Student Resources by and for Occupational Therapy students 
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2016 February





A Note From The Editor
by Sue Ram, OTD/S

Hello to all of the wonderful FOTA student members. It has been awhile since the student page has been updated as there have been some exciting changes and transitions. However, there are many exciting things happening around the state of Florida.  Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to connect with many students across the state, from meeting some of you at the FOTA conference in 2018 while you presented your research that you have worked very had on to hearing stories of upcoming fieldwork rotations and graduations. At the conference, I met many students who voiced concerns related to wanting to create more connections with other OT/OTA programs to discuss topics and concerns related to how to start a SOTA group, how to encourage membership and engagement within your SOTA programs, and how to create more community partnerships. As the liaison for FOTA student members, one thing I want to work on is to create a way to facilitate those important discussions among students across the state through the FOTA platform.

Brighid FOTA Sue Ram

In the coming months, I will be open to hearing from OT/OTA students on how we can better facilitate those relationships among OT/OTA students. During the last few months, I became aware of the amazing things that are being done within the state and student members and my goal is to showcase those accomplishments on the FOTA Student Resource page. I believe that by doing this, we can increase student engagement within FOTA and start to really discuss issues and topics important to OT/OTA students. If you have an accomplishment or fun OT school story, please don't hesitate to reach out. I hope you all have a great summer and congrats to all of you graduating! Feel free to email me pictures and a blurb to share on social media!

AOTA Conference with Brent

 I would like to give a special thank you to the outgoing leadership,   including Brent Cheyne. Thank you for your service to the profession   and representing the OTs, OTAs, and students in the state of Florida   as outgoing FOTA president. Thank you Brent for your mentorship   and always letting me do the FOTA Raffle! Also, a huge thank you to   outgoing Secretary Kathy Frahm for all of your hard work over the   years. We also welcome   Douglene Jackson, President, FOTA and Jordan Powers, Treasurer,  FOTA. We wish you all the best in your new roles.

Sue Ram
[email protected]


Fieldwork Experience
By Jai-Lisa Rodriguez

I remember sitting in class staring through the window watching students return from their level 2 fieldwork experiences. They all gathered together smiling, laughing, and talking about the wonderful experiences they’ve had. As I looked at them I envisioned myself having that experience with my cohort. Although I was terrified, I knew that I would make it to that point someway and somehow. I felt as if I wasn’t ready and I didn’t know if I ever would be.

When the students came in to talk to my cohort about their level 2 experiences, I had a thousand questions. I found that no matter how many questions they answered, I still wanted more.I could feel my head pounding with fear and anxiety that I couldn’t even really focus on what the students were saying. On the last day of school before we went out for fieldwork, I met with one of my instructors to discuss going out onto fieldwork. She asked me what was my biggest concern related to fieldwork was. I immediately replied, “I’m afraid that I won’t know how to come up with treatments or know what to do. I’m worried that I won’t get it right or I’ll make a mistake or hurt someone.” Mrs. Ralston looked straight at me and said, “ The only thing I’ve heard you say is “I”. You haven’t once mentioned your clients and that is where your attention should be”. I heard what she was saying but it still didn’t really click until day 3 of my fieldwork experience. I was so anxious during the first few days that all I could do was think, stress, and think and stress some more. I felt as if my brain threw everything out of the window that I had ever learned. I would  scurry through my notes during treatment sessions, focusing on how much I didn’t know, analyzing anything and everything I would say, while constantly second-   guessing myself. One night after what seemed like the longest day   of my life, I received a call from my mom. She was excited to hear   all about my fieldwork experience. She asked so many questions   like, “What kind of clients are you seeing?“, “What was the   experience like?”, “How have you been able to help them?”, “Are   you loving getting to use your new skills?”. That was the moment   that  everything clicked. I realized that I was spending so much time   focusing on myself and over- analyzing what I knew or didn’t know   and that I wasn’t actually using any of my skills. I hadn’t been taking   the time to listen to my clients. I was able to identify their diagnoses   and symptoms because of everything that I read in my books and   learned in the classroom, but I didn’t have a grasp on what the needed. That was the key. Fieldwork isn’t just about your experience it’s about the experience of your clients as well. It’s like a relationship between two people. It requires active listening, caring, and learning about what their specific needs are so that you can come up with a solution together. Understanding a diagnosis, coming up with treatments, writing documentation are skills that we all have that in us and that will grow as we learn and experience more. Knowing what to treat is what we’ve gone to school for. It is what we have studied, learned, and what they have prepared us for. The knowledge is there. It is readily available for us to access and review, but none of that really matters if you’re not mindfully present in that moment with your patients. It’s not just enough to be physically there. We must be present both mentally and emotionally for them.

In school they always taught us about therapeutic use of self, in the sense that we’ve talked about it, but it’s not something you can truly measure. It is something that comes from within and is unique to each and everyone of us. It is one of the most important skills we have as practitioners. It not only helps us connect to our clients and build rapport but it connects to our roots in occupational therapy as a holistic practice. So, if you want to know what you can do to prepare for fieldwork, the best advice I could ever give is to prepare for it to not be about you. Rather prepare for it to be about those whose lives we impact in a very meaningful way. Be ever present. Be ever mindful. Be OT.



Your FOTA  Membership dollars are at work! The FOTA board is pleased to announce a partnership with AOTA to enable your state association to offer a scholarship to an OT student. Monies from a long-held, but small scholarship fund in the name of Myra McDaniels were given to the AOTF to manage. AOTF reported this month that over 1,000 students began the process and over two hundred students submitted their applications. The Scholarship Selection Committee reviews applications on a yearly basis. Your Association Board and future
recipients of this scholarship thank you for your membership! For more information visit:
AOTF Scholarships Overview
AOTF Scholarships Available
AOTF Scholarships -- How to apply
AOTA Scholarship Info page

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About Student Resources: 
Sue Ram, OTD/S, Student Resource Editor                 

My name is Sue Ram and I am a second year OTD student at Gannon University! I am a native of the wonderful Tampa Bay area and I am excited to contribute my writing and editing skills to FOTA as the Student Resource Coordinator. I graduated from the University of South Florida where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Health Communication. I also received a minor in Behavioral Healthcare and another in Criminology. 

A hobby for  writing and a passion for occupational therapy is what brought me to this point of writing for our state OT association. I believe that writing is a powerful means of advocating for our profession, especially in technologically advanced times. My OT area of interest is in early intervention and mental health, so I will be writing about topics ranging from advocacy and hot topics in those areas. My goal is to encourage higher student membership with FOTA in hopes to motivate students to explore the importance of communication and advocacy in our profession. Feel free to email me if you have any article suggestions or have a cool story to share about your school or SOTA group (I would love to interview you!). I look forward to connecting with all Florida MOT, OTD,  and OTA students, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at anytime.

 Jai-Lisa Rodriguez, OTA/S, Student Writer 

 My name is Jai-Lisa Rodriguez. I am an OTA student at Keiser University-Tampa   with ambitions of obtaining my masters in OT. I am originally from NYC and moved   to Florida to pursue my education and career in OT. I obtained my first in-field job at   Select Physical Therapy as patient service specialist to kick start my long term   goals. Fun facts about me include: I have over 15 years of experience in mambo/salsa dance and martial arts including my black belt in Taekwon-do. In my free time I love crafting and woodworking! I also love writing, public speaking, and being part of a team!

I am extremely excited to be working with FOTA and grateful for this opportunity to share my love and passion for occupational therapy with others. This is an amazing field with so many opportunities. My goals are to help expand and advance the field in new areas, encourage new thought, promote positive thought, and inspire others to do the same. I look at each day as an opportunity, and each opportunity as a stepping stone toward my goals. Please feel free to contact me with ideas, questions, or with any concerns you may have as a new student.

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