Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Pezzutto (Class of 2022)

image of Elizabeth Pezzutto

What inspired you to pursue a career in occupational therapy? 

I was attracted to how occupational therapists recognize the importance of considering all domains of health in the promotion of health and well-being. I previously worked in clinical settings as an assistant and my favourite part was watching patients improve and eventually meet their goals to participate in activities that were meaningful to them. I knew that this was the essence of occupational therapy, and this inspired me to work in a profession that directly and meaningfully impacts people.  


What have you been doing since graduation?  

I am currently working in acute care as an occupational therapist at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario. I work on various units including medicine, surgery, stroke and the emergency department. I have also continued to work on my graduate research project. My project is a sub-study under a national study which explores the roles that occupational therapists can play in advance care planning conversations.  


What were some of the most valuable skills and knowledge that you gained during the program, and how have you applied them in your work? 

The program helped me to further develop two valuable skills; problem-solving and critical thinking. There is no one-size-fits all solution for the clients I work with. In order to enable my clients to achieve their goals, I need to figure out strategies that are unique to each patient’s characteristics, needs and circumstances. 


What will you remember most about your time in the program? 

A major highlight of my journey was meeting so many wonderful, like-minded people who are passionate about positively impacting the lives of people. This includes my peers and the other health professionals I had the opportunity to work with on my placements. I learned a great deal from them and I am grateful for the lifelong friends I’ve made throughout my time in the program.   


What advice do you have for incoming students? 

There are so many avenues you can take as an occupational therapist. You can work in hospitals, schools, insurance, government, non-profit organizations, mental health, community settings, technology and so many more! Do not limit yourself to only thinking that occupational therapists work in traditional clinical settings. There are so many ways you can apply the skills and knowledge you gain throughout the program to positively impact individuals, communities and populations.   


Photo credit: Julia Soudat