The class of 2016 recently completed their first level II fieldwork, with student placements ranging in various settings and across the lifespan to gain clinical experience in preparation for entry-level practice. Students were matched with a clinical instructor (CI) to guide their learning experience in basic principles of occupational therapy including evaluations and screenings, intervention planning, management of OT services, as well as communication and professional skill building. Students from the class of 2016 have shared their experience with us below:
Puja Gohel was placed at Loma Linda Medical Center in the Acute Care/Trauma Level I working with the adult population who were treated for conditions including traumatic brain injury, stroke, motor vehicle accident, orthopedic and cardiac conditions, and spinal cord injuries. Working in this setting was fulfilling and rewarding as Puja states, “My time here at LLUMC has been eye opening. I have learned how to be confident while working with a patient who has multiple lines hanging off them and in excruciating pain. I have learned how to think on my feet when unexpected situations arise during session. I have had the pleasure of co-treating many times with physical therapists, and learning how to approach a difficult patient as a team.“ For the class of 2017, Puja offers great advice, “Form a strong relationship with your CI, and don’t be afraid to be honest and talk about your concerns! I had such an amazing CI as well as staff to work with.”
Amanda Shea completed her fieldwork in Columbia, SC at a pediatric outpatient clinic and worked with diagnoses including: Downs Syndrome, ADHD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delay, and Angelman’s Syndrome. The time Amanda spent working with these kids taught her that, “Each session with a child is important. No matter how well or not so well the patient is doing it still matters. We make a difference in kids’ lives, and they and their parents will remember!” Amanda also shared a touching & very personal experience during her fieldwork:
“It was one o’clock and I was waiting for my next patient to arrive. I looked out the window and saw, not my patient, but little Pinocchio coming up the walkway. I laughed so hard because it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. He was dressed in red shorts with big black buttons buttoned on the front, thick yellow straps to imitate suspenders, a red hat with a feather sticking out of it, and a brown wrapped up piece of paper for a long nose strapped around his face. I knew this session would be an interesting one.
For the sake of confidentiality we will call this patient Jasper. Jasper really liked to talk. A lot. The hardest part about this kid was not getting him to do his work, but getting him to stop talking long enough to do his work. Today, however, Jasper wanted to talk about Jesus, and I did not try and stop him. He was swinging on the swing, and I told him that Pinocchio was swallowed by a big fish. Jasper looks up and says, “Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, too.” I was so shocked and happy that this little boy knew who Jonah was and was not afraid to say it out loud. As we swung on the swing Jasper pretended he was Jonah in the belly of the whale.
As we made our way to our OT room, Jasper sat down and continued talking in high-pitched voice. He thought of how scared Jonah must have been in the whale. I assured him that he was okay because Jesus was with him. He said, “Do you know who Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are?” He said their names clean and clear. I stated that, yes, I did know who they were. He said, “Well, they were in a fire place but they did not get burned, because Jesus was with them too and protected them, just like Jonah.” I was having a rough day, and hearing that Jesus is always with us gave me that extra bit of strength I needed. Whenever you are feeling alone, remember Jasper’s words that Jesus is with you and will protect you.
Tiffany Loiurio completed her fieldwork at a skilled nursing facility in San Diego, CA working with clients from ages 50-100 who are experiencing conditions like dementia, stroke, hip and knee replacements, spinal surgery, and falls. Tiffany shares her growth during her placement process, OT coursework, and how previous experience as an RN shaped her time, “Throughout this fieldwork I learned to become efficient with goal setting, my observation skills, and the FIM levels. Gross Anatomy, Professional Foundations, General Medicine Conditions/A & I, Functional Neuroscience, Ortho Conditions/A & I, and lastly Neuro Conditions/A & I all prepared me for this fieldwork. As a nurse, I was able to utilize my time management, organizational skills, and ability for therapeutic use of self. The fact that I am a good communicator and not afraid to ask for help, or ask questions contributed to my learning experience at this facility.”
Compiled and written by:
Natasha Safaradi, OTS
MOT Class of 2016