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!