Occupational Therapy

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Occupational Therapy Spotlight

Meet Emily Hawkins.  Emily recently graduated from Drake's Occupational Therpay Doctorate (OTD) program in 2020!  In her last year in the OTD program, Emily had the opportunity to complete a fieldwork experience at Millenium Therapy in Maquoketa, IA.

Name:    Emily Hawkins
Hometown:    DeWitt, IA
Degree Program:    OTD, May 2020
Capstone Organization:    Millenium Therapy
Location:    Maquoketa, IA
Type of Experience:    Geriatric, Long-Term Care, Skilled Nursing
What is it about Occupational Therapy that attracts you?  Why did you choose to pursue OT? 

I have always wanted to work in healthcare, but I wanted to be a part of a renowned profession where I can build rapport, help people with a purpose, and for it to have endless opportunities for emerging areas. Shadowing and having conversations with occupational therapists validated my feelings toward OT. Some of myfavorite shadowing and volunteering experiences were in an outpatients pediatric setting and in a skilled nursing facility. Each day brought something new and I valued that was able to develop positive relationships with the patients. During therapy sessions, I thought it was amazing how therapeutic use of self and play could be so therapeutic for a child and I found it rewarding watching patients meet their goals. After these experiences, I knew this is what I wanted to do and how I wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. I immediately wanted to learn more and gain more exposure to the field. As I continue to learn and grow from fieldwork, my passion for occupational therapy deepens.

What are your professional goals as a future OT? 

One of my main goals is to own my own business of some kind which involves OT. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like right now but I have a few ideas brewing.

Tell us about your capstone experience at Millenium Therapy.  What were your responsibilities and what did a typical day/week look like?

Millennium Therapy is an Iowa-owned and operated therapy services with locations throughout Iowa and parts of Illinois. They provide Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy in a variety of settings including outpatient, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living, and home health. My Level IIB fieldwork was with Millennium Therapy in Maquoketa, IA with two nursing homes.  I also had the opportunity to go to two nursing homes at their Bellevue location earlier in my education, during my Level 1D experience.  The majority of the population I worked with was geriatrics in long term care and skilled nursing, and I also had some outpatient patients as well.

Each day/week depended on the census for each building. Typically, I would see each patient anywhere from 2-5 time per week for 30-45 minutes each time. It honestly just depends on the individual.  Sometimes I would co-treat with either the speech therapist or the physical therapists, depending on the patient’s needs. Then the treatment is tailored to meet the patients’ needs to increase function, improve independence with ADLs, and improve their overall quality of life.

How did Drake prepare you for your this experience?

I feel Drake provided me with the basic foundation of clinical diagnoses and intervention ideas for this population. Then hands on practicums really helped, and introducing us to a variety of assistive technology, adaptive equipment, assessments, and even home modifications all helped during this experience too.

What was your biggest lesson from this fieldword experience?

The biggest learning curve is finding out what motivates and what is meaningful to your clients. Are there certain activities they prefer over others? What do they value? What is motivating to them or what is the end goal for them? Do they want to be able to be independent in their room or is the end goal to be healthy and safe enough to go home? Also, just because you as a therapist may find something important, doesn’t mean the client thinks it is important.

What was your favorite part of this experience?

I honestly just loved working with all the residents, but my favorite memory was dressing up with the staff for Halloween and incorporating the Halloween theme into interventions.

Why did you choose to attend Drake?

I chose Drake because I really connected with the professors during the interview compared to other schools. I was also familiar with the campus and Drake has a good reputation.

How did your experiences at Drake help you to pursue your career goals? 

Drake’s OTD program helped me grow as an individual and as a professional. I was able to gain experience in a variety of settings due to Drake’s connections with many clinics and facilities, which is in turn helping me study for my board exams. I am very happy with my education and blessed to have so many experiences from the Des Moines community and from my clinicals.

What are some of your accomplishments at Drake and in the OTD program?

Becoming certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid and as an Ergonomics Assessment Specialist.

Share a few things you've liked most about your time at Drake and in the OTD program.

Being able to attend the AOTA conference at a more affordable price. New Orleans was a great time and the conference was amazing. It was such a great experience.

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

Get involved with the OTD program and campus activities, and have fun because it goes by fast.

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