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OT Fieldwork: The Places You'll Go

by Geena Schmidt


Dear occupational therapy student

Congratulations! Today is your day. You've got your fieldwork packet! You're off and away!

You have brains in your head, books in your hands, and feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself professionally any direction you choose.

You're not on your own. You have professors, classmates, and resources so don’t let out a moan, they’ll always throw you a bone. And, don’t doubt yourself because you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

It's opener there in the world of Fieldwork in the wide open air.

But out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy, booksy, and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew. Just go right along taking great care of you. And alas, before you know it your OT abilities will start happening too.


You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great occupation based sights! And long as your gait belt and safety awareness stays in sight, you'll join the AOTA fellows who soar to evidence-based high research heights.

You will lag behind, in thought and in deed, because you don’t have the documentation speed.

You'll walk three steps behind your CI and never take the lead.

Wherever you go, just be sure to try your best,

Because you can’t do any better than you’re best effortest.

But sometimes you won’t.

Because, sometimes, you don't.

I'm tickled to say that sometimes your brain will surprise you with a thought and you’ll learn through bang-ups and hang-ups, yes, they will happen to you.

You will stand behind your CI in many patient rooms, and you can get all tangled up, with tubes and lines and schedules in a prickle-ly perch.

And your CI will help you along every step of the way, when you don’t know what to say. They’re there to help that’s just what they do, and they definitely won’t leave to battle Medicare/Medicaid, Tricare, or Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance rule zoo.


Occupational therapy practice simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper student to make up his mind.

You can get so confused, that you'll start in to race, down long wiggled mind roads at a break-necking pace, and grind on for miles cross weirdish gray wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place. ...for people just waiting.

For cosigns, and authorizations, progress notes, consistent attendance, and home program compliance, or the phone to ring, or the waiting around for a yes or no, or waiting for their neurons to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the call light to light, a script for the doctor to write, or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake,

or a pot to boil, or a better 15-minute break, or a string of beads, or a pair of snap up pants

or a wig with curls, or another chance.

Everyone is just waiting. NO! That's not for you! You’re a student and that’s just not what you do!

Somehow you'll escape, all that waiting and staying, You'll find the bright places, learn your “why you chose OT”, where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high!

Ready for anything in a home visit under the sky. Ready because you're that kind of a guy!


There is fun to be done!

There are standardized assessments to be scored. There are board and card games to be won.

And the magical things you can do with that adaptive equipment ball, will make you the winning-est winner of all.

Except when they don't, Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that sometimes, you'll play lonely games too. When you go home at night and feed just you.

Games you can't win, 'cause you'll play against you.

All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone will be something you'll be on fieldwork quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. Thank goodness your learned hemi-dressing for underpants!

But on you will go through the weather be foul. Because you only have two days to say “OWW!” Rather you’re in Bismarck or Phoenix, or Tampa, or Anchorage. You will learn to wake up with the rooster rather than being a night owl.

Onward up many a frightening rehabilitation street, though your arms may get sore, body fluids on your cheek your neck, or back may need a tweak, and still your sneakers may tend to leak.

On and on you will learn, And I know you'll learn far, and face up to your problems, whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.

You'll get mixed up with many strange patients as you go.

So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that life's a great occupation balancing act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)



be your name Slagle, Sibla, or Monsignor Shea,

You're off to great places! Today is your day! Your two 12 week mountains are waiting.

So... pack up your car and get on your way!

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