Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Advanced Wellness and Education Center
What have you been doing since you left Duquesne?
After graduating from Duquesne, I spent the month of February studying and preparing for the NBCOT exam. During this month, I was offered a job with Advance Wellness and Education Center, a private pediatric clinic in Sarver, PA that offers both early intervention and outpatient services. After passing my certification exam in the beginning of March, I was ready to hit the ground rolling with my new job. Due to the pandemic, my start date was put on hold for 3 months. I spent that time engaging in some much-needed self-care and spending time with family and loved ones. I began working at the beginning of June, and have slowly been assimilating to my position. Due to low caseload numbers, I am still only working part-time hours. Thankfully, the clinic is close enough to my parents' house that I am able to live at home in order to compensate for the less-than-anticipated income.
How did your Duquesne education prepare you for your career?
Duquesne did a great job at preparing me to be organized yet flexible in my position. Extensive coursework and expectations taught me the importance of having a plan and sticking to a schedule. My many fieldwork opportunities taught me the invaluable skill of flexibility, which in my opinion is the most important skill you must have in this field that is difficult to be taught in a classroom setting.
How has the pandemic changed the way Occupational Therapy is delivered to patients?
At the peak of the pandemic, all services were being provided via teletherapy. Today, early intervention services are being provided as either teletherapy or in-person based upon the child's county of residence and additional factors determined by the team. Outpatient services are primarily being provided in the clinic with stringent cleaning regimens and various restrictions regarding what we can and can't do in order to limit the spread of the virus as best as we can.
What do you see changing in the field of Occupational Therapy in the next 10 years?
The switch to teletherapy has already begun, and it is anticipated that this is a change that is expected to stay, at least in part. I am hopeful that this transition does not negatively impact our field, though by-in-large families are not satisfied with teletherapy services and would prefer in-person sessions. This discord has led to many families refusing services altogether rather than receiving teletherapy or a hybrid of both modes. I can see occupational therapy transitioning into much more of a consultative role rather than a weekly service provider if the trends continue.