Occupational Therapy

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Occupational Therapy Spotlight

Meet Hailey Hahn (Mills). Hailey is a third-year student in Drake's Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. In the spring 2021 semester, Hailey is completing her Doctoral Capstone at Behavioral Health Specialists, Inc. in Norfolk, Nebraska, before she graduates. 


Name: Hailey Hahn (Mills)
Hometown: Norfolk, NE
Degree Program: OTD, May 2021
Capstone Organization: Behavioral Health Specialists, Inc.
Location: Norfolk, Nebraska
Type of Experience: Mental Health

What are your responsibilities at this site location? What does a typical day look like for you?

I am responsible for educating staff, clients, and the community about occupational therapy in mental health as well as creating ideas and providing OT interventions to clients as individuals or in groups. Recently, I have become very involved in IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for Substance Use Disorder where I have had the opportunity to give lectures that included therapeutic drumming and the power of positivity. This experience has helped me realize that I also have a passion for working with individuals with SUD. For my capstone project, I am also working on expanding resources and information to rural communities about suicide prevention.

Each day is different, which is something I enjoy. Depending on the day, I am attending rounding, group therapy sessions, and/or individual therapy sessions.

How did Drake prepare you for this experience? What has been your biggest lesson?

With the comprehensive experiences of didactic work, community engagement, and fieldwork experiences I felt prepared to express the importance and purpose of OT to a wide variety of individuals. My biggest lesson has been learning how to best collaborate with other professionals, in order to provide the client the best treatment possible.

What is your favorite thing about the Capstone experience?

The staff that I am with is my favorite part. Everyone has been so very welcoming and kind. They have all been open to learning about OT and asking about my insight into client care, as well as providing tons of opportunities for learning and participation.

Why did you choose to pursue occupational therapy for a career?

I chose occupational therapy because I knew I wanted to be in a holistic profession that looked at a person as a unique individual. I wanted to help people grow and become successful. I wanted a profession based on resilience, where people can overcome their challenges.

What attracted you to Drake's OTD program?

I really enjoyed that Drake’s OTD program was located in one building, with tons of resources. After my interview, I knew it was where I wanted to be because the OT building felt like home and the faculty made me feel welcome and valuable.

Have your career goals changed at all since starting the Drake OTD program? What are your future career goals?

Starting at Drake, I knew that I was passionate about mental health. My experiences and my advisor at Drake helped me solidify my passion for the field and my goals remain to be a mental health OT.

How has Drake prepared you for your future career?

Drake has given me countless opportunities to take my knowledge and skills beyond the classroom. These experiences include volunteer activities, additional certifications, and community involvement as well as endless support from faculty and staff.

What are some of your accomplishments at Drake and in the OTD program?
  • Community Service Chair for DUSOTA
  • Secretary for DUSOTA
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification
  • Adult Mental Health First Aid Certification
  • LSVT Big Certification
  • Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to future occupational therapy students?

It is always okay to ask for help. You are not expected to know everything. Your cohort, faculty, staff, and fieldwork educators want you to succeed and will always be there to support you.

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