Wednesday, 2 November 2016

You Probably Don’t Know What An OT Is


What is an occupational therapist (OT)? If you want a textbook answer, an occupational therapist is “a healthcare professional who enables individuals with physical, mental, or cognitive difficulties to do what they need or want to do.” Pretty broad, right?

As you can imagine, occupational therapists and OT students have challenges describing what we actually do to the public. Therefore, we have created a challenge for all of the OT students across Canada to make a video describing what it is we do and share it on social media for the “gOT Spirit Challenge”!


Ever since I was in high school I have had my heart (and brain) set on becoming an occupational therapist. Five years of school later, and I am officially in my final year, completing the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at the University of Alberta. As OT students, my 120 classmates and I are expected to get our feet wet with all of the possible areas an OT could work in while in class. For these reasons we take extensive courses in neurology, anatomy and physiology, mental health, pediatrics, geriatrics, adaptive equipment, return-to-work, clinical reasoning courses, and several fieldwork placements. To be totally honest, the program has been challenging at times – but nothing good is earned without hard work.

This past year has tested my ability to adapt to a new environment, juggle seven final exams in ten days, and learn to translate book learning to practical skills during field work. Ultimately, though, the valuable lessons I have learned far outweigh the challenges. Now being in my final year, I am confident in my ability to go into the world as a competent and friendly future OT. I’m sure my fellow classmates will agree when I say that even though the program is intensive and will test the boundaries of how much information one person can retain, we are so thankful to be learning from such a wonderful facility and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others!

Please check out the video and like and share the University of Alberta’s original post to help us get the word out about how important OTs are to their communities. The video that gets the most likes and shares will win a $500 donation to the charity of their choice!

Happy Belated Occupational Therapy Month!

- Kaitlyn Hartmann

Guest Contributors and Movie Makers



Kaitlyn Hartmann (OT PDC President)

Kaitlyn is ecstatic to be in her final year of the MScOT program at the U of A and plans to work in rural BC upon graduation (the mountains are calling). When not in the classroom or attending OT activities, you can find her having a strong cup of tea, working on her cake decorating skills, or heading into the outdoors. 


Desiree Mitchell (OT PDC Spirit Leader)

Desiree is a second year Occupational Therapy student at the University of Alberta. She hopes to move home to Northern BC upon completion of the program. Her dream job would be to work with children in a community or mental health setting someday. She loves anything to do with the outdoors – especially camping, hiking, and snowboarding!



Karisa Teindl (OT PDC Spirit Leader)

Karisa is in her final year of the MScOT program at the U of A. When she is not studying, she can be found hiking, kayaking, or spending time with friends and family, including her two cats. She hopes to incorporate her love for animals in her future practice as an OT.  



Kayleigh Youngman (OT PDC Spirit Leader)

Kayleigh is a second year OT student from Vancouver, BC. She chose OT because she wants a meaningful career where she can help people achieve their goals and dreams. When Kayleigh is not studying, she enjoys spending time outdoors, practising yoga, and hanging out with friends. A fun fact about Kayleigh is that her favourite animal is an elephant.

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