COPE Health Scholar: Learning from an OT

12 April 2017

During the first month of this internship, I worked with all kinds of outpatient rehabilitation therapists. There was one pediatric occupational therapist that I mainly worked with. I helped her with getting the needed materials for the next therapy session and wiping down the toys and areas that the previous patient worked on. Her career path was to always become an occupational therapist. She did not know whether she wanted to work with adults or kids until she went to grad school. She attended USC for graduate school in occupational therapy. She informed me that the workload at USC is really heavy and that they work mainly on theory based research.

During her job, the therapist would come in and reply to any emails and catch up on the patients that she needed to see that day. She usually works from 8:30AM – 4:30 PM but sometimes it would fluctuate if she is getting a new patient. That is because she needs to do an intensive evaluation of the patient and that usually takes an hour every time. She gets around 7-10 patients each day and most sessions area usually half an hour each. The therapist that I worked with mainly works with the pediatric patients but sometimes she would go and help with the adult section. Occasionally, she would also go up to the NICU floor to help the babies with their feeding stimulation or teach the family how to feed the baby.

I really enjoyed working and learning with the occupational therapist. She taught me things that I have not yet learned in class but I know that it would give me a headstart when I go on to graduate school. When I observed the occupational therapy sessions, I saw that she used different treatment plans for different kids even thought they have the same type of developmental issue. Her plans are very specific to each child because some children may learn faster than others even though they have the same issue so it is important to not generalize treatment plans.

Now, I do not work with her anymore but in the future, I want to go back and continue to work with her. I think she is a great therapist to learn from, especially because it is the exact field that I want to go into.

-Pauline Wong


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