My experiences in health-care

At the age of 21, I became a certified nursing assistant. Through becoming a CNA was where I found rehabilitation. In my skilled nursing facility, we had a rehabilitation room. Where the curiosity in me, walked in and started talking to an Occupational therapist. Everything, the OT told me was more and more interesting everyday. I knew this was my calling. I had already worked in nursing for many years. I loved being a nursing assistant, but like many CNA’s, I burned out. At most of my jobs in mental health I felt like I was very expendable, and I also wanted a career where my contribution would be appreciated.

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Two weeks later, I was in school to be an Occupational therapy assistant. My first class was Anatomy and physiology, this was an amazing fast paced course. This class was difficult for me. However, I persevered and even learned to appreciate a medical understanding of the human body as well as the mind. The subjects I loved were also the hardest, pediatrics and physical disabilities. The thing that got me through was the support of my amazing cohort, about whom we each knew everything after about 4 weeks into the program. We went through the entire process together day in and day out in the same classroom for sometimes 8 hours a day. We shared each others’ successes and comforted each other in our defeats. Even though school is over, we still do. The other thing that got me through was the hard but rewarding clinical rotations, where so many assumptions were laid to rest and so many good things happened.

My first skilled paid experience started in a Skilled nursing facility. Working in skilled nursing facilities with the geriatrics, working in a sub acute hospital with people suffering from hip/knee fractures and CVA’s for example.

Each resident’s occupational therapy services depend entirely upon his or her unique circumstances and goals. I had one patient whom daily would refuse therapy to all the staff members. When my DOR told me about this patient I looked at is as a challenge for myself as a therapist. The patient had a diagnosis of lung cancer. She was likely to remain in the facility for the rest of her care. However, I wanted our sessions to make time productive and meaningful to her. She indicated, she had ‘lived a really full life,”. An important part of occupational therapy also involves working with the client to identify his or her own personal goals. In this case, the client had a son and grandchildren. She was confronting the end of life and wanted to create a memory book for her family. As her occupational therapist assistant, I helped the woman find mementos from her family, and obtained a scrapbook so she could organize her these items related to her life events.

Creating the memory book gave the client something to look forward to each day and provided her with visual, perceptual, cognitive, and fine motor activities. Her activity tolerance improved, she had a reason to get out of bed, and the activity fostered psychosocial well-being. She had a sense of comfort and closure, which I think increased the quality of her life. By engaging in this task, she had a sense of competency and satisfaction. She adapted to her life circumstances and experienced a sense of spiritual dignity.

I am a person who always wants to and always will succeed. I am extremely motivated and hard working, traits I got from my Mother. Ever since I graduated from my COTA program in 2014, I knew I wanted to do more, to become the OTR/L. I have been working on per-requite classes since, and I know I will find one college; that’s right for me, where I can do some good and be of service. I am used to struggling, and looking for the right college, is nothing compared to other roads I’ve been on.

I’ve simply worked very hard to get where I’m at. As you can see, my success was paved with a string of determination and dedication.  None of it came easy. However, I am very driven and tough. Setbacks rarely prevent me from reaching my goals. My innate curiosity about human nature and drive to better myself causes me to love learning, even if not always formal education. I was not born to this profession, and I still have much to learn.

I believe in the power of occupation. I have personally experienced moments when time seemed to pass at lightning speed as I lost myself in a valued occupation. I have witnessed the effects of the loss of a valued role. I know that engagement in valuable occupation truly does contribute to the health and well being of a person. We, as occupational therapists, have a lot to contribute to this world. It is my hope that we learn to unleash the power of occupation so that we can assist others to become all that they were meant to be and fully enjoy the gift of this life. I have the determination to further my education in occupational therapy and to strengthen my foundation of knowledge of occupation based practice.

Thank you for the consideration,

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