Meet Bri Mazzei. Bri 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, Bri had the opportunity to complete a doctoral capstone experience at Beyond Aquatics in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
At Beyond Aquatics, I provide functional aquatic therapy under the scope of occupational therapy. I work a typical therapy schedule from 8 am to 6:30 pm and all of my treatment sessions are completed in a warm water therapy pool with functional, therapeutic tools. I established a full caseload by advocating for OT among community members and treating individuals in the water, who range from 2 years old to 83 years old. I tailor the treatment sessions to meet the needs of the client, addressing all areas of occupation and client factors. I became certified in Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation to merge my aquatic experience with my education in occupational therapy in hopes of developing functional treatment plans and advocating for the role of OT in aquatics.
There is no “handbook” for aquatic occupational therapy, so I am challenged to be extremely creative, and client-centered. I also treat individuals across the lifespan with a variety of physiological and psychological diagnoses, allowing me to gain experience working with a variety of individuals and needs.
I felt that the Drake OTD program WANTED me to be there and sold the program to me. I believed they were student-centered and encouraged individual, autonomous development rather than going through the motions to meet accreditation requirements.
Surprisingly, I have not changed my career goals. Although I was able to experience a variety of settings, I remained most passionate about outpatient, upper-extremity focused therapy and aquatic involvement in OT. However, I am much more confident and interested in neurological rehab and working with individuals across the lifespan.
Drake has emphasized the importance of approaching therapy from a holistic approach. I was encouraged to address all of the client's needs across the areas of occupation, including sleep, leisure, and social and emotional wellness. I feel that I am capable of developing a client-centered treatment plan that addresses both physical and psychosocial wellness to improve overall quality of life.
I would encourage future students to establish “brain breaks”, days off, routine bedtime, and/or a self-care routine to promote balance while in graduate school. One thing I like to remind myself is “You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself.