Occupational Therapy

Faces of MOT

2018 Alumni Students

Jessica Campbell and Alyssa Pattison are recent graduates of the USM MOT program.  We asked them some questions about their first year out in the working world and below are their answers, enjoy!

 

Jessica:

 

When did you graduate from the MOT program?

I graduated from the MOT program in December 2018.

Where do you work now/what setting are you in?

I work for a company called Coastal Rehab and it is an outpatient setting. It is kind of a unique setting and not your traditional outpatient setting so I will provide a little more information on it.  My clinic is at an assisted living facility in Brunswick, ME which I share with a physical therapist and a speech therapist. For the majority of my time I am seeing patients in their apartments instead of providing treatment in the clinic. I also go to a few other assisted living facilities and independent living facilities as well as personal homes to provide services. The company I work for saw a need for providing mobile outpatient services and has filled those needs by allowing therapists all over Southern Maine travel to homes and facilities to provide outpatient services. I also am per diem at the Cedars (skilled nursing facility) and will work there on occasional weekends when I am available.

What setting did you want to work in when starting the program?

When I first started the program, I wanted to work in an acute rehab or a skilled nursing facility.

What were your two-Level II Fieldworks in and what was the biggest thing you got out of them?

My first level two was at StoreySmith which is a pediatric outpatient clinic and my second fieldwork was at the Cedars which is a skilled nursing facility.

What was your favorite thing about the USM MOT program?

My favorite thing about the USM MOT program was all the hands-on experiences we had with interacting with various populations. I loved how we were given the opportunity to provide the professors with feedback where we wanted not just our level II fieldworks, but also our level I fieldworks. Through those experiences I was able to work with a variety of unique populations which I am forever thankful for!

What do you hope to do with your OT career for the future?

With this career there are so many directions you can go in and I have not put a lot of thought in where I will want to end up. I know right now it is taking a lot to adjust to a full-time entry level job and have not found my own personal niche yet. I know eventually I will want to become more educated on a specialty, however, I have not decided what that may encompass just yet.

Any kind and inspirational words for students in the program/taking the NBCOT exam soon?

My advice is that you know how you are when it comes to test taking and studying; make a plan that is appropriate for you and fits your routines do not compare to others or change how you are just because your classmates' or the people on the NBCOT Facebook group study plans are different.  Goodluck and it will be over before you know it!

 

Alyssa:

 

When did you graduate from the MOT program?
December 2018
Where do you work now/what setting are you in?

I am currently serving students K-Post HS at Gilford Public Schools in New Hampshire.

What setting did you want to work in when starting the program?
I had an appreciation for pediatrics and physical rehab settings.

What were your two-Level II Fieldworks in and what was the biggest thing you got out of them?
My two placements were at Tri-County Mental Health Services and New England Rehabilitation Hospital. The biggest things I got out of those experiences was to remember there is a person behind the documentation you're reading! This seems obvious, but as a student it can sometimes be overwhelming reading about someone before meeting them. Building a rapport with clients opens your eyes to the reality of their abilities.

What was your favorite thing about the USM MOT program?
I loved having a supportive cohort and faculty to lean on and push me when necessary.

What do you hope to do with your OT career for the future?
I have so many ideas and dreams for my future as an OT, but I am also embracing the flexibility and creativity that our profession offers. Someday, I'd like to return to a rehabilitation hospital. I also consider teaching and administration as an avenue to pursue in the future.

Any kind and inspirational words for students in the program/taking the NBCOT exam soon?
Don't stress about the exam, it will come and it will pass. Focus on your organizational skills and reflect on your self-care routine leading up to the exam. After I took the exam, I felt drained and unsure of how I had done. But I knew I took my time studying and also took care of myself before and the day of the exam, and for that I felt confident I had tried my best.

 


Alumni MOT

Stacey Irek, a 2005 graduate of the program, was originally a special education teacher, but once she saw how much fun OTs and students were having at school, she decided to switch careers. A big departure from her background in pediatrics, Stacey works with adults. She started at SNF with a large staff and served a variety of clients, but a few years later, she transitioned to travel OT, spending summers in New England and winters in California.

Stacey is inspired and motivated by the many ways in which OTs can help individuals gain independence. She works hands-on with patients, through manual lymphatic drainage, taping, myofascial release, traction and joint mobilization, and is grateful for her ability to decrease pain for her clients.

A typical day for Stacey is varied. She said: “All in one day, I may be teaching an 89 year old how to manage her COPD and CHF so she can put an end to the all too frequent hospital admissions, go on a home visit and recommend adaptations to the home so that person can be successful in their own environment, make a splint to manage someone's tone after a MVA (motor vehicle accident), teach someone how to tie his shoe using one hand, listen to someone's trauma re: sexual abuse and how that trauma affects their relationships and participation in work, teach an LNA and nurse a therapeutic approach to dementia to facilitate someone's independence with self feeding, help someone stand up and get onto a toilet for the first time after 6 months of using a bed pan, and develop low vision adaptations to someone's bedroom so they can confidently maneuver in their own bedroom.” All of this is built on her commitment to learning, using evidence-based practice, and trying new things.

Stacey’s most exciting moment as an occupation therapist is not the attached story that went viral, the story of her work with a women named Kelly, who became paralyzed from Lyme’s Disease. Rather, it was seeing that the work she did with Kelly is the work OTs can do every day. 


 

Student Work


Students worked with community partners to find evidence for a clinical question

First year students went back to OTs roots in craft by participating in a Makers Lab. During Makers Lab, students used foam, duck tape, cardboard, and other everyday items to create a piece of adaptive equipment to assist individuals with a variety of activities. Check out their work