As part of my course requirements for this semester, I have to attend two seminars of my choice. For my first seminar, I decided to attend the seminar about spinal cord injury. Patients who have sustained a spinal cord injury are a very large population of the people that occupational therapists treat. I was very interested in learning more about this specific population and the role occupational therapy plays in their rehabilitation.
The seminar included two full days of learning. On Friday, two occupational therapists who work at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, PA (also graduates of the University of Scranton) came to campus to give us a lesson on spinal cord injuries. They taught us about the different types on spinal cord injury, some of the adaptive equipment, including the many different kinds of wheelchairs, available for these patients, and other treatment interventions that OT’s provide for this population.
Saturday was the fun day! Those of us attending the seminar had the opportunity to take a bus to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital to tour the facility, see and practice using different wheelchairs, meet actual patients and observe a mock treatment session. This was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had as an OT student. Not only was it an awesome opportunity to see the facility and the multitude of equipment they have to use with patients, getting to meet actual patients who have a spinal cord injury and talk about their experiences with occupational therapy was great!
Listening to the two therapists talk to us about what a typical day for them is like was crazy. It just made me think about how in about a year from now, I can (and hopefully will be) standing in their shoes. At first I was totally intimidated by the whole idea of observing a treatment session because I know that patients with a spinal cord injury require such specialized treatment. However, it was refreshing to see that most of what the therapist was doing with the patient, I had learned and felt I would also be able to do in treatment. It was great to actually see that I may be more ready than I think to become a practicing therapist. It was also a huge reality check that soon enough that was going to be treating my own patients!!
Overall, this was an absolutely awesome learning experience. I got the opportunity to learn more about spinal cord injury and the special treatment it requires, tour a rehabilitation hospital similar to one I may find myself working at in the future, and meet actual patients who have spinal cord injuries and talk to them about their experiences. I look forward to my next seminar at the beginning of December and sharing that experience with you!
Have a great week…one more week until Thanksgiving!
I have some exciting news! For my faculty mentor research course, we have been putting together our project all semester and have finally finished! Our research topic is looking at a comparison of assessments used by occupational therapists with patients who have sustained a stroke. One of the professors who works in the OT department still practices at John Heinz Institute for Rehabilitation in Wilkes Barre, PA. She will be giving the assessments to patients at the hospital and collecting the data for us to analyze and gather results.
In order to complete any research project, an IRB proposal must be submitted for approval. The IRB form is very lengthy and requires a lot of research and detailed explanation of the research project you plan to complete. My group and I worked together to complete this almost 20 page long document. This is just the first step in our year long project. Once our proposal is accepted the practicing OT can start to collect data.
Next semester, we will continue to work on this research project, analyzing the data collected. I am really looking forward to this part of the project where we can see results and evidence for which assessment is most appropriate to be used with clients who have sustained a stroke. During my level II fieldwork this past summer, the majority of patients I treated had sustained a stroke. I am very interested to see what the results of our research show about which assessment is best to be used with this population.
At the end of the spring semester, we have what is called Scholarship Day. At this event, all of the OT students’ parents come to the University and we present the findings our research project. According to our professors, this is a really exciting day. Proud parents get to see the hard work of their children and it’s basically our last big project as OT graduate students. I am looking forward to see the look on my parents face when I am giving my presentation!
PSA: 15 days until Thanksgiving!!!!
This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to present at the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Conference. The fall semester of my senior year, I took an evidence based research class. Throughout the duration of the semester, I worked on and completed an almost 30 page research paper. At the end of the semester, I (with the help of my amazing professor) submitted a proposal to present at conference and sure enough, got accepted!!
Last week,I spent almost 2 hours working with my teacher to put the main points of my paper onto a poster. Then, this weekend I traveled to King of Prussia, PA along with some other classmates who were also accepted to present my research findings in a poster presentation.
I had never been to an OT conference before so was not sure what to expect. When we first got there, I signed in and had about an hour to enjoy before my presentation began. I decided to walk around the exhibit hall where a few dozen tables were set up. Schools were there to talk about their OT education programs and practitioners from various practice settings were there talking about their specific role in the field. I also got some free stuff so that was cool too!
Here is me with my poster at conference!
Following the conference, we enjoyed a delicious meal with some of our OT professors and that was a lot of fun. Our professors continued to remind us how proud they were and how accomplished we should feel. When I was giving my poster, I had multiple people say to me in shock, “Wow, there are a lot of people here from the University of Scranton!” There 15 presenters from our school!! That’s quite a large number in comparison to other schools.
I look forward to hopefully presenting again at future conferences and am grateful that I had the opportunity to do so already.
Have a good week!