Saturday, June 21, 2014

My first Level I Fieldwork: Pediatrics

I am happy to announce that I have completed my  first Level I fieldwork. I honestly love the learning process. I choose to complete my fieldwork a week before class started. It was a great fit for me. I just emailed a friend that I met at the recent AOTA conference about my experience, and I wanted to share some of my insight that I emailed her about with you. 

I wrote, "I went to (Blank) Children's Hospital for a week and I really enjoyed seeing a variety of diagnosis and treatments. I was able to see constraint induced therapy, which I really liked. I learned the true meaning of Psycosocial and how it applies to practice. I was able to lead a session while there, and boy was I ready to break down and cry like my two year old daughter. I felt that my fears of not knowing what I was doing took over and I froze up. My fight or flight really took over that session. However, I learned a very valuable skill since coming home... "fake it til you make it!" (as long as no one is getting hurt). By doubting myself, I prevented my ideas to flow. I had heard my teachers say that OT's are able to succeed from trial and error. When I was in that hour session with that child, I complete forgot that key point. I was actually on the right path because until I get more knowledge in practice, I will be trying what works and what doesn't. Even when I have years of experience, I will still continue to enhance my clinical reasoning skills. So for my next level I, which starts on the 30th in Neuro Rehab, my goal is to accept thchallenge of feeling lost and try more interventions with confidence that I am on the track for "something", since it may be the wrong intervention initially. However, I would still be on track for my own personal learning and growth. I am really excited to start my next level I to continue to grow as a therapist. "

After coming home, I learned how to improve during my next Level I. I found this great article titled "Top 12 Things You Should Know for Your Fieldwork" by Miss Awesomeness that addressed everything that I felt that I could improve on. Reading the article made me feel better  about my "learning curves" from my first Level I because now I know that I am not the only one who makes these mistakes.  Please visit her article: 

Another point that I realized in my pediatric course, is that some of the information I learned carries across the ages. Such as the proper head postural for feeding a child and an adult would be a slight chin tuck to prevent aspiration. Food thickness also applies across the ages in reference to feeding.

Even though I have 5 kids, I do not believe that I want to work in pediatrics. As far back as I can remember I babysat and worked as a bus monitor for a Pre-School. Then when I turned 16, I worked in Montessori and daycare facilities. I worked in daycare facility until I had my oldest. When I had my oldest, who turned 12 yesterday, I said that I wanted to enjoy being with him. I did not want to work with kids all day and then come home and not fully enjoy my baby. I am not saying that it can not be done or that people do not do it everyday, it is not something that I wanted. Since then, I have not worked with kids, but I never know, I can always change my mind.

Overall, I had a great session and I am going to take the information that I learned about fieldwork to enhance myself for the next one. 

Thanks for reading my post. I am hoping the best for all of you! HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why every student should attend an AOTA Conference**Pics included**

My top reasons why every student should attend an AOTA Conference:

1. It is the ultimate prep rally because you see how we are impacting the lives of others! MOTIVATIONAL!
    During the Welcoming Ceremony,at the 94th AOTA conference, we were given the pleasure to hear from three soldiers who lost limbs in the current war due to bomb accidents. I want to apologize for not being able to remember all of the soldiers name. Travis, was quad amputee, Tim, lost both lower limbs and servery damaged his right arm, and the other gentleman, lost both lower limbs and one of his arms. All of the soldiers talked about how OT gave them their lives back.
   Travis said that when he had his accident, his wife just had their first baby and he wondered how was he going to be able to hold his daughter and how was he going to be an active father. He mentioned, thanks to Assistive Technology, he only needs his wife for 2 seconds each morning to put on his legs and he does everything else. He said how happy he was that he was able to DRIVE from Texas to state on the east coast (I forgot which state it was). He said that OT taught him everything he needed to be able to live a life that he did not know was possible.
    Tim mentioned that after his accident, he thought his life was over. He said all his dreams went down the drain; however, with OT he found that he has a really loves singing. He said that he has opened many concerts for quite a few famous bands such as Pink Floyd! He said not only did OT give him his life back but OT also saved his life because it helped him find a purpose.
    To hear these three men talk about how OT has been with them every step of the way made my heart jump out of my chest. I thought, I knew it! I am special. I am in a career that is helping someone who has no limbs to drive across the country, a career that gave a man a voice, a career that is helping a person who does not look like everyone else on the outside to feel amazing like "a regular person" on the inside! Man! OT's and their(the patients) own motivation got them there. WE ARE A PART OF THAT! I just feel thankful for being able to hear those testimonies.
This is my photo bomb with the soldiers and their OT. 

    Also, I learned how important it is to remain a member of AOTA. AOTA can only take legislative concerns to Capital Hill for their members. For example, if there are 130,000 OT's and only 1,000 of those OT's are members of AOTA, then when AOTA representatives go to Capital Hill, they can only speak for 1,000 members. There is power in numbers. Just think if we could have 35% of OT's registered with AOTA, how much more of an impact we will have to help patients get the services that they need.The numbers given at the conference for OT's were larger and the number of AOTA members were SMALLER. On a uplifting note, the president announced that a percentage of our membership fee will now go towards research.

2. It was soooooo INFORMATIONAL.
    I was able to attend many short courses and seminars. I really liked the Health Literacy seminar that I attended. I learned that there are standardized test for health literacy. Some test are long and others are short. One test that I thought was interesting was reading a nutritional label. The label includes mathematics and reading, which are both needed for health literacy. I read labels a lot, but when it came to doing the math, such as a person can not have 2 gr of sodium, and having to break down the portion size then do some other stuff, I thought wow! I can see how a person can become overwhelmed and not complete reading the remaining part of the instructions for fear that the rest will be just as frustrating.
    I learned that when writing documentation for patients, we should make sure to check the reading level. We should make sure that the reading level is no higher than 8th grade, since most people drop out of school in high school and some of those people may not be able to understand 8th grade reading level. The seminar encouraged us to ask questions to assure the client understands what is going on; however, when we ask questions we should put the burden on ourselves. Such as, "Did I explain everything clearly? What can I explain better? Can you help me understand what I can explain better?" We should make sure to ask question so that the client does not feel inadequate or feel embarrassed for not understand.
    I also appreciated how the conference helped tie in the concepts that I was learning in class to practice. I heard the words like "Occupation based", "Psychosocial", "Research", and "Ataxia"over and over again. When I thought I would never have to do anything with research again, I heard about finding the mean, showing significance in almost every seminar. I did not feel lost. I was like, OOOOH this is why it is important to pay attention in class because the numbers really do mean something. LOL. Then I thought about my Neuroscience class when another seminar was talking about the cerebellum, limbic tagging, and sensory. I was thankful that my school did a good job in instilling concepts in the first part of our course. I did not feel as lost or confused as I may have if I had not had those classes. I have learned to appreciate the learning process even more, thanks to the conference.

3. The Expo was FUN. FREE STUFF!
    The Expo had so many vendors, employment agencys, schools, Assistive Technology, food, and more.  It was like a little OT smoorgish board. Too much fun. Plus good networking.
All the items I received from the conference. Including 11 bags, 3 shirts, a roll of dysim, a weighted spoon handle, a tube of bio freeze, hand strengthening tools, an auto graphed key chain from Claudia Allen (the inventor of the Allen Cognitive test) and much more. By the way, none of my clothes are in the suite case.
My imaginary bubble bath. The ball pit had lights the light up on the bottom. Very since for sensory. On the sensory profile I am a Seeker, SO I loved this!
The NBCOT booth hired this amazing man who made balloon animals. You should have seen the line. I was to receive one. He was only there for one day!

3. The COST.
    As a student we get a lower rates on the conference entrance fee.

Overall, I had a blast. I am soooo thankful to have had the opportunity to attend this year's conference. I have hoping to be able to attend next year's conference. I have started some fundraising to help with the cost. If you are interested in helping me attend my last AOTA conference as a student, please go to . Every little bit helps. I deeply appreciate it. 

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
I am hoping the best for all of you!
My last day at conference. I volunteered as a Room Monitor in two seminars.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Visualize Success

Guess what today is????? It is the last day of my Movements class. From what I have learned by speaking with other OTS, is that it is the Kinesiology class in other schools. I am so thankful that my teacher for the class has amazing energy. He was balance with being entertaining and professional. I just loved him. He already has our final grades up for the class. I am soooooo bumped that the information that I learned in this class just seemed to click. In my other classes, I left like I had to work really hard. This class felt like my cup of tea. The book explained concepts in "occupation based" terminology. I was able to see why it was so important to know about proper shoulder ADDuction and scapular protraction, etc. When I think about it, a client cannot reach across their body to turn the page of a newspaper if they do not have the proper ROM, range of motion.

To be honest, I am not sure if it is just because I loved the class or if it is because I visualized my success in the program. Like I have mentioned in other post, my Anatomy class was very challenging in a good way. The teacher I had for the class was very thorough. I can see how the information that I learned in that class carries over into my Movements class. I feel that if I had not had a good foundation from her class, I may have struggled in this class. The two classes go hand in hand. First I learned about the muscles and what they do. Then I learned about how those muscle allow clients to function in their daily life. When I finished my Anatomy class, I told myself that I am already a graduated OT. I figured if I could pull through that class with all the studying and application, then I must have it. I started visualizing myself putting on my cap and grown and saying my appreciation speak to my husband. I feel like I am good to go now. I am not saying I think the remainder of the program is going to go as smooth as this session has been for me, but I am saying I feel more confident that I will make it to graduation and I will be a great OT. I can do this. WE CAN DO THIS. I see it in my minds eye and I feel it in my heart. To think, in 3 more months I will have one whole year of OT school under my belt. Man that feels good.

On Monday, I will be heading to Columbus, OH for my first Level I which is Peds. This will be the only time that I will be able to travel out of state to do a whole week of Fieldwork opposed to going on every Tuesday. I am excited.  YAY! I made it to LEVEL I!

I have not forgotten to tell you all about my first AOTA conference. I am really hoping to write about it this weekend!

Hoping the best for all of you. I am thankful that I feel confident about my education right now. What are you thankful for about your OT journey?

Monday, March 17, 2014

I'm going to my first AOTA Conference

YAY!!!!!!!!!!! Today I took my last practical for my anatomy class. Guess what??????? I nailed it. I got a 45/50. I am so thankful. Again, thanks so much to my lovely reader Jennifer, who recommended that I get the Netter's flash cards. They were awesome. They were the same pictures that my teacher used for her power points. My visual memory is really good, so the cards were a life saver. I am so thankful to make it though this session. I end up getting a B in the class. BAM! Many people struggled this session, but WE DID IT! THANK GOODNESS!

Some advice when taking an anatomy class:
First, I found it very helpful to use "The Anatomy Coloring Book". I actually bought two. I bought both books used on Amazon. The first book I purchased was the first edition. From the reviews that I read, medical students use the book. The book it EXTREMELY detailed. I had to make sure my colored pencils were sharp when I colored the plates (illustrations). Each plate comes with information on what you are coloring, attachment sites, what impairments can occur in the area AND where and how to palpate on yourself.  I was amazed. I lost the first edition in my disorganized mess, so I bought another one. I bought the third edition this time. I liked the first edition so much, I wanted to know what could they have improved on. They improved the organization of the book. It had the bones together, skeletal muscle together, etc. In the first edition, it had sections broken into upper limb, lower limb, thorax, etc. Depending on your learning style, that might matter to you. I just loved the book. I said each muscle's name as I colored them.  I read out loud. I had to use ALL of my senses to get this information to stick.

Secondly, I would recommend the Netter cards. The illustrations were great. Along with the origin and insertions and nerve innervation.... the whole kit and kaboodle. Loved those cards.

Lastly, rewrite or type the teacher's power points or presentations along with your notes. I rewrote my teacher's power points and notes onto flash cards. Everyone has different learning styles; however, if you can use as many senses as you can to help you retain the information, i.e using different color pens (because the brain LOVES COLOR), then do it.

I made it through. Thanks goodness.

On to my additional excitement! I will be attending the 94th AOTA conference in Baltimore, Maryland. I signed up to be a volunteer and I was chosen. My university requires each student gets 30 volunteer hours during the course of our 30 month program. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get in some hours, so I signed up in January. I received an email about two weeks ago asking if I could volunteer on Saturday. I still have to pay for my own trip and getting into the conference, but I will be fulfilling some course requirements and learn some good information. I am excited. I found a roommate, bought my plain ticket, and bought the 4 day registration. Plus, I get a little away time. HA! I have reviewed the programs for each day. I plan on going to the Mindfulness workshop. I really believe that mindfulness is very beneficial activity that most people can do, especially with practice and dedication. Needless to say, this is an area in my life that I am still working on. Sometimes I forget that I need to practice mindfulness in high stress times.

I am on break for the rest of this week and start taking only one class next session. These are our fieldwork classes. YES! I MADE IT! My next class is Movements. I hear it is very similar to my anatomy class, so I will be reviewing all of the information that I learned over the last 6 weeks this week to help me prepare for the next class. Time is going by so fast. I honestly forgot that it was just last session that I had Neuroscience. I knew I had it, but I feels like it was months ago.

I appreciate you for sharing my journey and I hope the best for all of you out there!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Beginnings

Don't you just love the fact that every session is a new beginning to start all over and try to learn from the challenges that you have over came? I do! I feel that each new session is another chance to learn how to remain calm and pace myself. Monday was our first day back to class; however, we had a snow storm come through here so our first day of class was canceled.  On Tuesday I was able to have a surprise baby shower for my classmate. Sadly, this is the last session that she will be with us before having her baby. She was really surprised and really appreciated it. I was very happy.

This session I have anatomy and a condition class. Yesterday in my Anatomy class we were able to see the cadaver. Due to HIPPA, I cannot say anything more than that.  With my sessions being 6 weeks long, the class moves at a fast pace. We have already covered the muscles of the face and neck in two days. I bought a coloring book to help me retain the information, but class moves so fast that I have not been able to get into it because we have a work book that goes along with our course book that I fill out nightly. I not complaining about the class. I know that anatomy is one of my weak areas. If the class was slower, I would still think it was fast. I think this will be a great class. I like that the teacher has a sense of humor. It makes the class a little easier.

Today was actually my first day of the conditions class. Today we mainly went over the syllabus and talked about what we are going to cover in the class. We will be really getting to know conditions that our clients deal with, people first langue, and ADA. I am really excited about this class because I want to really know what my clients are facing.

I am about to read these two chapters for my Conditions test tomorrow. I am hoping the best for you. Goodnight!