Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MOT IIs Begin Level II Fieldwork

Last week, our MOT IIs started their Level II Fieldwork.  For 24 weeks, the students will be participating in full-time clinical fieldwork in a variety of settings, including: acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, schools, pediatric hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, community mental health, hand therapy, and industrial rehabilitation.

Prior to beginning fieldwork, some of our MOT IIs let us know how they felt about moving from the classroom to the fieldwork portion of the Master of Occupational Therapy curriculum.

“I can only hope that during my Level IIs, all the knowledge my teachers have given me and all the extracurricular activities required of my classes will set me up to be a great occupational therapist. Yes, it is scary to think I will no longer be worrying about what grade I got on an assignment, but what impact I really made on a person’s life…I am excited to apply what I have learned and make a difference in people’s lives for the better.” –Kiley

“How do I feel about heading into fieldwork? I’m excited, nervous, happy, anxious, and relieved! Some students are saying they will miss school. Although I feel a great sense of relief, I know that I have a great deal of learning ahead of me. I must go to fieldwork and apply everything I have learned in a real OT setting.  I must acclimate myself, and absorb as much knowledge as I can. I’m incredibly nervous about it! I recognize that although I’ve made it over a very large hurdle, I must finish this race. I will not be finished until I pass my fieldwork!”—Kristin

“It feels surreal to be at this point in my education. I can clearly remember the day I received a phone call from SLU saying that I had been accepted into the OT program. There were many times throughout the program when I thought that I couldn’t do it. But now as I am quickly approaching the end of my education, I cannot believe that I will have a Masters degree before I even turn 23 years old… Through my education in SLU occupational therapy, I have gained an extensive amount of medical, clinical, and occupational knowledge. However, I believe what sets SLU apart from other schools is the focus on professional behavior and inter-professional teamwork. I believe that these skills should not be neglected when gaining an education. Because of my development in these areas, I feel more confident in applying classroom knowledge to team and client interactions in the field.” –Jenae

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dean in Residence: Doisy College Dean Spends a Day in the Life of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

On November 4, 2014, the Dean of the Doisy College of Health Sciences, Dr. Mardell Wilson, visited the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy as part of her Dean in Residence program. She met with the faculty, staff, and students and observed classes to better understand Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. 

After Dean Wilson's experience in the department, she was asked to write about her involvement in and understanding of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Dean Wilson stated:"I spent an outstanding day in the OS/OT Department on Tuesday [November 4].  It was great to spend time with the students in the various stages of their college career and my time with faculty was equally rewarding.  I tried not to "think" too much about what I learned about the quality of my sleep in MOT 517 (Neuroscience for Occupational Therapy).  I was really impressed with the creative video presentations given in OCS 312 (The Study of Occupation) and the Problem-Based Learning group was an outstanding example of teamwork.  The passion exhibited by both the faculty and staff in the program is truly authentic.  It was an extremely rewarding day and I have a much better sense of the program, its curricular components, and the amazing people who are a part of OS/OT." 

Students were also asked about their experience during the "Dean in Residence" day. MOT II Jaclyn Berlino said, "We didn't have a lot of time to talk, but in that time, Dean Wilson provided great advice and information. Also, I was impressed by her goals for our department and Doisy College of Health Sciences as a whole." Junior Caroline Baird said, "My encounter with Dean Wilson was enlightening. She talked about who she was and why she was here. I would have never met her with out this opportunity being available. Dean Wilson's visit allowed me to relate to her and it made her more approachable."

--Rose Niemerg, MOT I Student

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Junior Class Reflects on Fall Semester Occupational Science Courses

In the fall semester, juniors in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy take three courses focusing on Occupational Science concepts: The Study of Occupation, Contexts of Occupation, and Development of Humans as Occupational Beings. Occupational Science students were asked about their experience in their courses so far. Many students highlighted the enjoyment they get from doing things differently than in any other class they have experienced before. One student said, “Between our 50-person drum circles, Lindy Hop dance classes, and praxis obstacle courses, we've had a lot of fun applying Occupational Science concepts to actions in our daily lives.”

The students did note that this semester is not all fun and no work. The multiple projects such as videos, observations, and time-use charts, along with the exams, assignments, and papers have strengthened their abilities to plan for their course work appropriately to succeed. One student stated, “Junior year is all about planning ahead.”  Many of the students reported that the challenging course work has really improved their time management skills. Many also explained that these group projects and assignments drive them to come together as a team.

An extremely high number of students accentuated the idea that all of the SLU’s Occupational Science courses connect with one another in some way. One individual responded with “We will talk about one topic in the first class and then build off it in the third class with a completely different teacher. It is great to see how everything connects!” The students are constantly finding relationships between many topics discussed in all of their classes.  Overall, Saint Louis University Occupational Science has been a “wonderful”,  “interesting”, and an “effective” learning experience that drives each student to naturally come together and work with each other.

-Courtney Hogan, MOT I Student

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating OT Month: The "I Heart OT" Campaign

In celebration of OT Month, the Saint Louis University Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy sponsored a new campaign called “I Heart OT.” Students were asked to send photographs of themselves, their peers, or their entire class with a self-created “I Heart OT” sign or poster while adhering to the following guidelines:

-Photos should be taken at a site with beautiful scenery (in or outside campus) or at a landmark
-Photos must be taken while performing a meaningful occupation
-The signage “I Heart OT” must be creatively done and clearly shown in the photo. This can be expanded to “I Heart OT because…” with a short and simple response
-Each class can submit a maximum of 60 entries

Submitted photos were judged based on the following criteria:

-Adherence to the theme of promoting occupation
-Quality of photos

Congratulations to the winning class: The MOT Is!  They will be given a free donut breakfast during one of their classes this semester.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Student Experiences: Level II Fieldwork

During their final semester, our MOT II students complete two 12-week fieldwork placements to assist them in applying knowledge to clinical situations and to facilitate development of entry-level skill. After about four weeks of their first Level II Fieldwork placement, our students reported a great variety of opportunities. Check out a few of their experiences below:

Dani, Inpatient Rehabilitation:

I have been working with patients with CVA and Brain Injury with ages from 20-90.  My fieldwork educator is amazing--such a great teacher and she is really great at knowing when I need help and when I can be independent. I get to do a lot of ADLs/IADLs: bathing, dressing, laundry, cooking, etc.  I have 4 clients of my "own" right now where I come up with treatment plans, run the sessions, and do the documentation, and my fieldwork educator watches and helps as needed. I will have her full caseload from week 6-12.  I have been able to learn more assessments that are used for research, use FIM scoring daily, done pre-driving assessments, and even E-stim!  My fieldwork educator specializes in vision so we do a lot of vision screens on our clients and others.  She is also on the brain injury team and neglect team so we have meetings we go to for that.

Morgan, Outpatient Pediatrics:

So far, I have a case load of 4 different clients with various abilities and diagnoses.  I am given 1-2 new clients every week, and I will have 10 or more by the end of fieldwork.  I am able to read previous notes/assessments written by other therapists and form my own treatment plan for each client.  I also write 1-3 notes per day. I have gotten to see one feeding eval and two other assessments.  I am learning about the Integrated Listening System (iLs) which is used daily at the site.  I have 3 separate readings (1 book and 2 continuing ed conference manuals) and one DVD to finish by the end of my fieldwork.  I will have 6 separate assessments to complete by the end of my fieldwork as well.  I look forward to completing these assessments and gaining experience.  I have learned a lot about reflexes and how they affect a child's performance in their occupations.  I have learned to identify various delays by observing children during play.  I also help direct two separate classes for fine motor development and letter recognition with a COTA who heads the classes.  I have been able to score a Sensory Profile, and I plan to score a Peabody assessment tomorrow.  I am enjoying my experience thus far, and feel competent in most areas relating to Sensory Integration.

Karen, School-based Pediatrics:

I am starting to treat 15 of my supervisor’s clients, including the planning, implementing, and daily notes. I have observed at two IFEP meetings and wrote to new IFEP goals.
The last few weeks have been so much fun and have provided me with a new experience of what an OT can do in the field.

I have learned:

  • That early childhood special education is similar to special school district by how they travel to many locations
  • The difference between an IEP and a IFEP 
  • Observed multiple types of classrooms for IFEP children (i.e., co-teaching, integrated, and ABA classroom.)
  • Learned the roles that an occupational therapist in early childhood may fill (i.e., evaluator, treatment implementer, technology specialist, and ADL consultant.)

Sarah, Outpatient Day Treatment:

I am thoroughly enjoying my learning experience.  My site goes above and beyond for their patients and students.  My fieldwork educator has been a therapist for 8 years.  She has a great spirit, is fun, and extremely intelligent.  Her feedback is always so helpful and I am always open to what she has to say.  I feel overwhelmed with my options and my resources and I want to do my very best to be creative and to use all resources, but it is hard to go above and beyond when I'm so exhausted at the end of the day!  I have gained insight into my own likes and dislikes.

What advice do you have for our students as they progress through Level II Fieldwork?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Class Notes: Words of Wisdom from Freshman OT Students

Class Notes: Words of Wisdom from Freshman OT Students

Beautiful first day of the Spring 2014 semester on Saint Louis University's campus.

"Everyone and everything around you is your teacher." -Ken Keyes, Jr.

As we begin the spring 2014 semester, we have asked our freshman class to reflect upon their first semester at Saint Louis University.  Below, read their words of wisdom regarding the lessons they have learned during their Saint Louis University experience thus far.

“Being a freshman in college is both nerve-racking and exciting. Everything you experience is new and an adjustment. Without having your parents and familiar faces by your side, you find a new sense of independence.” –Gabriela Eraci

 “There is no way to fully describe the college adjustment process, but if you are patient and willing to work hard, your freshman year and overall college experience will be great! Freshman year you’re given the opportunity to completely reform your identity and meet lots of new people. I truly experienced the most growth as an individual when I came to college.” –Audrey Hunter

 “The OT program has a very rigorous curriculum, but with all the support from academic advisors, faculty mentors, and professors, I am not worried about the classes that I will be taking in the future because I know that there are always people willing to help me if I ever run into any issues along the way.” –Mary Reagan

“As a freshman I have learned to take responsibility for all of my actions. Overall, I have learned that even when I receive a terrible grade to not give up but keep a positive mind set and believe that I can do better on the next assignment.” –Megan Savell

“Being a freshman is an experience unlike any other.  It is the chance to start over, to grow, and to be vulnerable.  The anticipation that stems from leaving home and beginning to live independently is incredible, but the reward of finally settling into a new way of life is incomparable.  Freshman year has been a combination of finding myself and defining my future… [The] highs and lows of freshman year come unexpectedly, but they are inevitable.  The lows help me to rebuild myself into the person I have always hoped to be and the highs help me appreciate everything I have been given and make me feel confident in the choice I made coming to Saint Louis University.  The journey of college so far has been absolutely incredible and I cannot wait to see how I grow even more in my freshman year and all years to come.” –Elly Harrell

We want to hear from you: What advice do you have for students as they begin a new semester?

Friday, August 23, 2013

AOTA Emerging Leadership Development Program


Last week I traveled to AOTA Headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland to kick-start my yearlong journey in the Emerging Leadership Development Program (ELDP). I did not know what to expect because I was not given a lot of detail as to what we would be doing for training. All I knew was that I was going to be given a mentor who would help with a yearlong project. When I got there I met many people from all over the country who would be participating in the program with me. Some had already finished school and had been practicing, while others like me were finishing up school. Thursday we all walked to AOTA headquarters together excited and anxious to start our training. We got into the AOTA board room where the Board of Directors usually hold their meetings and met Midge Hobbs, the director of the ELDP, Nancy Standford-Blair, an educator on leadership, Amy Lamb, AOTA’s Vice President, and Ginny Stoffel, AOTA’s President. It was surreal to hear so much about these individuals and to finally be able to meet them in person. They were all very passionate about this program and eager to get started.
The focus of our training on Thursday was about our leadership values and purpose, being a servant leader, how to deal with conflict, and reflecting on how we came to be leaders. It was an eye opening experience that helped me focus on my core values and what my goals are as a leader. We were also able to meet with AOTA staff within the building and I was able to talk to Frank Gainer, who coordinates conferences, and Maureen Peterson, AOTA’s chief professional affairs officer. There wasn’t enough time to meet with everyone!
            Friday we learned more about the workings of AOTA and opportunities for leadership positions within the organization. There are many opportunities and I would love to share what I’ve learned! We also had a chance to meet with our mentors to discuss ideas for a yearlong project. I called my mentor Izel Obermeyer, who is the Chairperson for the Affiliated State Association President (ASAP), to discuss some ideas. Mrs. Obermeyer was very open to the suggestions I had and provided helpful feedback to help me start my project. We agreed on focusing on student involvement within state associations. Mrs. Obermeyer said that most beginning practitioners are not very involved with their state association. I hope that through focusing on student involvement in associations it will encourage students to continue to be involved in their state association when they become a practitioner.  

            The two-day training went by too fast! It was a great way to make connections with other occupational therapists in the US and I know I will be collaborating with them in the future. I enjoyed every minute of this experience and I am very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.