The Class of 2018 is finishing up their second level two’s and are getting closer to becoming licensed/registered OT’s! How exciting! Take a look below to see how Rachel’s fieldwork went for her this summer and what important information she will be taking away from this experience:
Where is your fieldwork (add city/state) and what type of facility (give information on the population served).
My fieldwork site is Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Maine. The hospital itself is a small regional acute care hospital, but I am primarily working in their outpatient therapy clinic. Most of the clients I see have recently experienced a concussion. Some of the typical symptoms we see in these clients are related to the oculomotor, auditory, vestibular, and nervous systems. We work with clients to develop strategies and interventions to manage these symptoms so that they can better participate in everyday life. Additionally, I have been seeing some clients with orthopedic injuries of the upper extremities sustained in the workplace.
What does a “typical” day look like for you at your site?
Depending on the day, I typically see 4-8 clients. Clients are seen in a private room, as opposed to a big open gym, which is especially important for the clients with concussions because we are better able to control the environment based on their needs.
What has been your favorite or the most exciting part of your fieldwork experience thus far?
An exciting part of my fieldwork has been seeing clients all the way through the OT process, from evaluation to discharge, and knowing that the work that we did helped them return to their prior level of function and feel “normal” again. Once I heard a patient say, “Thank you. Coming to see you has really helped me feel like myself again,” I was reminded why I chose OT.
What has been the most difficult/ challenging part of your fieldwork thus far?
Since concussion management is an emerging field within OT, there isn’t a great deal of research available, especially when it comes to interventions. I have had to do a lot of exploration within other disciplines, like neuro-optometry, in order to seek out and provide the most effective treatments.
If you could go back and tell yourself something prior to starting your fieldwork, what would it be?
I am grateful to have ended up at this particular fieldwork site because it has provided me with so many learning opportunities that I did not expect going in. I have been able to observe aquatic therapy, pediatric therapy, acute in-patient therapy, Parkinson’s BIG group therapy, manual treatments, telepractice, and I have learned so much more about concussions and concussion management. I have also met really wonderful people here, both clients and staff. Initially, I was just excited to be able to spend the summer in Maine while fulfilling my fieldwork, but this has turned into a meaningful and fulfilling experience overall.
Any advice for future students?
Explore different areas of the country on fieldwork if you have the opportunity, and open yourself up to new opportunities. I had not spent much time up here in Maine before starting my fieldwork, but being in a new place in addition to a new OT setting has been extremely rewarding and refreshing, and opened my eyes to new career opportunities.