Occupational Therapy

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Meet Hannah Conlin.

Hannah is a third-year student in Drake's Occupational Therpay Doctorate (OTD) program and will graduate in 2024! In her last year of the OTD program, Hannah has had the opportunity to complete a doctoral capstone experience at the Nebraska AgrAbility based in Hastings, Nebraska.

Name: Hannah Conlin
Hometown: Albert City, Iowa
Degree Program: OTD, May 2024
Capstone Organization: Nebraska AgrAbility
Location: Hastings, Nebraska


Tell us about your Doctoral Capstone. What were your responsibilities and what did a typical day/week look like?
Most days, I work on the farm to improve my understanding of farming techniques and learning ways to incorporate occupational therapy safety techniques. I work with livestock and around equipment as we are going into the planting season. When I am not on the farm, I have also been able to attend meetings, conferences, and safety days for agriculture. I work around the farm to learn how to improve safety and accessibility for farmers with various types of injuries or limiting conditions. I complete task analyses for various farm tasks to help determine areas that may need improvement for safety considerations.
What is your favorite thing about the Doctoral Capstone?

My favorite part of my capstone has been being able to look at farming through the lens of an occupational therapist. I’ve been able to meet farmers and attend conferences, all while considering how I can use this information to treat my future patients. I have also been able to design handouts for all age ranges on various topics, including energy usage on the farm and a youth safety activity book.

What attracted you to Drake's OTD program?

I chose the Drake OTD program because of the size of the classes and the support of the professors and staff, as well as the opportunities to be out in the community. I was made to feel like I could fit into this program and be able to focus on growing as a student and a future occupational therapist. I already knew that I loved the Des Moines area, so I knew that Drake would be the perfect fit for me.

How has Drake helped you prepare for your future career as an occupational therapy professional?

Drake has given me the tools to feel confident as an occupational therapist in any setting or with any population, by giving us access to learn about these settings or populations in the community before we head out to fieldwork. Everything that I learned during my coursework helped to prepare me for the fieldwork placements, while the fieldwork placements helped me get more excited about becoming an occupational therapist.

What are your career goals? Have they changed at all since you started Drake's OTD program?

When I started at Drake, I was set on working with pediatrics or in the mental health field, however after my fieldwork experiences and learning more I believe I would fit best in rural hospital settings. After having completed my first fieldwork rotation in a rural setting, I found that it was exciting because you were working in different settings and seeing different types of injuries each day.

What is one piece of advice you would give to future occupational therapy students?

I think the best advice I can give to future occupational therapy students is to try as much as you can, even if you think you are set on a certain setting or population, do not limit yourself during this time. Explore different settings and learn all you can when you are in each setting because it will make you a well-rounded practitioner someday and help you find what you are truly passionate about.

Return to the OTD Capstone Spotlight home page here.

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