Celebrating World Occupational Therapy Day
World Occupational Therapy Day is held annually on October 27 to promote the work, mission, and goals of occupational therapists (OTs) worldwide. An OT can work in a wide variety of settings with any age group. Their work is focused on treating the whole patient and helping them enjoy their lives, whether at work, play, or taking care of themselves.
The faculty and students in our Occupational Therapy doctoral (OTD) program embrace the holistic health that being at OT encompasses. They are often drawn to this field out of their deep desire to help others. Sometimes their decision to enter the program comes after they have seen firsthand their loved ones regain independence as a result of working with an OT.
Savannah Thomas, OTD student, says she decided to study OT after watching both of her grandmothers return to living fulfilling lives after their work with OTs. Savannah says, “I loved the idea of helping people reach their fullest potential after an injury or setback.”
OTD student Esteban Yin had a similar experience of witnessing his mother heal from an injury by working with an OT. He says, “I realized how much of an impact her therapist had on her life. I then researched more about OT and realized that it was something I could see myself doing as a future career.”
Bobbi-Jo Pelphrey, also an OTD student at Kettering College, says she was drawn to this career path because she appreciates how “OTs look at the whole client rather than just looking at the problem. They base their approaches on each individual patient to try to get them back to the things they love to do.” Savannah adds, “We are all about empowering a patient to be able to take control of their life and show they can still have a fulfilling life.”
In addition to helping patients to empower them to have better lives through different activities, exercises, and treatments, another vital mission of every OT is to be their clients’ advocates. Dr. Susan Aebker, Occupational Therapy professor, says, “This level of advocacy can be done at the level of the individual client advocating for certain services, equipment, etc. It can also be at the population level by advocating for more inclusive healthcare policy and increasing access through advocating for continued healthcare coverage of telehealth services.”
Savannah, Esteban, and Bobbi-Jo all agree they are looking forward to the relationships they will build with their clients. Esteban says, “I am most excited to be able to make an impact in someone’s life. Being able to help someone get back to doing the things they love would be very rewarding.”
Bobbi-Jo says, “I am excited to help my patients become the best versions of themselves. I eventually want to work in women’s health in pelvic floor OT because I believe this is an area that is often neglected in healthcare.” Savannah adds, “I look forward to working side by side with clients to help them be as independent as possible. I want to help them reach their goals and to be their cheerleader along the way. OTs are able to think outside the box to provide a new perspective and new innovative ways to help our clients reach their full potential.”
On this World Occupational Therapy Day, we recognize and thank the faculty, staff, and students around the world, but especially those in our program. We look forward to the ways our OTD students will work alongside clients to help them find their way back to health and enjoy life again.