Feature Stories
Feature Student
Andrea visits Germany &
talks about the OT Prog.!
What is the AOTA ASD? 
by Brittney Sevo
Student Project Gallery
Check out OT student projects!
A Note from the AOTA
by Sarah Chumley
A Call to Action!

Join an OT organization
today! by Marisa Moore
Frank Kronenberg

Highlights on his visit to   SJSU by Austin Ocampo

feature student: Tara Eddy
My Level II Fieldwork in Physical Disabilities

I completed my Level II Fieldwork in physical disabilities at Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center (KFRC) in Vallejo.  Northern California Kaiser patients recovering from CVA, SCI, TBI, MS exacerbation, or any other neurological ailment, all go here.  KFRC is also where PNF was developed.  To this day, the facility offers extensive training programs in PNF attended by PTs from around the world.  It’s a very well-regarded rehab center in the Bay Area.

The OT clinic at KFRC was like something right out of Pedretti.  There were 10-12 OTs working there on any given day.  We had two clinics, an adapted minivan, an OT kitchen, four computers, and a Wii available to us for treatment, along with closets full of traditional OT exercise equipment, games, and craft supplies.  The OTs working there were also certified in the use of PAMs.  Just familiarizing myself with all the available resources took a lot of time.  I learned to play the Wii!  But I also had to learn to take wheelchairs apart with hand tools, use a sewing machine to make leg loops, and use a lot of OT equipment I’d never seen before.

Days would begin with 30-45 minutes of free time to review charts, complete documentation, and plan treatments.  Then, I would spend anywhere from 30-90 minutes in bedside Dressing Training with patients.  After that, I would see patients back-to-back in the clinic for a couple hours.  After lunch, I would have more client treatment sessions, staff meetings, and continue prep/charting time.  I treated patients age 18-late 80s with a huge variety of neurological diagnoses—some I’d learned about in school, and others not.  I also had two patients with bilateral LE amputations.

To prepare for your phys dis internship in a rehabilitation setting, here are four concrete steps I recommend:
(1)    Review your sensory, range of motion, and manual muscle testing techniques.  
(2)    Review materials from the Physical Disabilities and Neurorehabilitation courses and pull out the “cheat” sheets.  Take these to your fieldwork.  You want to know SCI levels and CVA symptoms down cold.
(3)    Review materials from Communication & Adaptation, especially in areas of transfers, one-handed dressing techniques, driving, and home modification.
(4)    Strengthen your core and upper body to help with transfers and protect your back.  Warm up each morning with stretches. 

Fieldworks are much more than academic experiences.  You will also learn from your relationship with your supervisor and the politics of your setting.  Everyone’s experience will be unique, but here are some insights I gained that may help you:
(1)    Don’t expect constant smooth sailing with your supervisor.  His/her teaching style and your learning style are more likely to mismatch than match.  If you find yourself feeling bad about something your supervisor said or did, be thick-skinned and remember it’s not personal.  S/he wouldn’t have agreed to take on a student if s/he didn’t believe in the importance of training the next generation of OTs.
(2)    Remember that therapeutic use of self is a treatment too.  You might feel like you have no idea what to do with a client.  Still, you can always practice therapeutic use of self. 
(3)    Take initiative.  You will likely give one or two in-service presentations and do a final project.  It’s really difficult to start on these in the first month, because you’re learning the ropes.  But don’t procrastinate on them.  If your supervisor doesn’t check in with you on a weekly basis to go over progress, initiate these conversations on an informal basis. 
(4)    For your final project, ask your supervisor and peers what would be useful to them.  It’s more valuable for it to be simple and useful than impressive but complicated.

Good luck finishing your OT education and completing your fieldworks! 

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