What got you interested in occupational therapy?
I completed an undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics and during this time volunteered at a physiotherapy clinic. I remember feeling limited by their scope of practice, which left me wondering what other professions would allow for more creativity and exploration of components greater than mobility. At the time, my aunt was a social worker at a local hospital and recommended I shadow her coworker, an occupational therapist (OT). After shadowing an OT for the day, I felt excited for the future because I had discovered a profession that encompasses all aspects of a person’s life and allows for creativity each and every day.
What are your areas of interest?
Through my experiences, I have become interested in working with older adults. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I worked at an Adult Day Program with older adults with diagnoses of dementias, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. I also had the opportunity to complete a placement through the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in a small, rural hospital in New Liskeard. Here, I gained experience with older adults in acute care. I am currently working at the Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, Alberta in acute care on medical, surgical, and orthopaedic units. I am passionate about creating safe discharge plans for older adults and providing interventions that allow older adults to remain in their homes as long as possible.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In the next five years, I see myself continuing to promote safe functioning of older adults in their own homes. I plan to advocate for greater integration of occupational performance issues into the medical model. I hope one day to create more space for OTs to address all aspects of self care, productivity, and leisure for clients admitted to hospitals. Creating more opportunities for OTs to address occupational performance issues will allow more individuals to return home with the necessary supports and allow them to stay in their homes longer.
What will you remember most about your time in the program?
I will remember the connections I made through small group interactions. The program offers many opportunities for study groups, mentorship groups, and extracurricular activities. Through these small groups, I was able to create meaningful connections with other like-minded students and mentors.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
My advice for incoming students would be to say yes to new experiences. Whether it be to participate in a research study, meet another student for lunch, join a club that interests you, or apply for a placement that is completely new to you. Saying yes to new experiences will help you build transferable skills like communication and collaboration and help you to gain confidence in your abilities, all which are necessary for success in the OT profession.