Occupational Therapy

Skip Sub Menu

Occupational Therapy Spotlight

Meet Shannon Flaherty. Shannon is a third-year student in Drake's Occupational Therpay Doctorate (OTD) program and will graduate in 2022! In her last year of the OTD program, Shannon had the opportunity to complete a doctoral capstone experience at A Horse Connection in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Name: Shannon Flaherty
Hometown: Fort Dodge, Iowa
Degree Program: OTD, May 2022
Capstone Organization: A Horse Connection, Nancy King, MS, OTL
Location: Wake Forest, North Carolina
Tell us about your capstone experience at SwedishAmerican Hospital NICU. What were your responsibilities and what did a typical day/week look like?

Mondays and Tuesdays were spent completing office work and personal objectives. Wednesday through Sunday was spent working with clients of varying ages and diagnoses utilizing equine movement as our tool during OT sessions. Additionally, I had the responsibility to help care for the horses and clean up around the barn, as well as work on my own mental health by loving on/riding the horses!

What is your favorite thing about this Doctoral Capstone?

Wow, there have been so many rewarding aspects of my doctoral capstone ranging from developing my skills as a practitioner, coming to love/be interested in working with the pediatric population, and getting to experience my own mental health benefits from working around horses. However, as I am filling this form out, I would say my most rewarding experience is getting the news that one of our new clients who has been coming for a little over a month now just pulled herself up from sitting to standing all on her own for the first time ever after her therapy session that night! 

What attracted you to Drake's OTD program?

I would say what attracted me most about Drake’s OTD program was the distance to home and the professors!  

Have your career goals changed at all since starting Drake's OTD program? How so?

My career goals have remained the same with my passion for working in the geriatric population. I am also highly motivated to start my own practice, within the next 5-10 years, utilizing the equine movement of horses via hippotherapy Occupational Therapy! 

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

Drake prepared me in many ways for what it means to become an OT practitioner! I had the hands-on experience as well as the education in various areas of practice within OT taught me so much.  

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

Go with the flow and enjoy your experience. There were a few bumps in both my personal life this year and throughout the capstone experience that I have just had to learn to adapt and overcome!