the morning and go to work because I know every day is going to bring something new to my life. I'm sure this all sounds sappy, but OT has really changed me in a lot of ways, and I'm becoming the person I want to be. I just hope that one day I can return the favor to someone, and have a positive impact on their life like they have on mine.

So that's Patti-in-a-nutshell.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Nothing in my way...

I survived my Kean and Stockton interviews. My biggest problem is that I get myself anxious over nothing. Both interviews went very well and I left both of them feeling calm and comfortable. In all honesty, I liked the Stockton interview better... I felt like they ran it more professionally. I went in and it was a group of 8 interviewees. Dr. Schindler gave a brief power point presentation about the program (Kean didn't do anything like this), and we were introduced to the faculty. We then divided into interview groups. I was interviewed by Diane Durham and Kim Furphy. They were both incredibly nice and made me feel so at ease. I had no problem answering the questions. I'll find out if I got into either school in a few weeks!!!

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Oh I have to write this so I'll remember.... This morning I received a picture text from some of the OTs I work with holding a "Good luck" sign. I thought that was the nicest thing ever. I am incredibly lucky to work with such supportive people, it makes a world of difference. I've never had this kind of support before and it's the best feeling ever. I hope I can repay them someday for everything.

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The best part about this pic are the 4 people in it... they are the best mentors ever.
Susan, Barb and Robin are the OT's who have really taken me under their wing, and Stephanie is the first OT I've ever met when my aunt was a patient at HealthSouth. The irony. :) I want to be like them when I'm a therapist. I appreciate so much the time they take to explain what/why they're doing certain exercises during therapy. Now that I know how much we students appreciate any advice we can get, I'll try to do the same for future OT's one day!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Carry me on my way...

I've reached another step toward my goal, and it's probably the most exciting and terrifying step so far!!! Interviews!

My first interview is tomorrow morning at Kean University. Up to this point I had decided that it's not my top choice but I feel like I'm not quite sure about that anymore. Stockton is my top choice, but I also just graduated from there. It might be a nice change to try a new school and see what else is out there. I'm sure the interviews will help me make a better decision, so we'll see what happens!

At this point, I just want to get in and get started. Either school is fine and both will lead me to my destination.... but each will bring it's own set of unique experiences, challenges and opportunties... and that will make all the difference. Or maybe i'm just too philosophical. Either way, I should be sleeping!

Friday, January 19, 2007

A little doubt goes a long way...

Wow I had a major scare yesterday. The application deadline is in less than two weeks and I found out that Admissions had never seen or received my application yet. I don't know if it got "lost" or misplaced or if there's some scam going on there (hey you never know!!!), but after some serious harassing (aka: calling every department X 2), they found it!

In the meantime I had reprinted everything and was getting ready to apply all over.

Jeeze, my little thought blog is turning into a soap opera. I guess calling it the "Envelope of Fate" earlier wasn't so dramatic after all!

... Relax, Patti... relax.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You're in the middle of the ride...

I graduated college on December 17th. It feels like a lifetime of anticipation flashed before me- before I even had the chance to understand the reality of it. Everything I have learned so far throughout my life has molded me into the person that I am today. The experiences I have had, and the new ones I now encounter make me look at the world with new eyes, with my view changing every time I blink. It's a world of change, and that's a powerful but extremely exciting thing to me.

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I've been thinking a lot about my future lately (as graduating college tends to make a person do!). I've realized that I've had so many experiences in my 22 years of life, most good, some bad. Either way, every experience has taught me a lesson about who I am and where I'm going in my life. There's a poem that was read during my graduation ceremony that puts things in perspective for me. Posted below is Ithaka by Constantine P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings
when, with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things, mother of pearl and
coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become,
so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then
what these Ithakas mean.

I believe that this poem explains the journey that life takes, the struggles involved, the knowledge we seek and the wisdom we eventually gain. The only negativity that we experience comes when we allow it to join along for the ride. There's no reason to rush through any parts of life, because if we do, we're missing lifetime opportunities that are right in front of us. We are reminded that it's not the destination that makes us who we are, it's the experiences we've had along the journey that define us.
Ah I love poetry... I am a nerd.


On another note- the graduate school applications are officially mailed out! As crazy as it sounds- shipping them off was an experience in itself! It's like all my years of work were reduced to an envelope. The Envelope of Fate. ... (okay that might sound a little dramatic, even for me.) So it's out of my control for now.

Until then I wait.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The future's open wide. . .

It's incredible how one morning you're being dropped off in your dorm room for the first time, with every emotion you ever felt suddenly coming out all at once. Then the next thing you know you're applying to graduate - and all those emotions come back again. In a way, they come back for the same reasons as the first time. You're excited about the huge world ahead of you, you're terrified at the uncertainty of the future... but then again, this is a moment you've been dreaming about since you can remember.

I've decided to blog about this major transition I'm about to face. Partially so I can look back and chart my progress, and partially because I'm the only person in the world who hasn't made a blog. (I once saw a blog someone made just about their cat, so I must be way behind). Anyway- Here goes the journey from being an undergraduate, to the graduate school process, to hopefully the Occupational Therapist.