Thursday, February 6, 2014

Getting a Rush Out of OT

Lauren Morrissey is a junior psychology major at Elmhurst College pursuing a career in occupational therapy (OT). She was recently accepted into the OT program at Rush University and will begin classes there next year. Lauren was a competitive applicant for the program and her clinical experience gave depth to her application and knowledge of the field. Below she shares a bit about some of her clinical experiences.

            Observation experience is a huge part of learning about a career. Personally, I would not be as passionate about occupational therapy as I am today without my shadowing experience. It really introduced me to the field, and I learned more than I could have ever imagined. Through the Patterson Center, I was able to volunteer and observe at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center in Wheaton, Illinois. There, I mainly observed an adult and geriatric population in an inpatient setting. The floor that I shadowed on consisted of brain and spinal cord injuries in which the therapists worked on a wide range of exercises. For example, I saw a lot of group therapy sessions where the therapists had the patients stand up and play a game of cards to build muscle endurance. I also saw individual daily activities such as hanging up clothes or grabbing things from cabinets. I even learned about the Minnesota Spatial Relations Test, which assesses a person’s visual spatial skills by timing how long it takes to put various three dimensional shapes in the correct spot.
            I was also able to learn a great deal at Paulson Rehab Center in Willowbrook, Illinois. The therapist I shadowed was a hand specialist; therefore I was able to see a lot of arthritis and carpal tunnel patients. In addition, there were many patients with broken arms and shoulder surgeries. A lot of the injuries were due to a work accident or affected the patient’s job. It was interesting to observe an ultrasound that was used on the hands and wrist to give patients with arthritis and carpal tunnel release by breaking up fluid in the tissues. I also saw the BTE machine, which had various gadgets that were used for hand strengthening. Through all of this I have become confident that occupational therapy is what I want to do for the rest of my life. 

Lauren Morrissey in Prague while studying abroad during January term.

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