3 Months In… Life As A New-Grad Pediatric OT

Hey guys!

It’s been a while haha, remember when I made a goal this year to post one blog every week? Yeah, working full-time has definitely changed my goals and priorities!

While it feels weird being away from social media, posting almost daily, and sharing almost every part of my life with thousands of people – it has been so refreshing to get connected and plugged in with a physical community where I live now. As I adjust to “adulting” ad working in a clinical setting, I hope to then create a routine where I can devote more time here and to Instagram and actually share with you all my experiences working as a clinician!

But until then, here is an overview of life right now as a new grad and some life updates!

Life Updates

I am almost working full-time hours! I am so blessed to be working Monday-Thursdays, so to work full-time I will build my schedule to the point of working 7am-6pm on those days.

I got approached to become trained in cortical vision rehab!I am excited about this potentially happening!

I have seen so many leaps in progression for lots of my kiddos and let me tell y’all – it is SO rewarding!


Q&A:

Do you think OT school prepared you for the real world? What do you remember most?

I think OT school did a great job of giving me a foundation of knowledge for my practice, but I think I learned most while on fieldwork. Real world experience truly prepared me best for what I do now! (i.e. level 1 and 2 fieldworks)

The things I remember most from OT school are all of the foundational concepts, like anatomy and neuro, conditions and symptoms, and of course theories (which I honestly don’t think about when I am treating patients haha)

Do you have to memorize all peds assessments?

Nope! No clinic will have every single pediatric assessment available to you, so you really only need to be familiar with the one’s that are available.

In my clinic I have the BOT-2, PDMS-2, SPM-2, TVPS-4, PEDI, Beery VMI, The REAL, The Print Tool, and the Sensory Profile.

It is important, however, to know how to properly use and administer the assessments that you have. You never want your first time looking at an assessment to be the first time you are administering it during an evaluation. To better prepare for evaluations, I would pretend to administer assessments to my friends and I would practice with the scripts!

I think that it is also important to do research on other assessments out there so that you are using the most reliable assessment for each skill set you are analyzing!

Biggest surprise/unexpected thing about life/OT practice as a new grad

How easy treatment planning gets! When I first started I spent all of my time worrying and stressing and planning every single session down to the minute (all for it to fall apart, because that’s just the nature of pediatrics!) Now that I know my clients and know what motivates them, I am able to half plan-half allow the child to lead the session. One week I planned out and prepped for a bunch of different crafts and activities that I could pull up easily in any session, and I still use all of these crafts almost daily with my patients.

How has your confidence level changed throughout the 3 months?

I think this is something I’m still working on. I have become more confidant during evaluations and with administering assessments, and my note writing has definitely gotten more efficient. But overall confidence when it comes to fully knowing what I am doing will take some time to build as I continue to gain experience with certain conditions and patients.

I have, however, become more confident when speaking with parents and letting them know my professional opinion. I still say “I don’t know” to lots of things, but it has decreased some haha.

Best tips for evaluating a new peds patient:

So the way I handle evaluations is like this:

I check out the referral, see what the kiddo is coming to me for, check out their age and any other info that is available to me, then make a basic outline for what I want to do for the evaluation in the clinic.

Things that help me decide what assessments to use:

  • Age
  • Reason for referral
  • Diagnosis
  • Current level of function (if indicated in the referral)

I also have an intake form that I created that I give to parents when they come into the clinic (but preferably before they come in) so I get all of the basic background info, history, and goals, then I use that to elaborate further during the interview portion of my evaluations.

Overall, I think the biggest things with evaluations is just practicing and gaining experience! The more you do something, the more comfortable you’ll feel. And remember that if you forgot to test for something during the initial evaluation, you can still test for it during your next treatment session!

Do you think you made the right choice in choosing practice setting? Why?

I have no regrets with the setting I chose (outpatient pediatrics), especially the specific clinic that I work at. I feel so at home with my coworkers and boss, and the mix of kiddos that I see always keeps me on my toes and looking forward to my treatment sessions.

When I first thought about outpatient pediatrics, I thought I would see a lot of easy cases. However, since my clinic contracts with Early Steps (early intervention) and we live in a big medical community, most of my patients are actually super complex! I really enjoy getting to serve the kiddos and families I see.

What things you have done outside of work to keep life balance?

I do all of the things haha. Since I set the boundary of only working Monday-Thursday, I have so much time to recover from my work week on the weekend and have fun!

I am very involved with my church and the college group at my church where I live (I’m obviously not in college anymore, so I’m definitely the group mom lol), but we do lots of fun activities and service projects around town every week. I play sports with them (volleyball, ultimate frisbee) and also just enjoy spending time with each other hanging at each other’s houses.

I also enjoy adventuring in the cities I live in, so I go to the farmer’s market every Saturday morning to do my grocery shopping, I go on hikes whenever the weather is nice, and try new restaurants weekly! I also try to adventure outside of town when I can and drive to the beach or other cities where I have friends.

Can you share tips on how to prepare for my first job?

  1. Prepare as much as possible! Before starting my job I spent so much time just compiling and organizing resources and research to have a quick reference for a variety of conditions that I might see.
  2. Take CEUs. This might be controversial because CEUs cost money, but if you have the means (or can find free continuing ed) take courses on what you are interested in! This definitely helped me stand out on my resume and during my interviews we talked about the courses I had taken and what courses I wanted to take in the future. This will also help you when you are actually working and you will be better prepared!

Goal Writing Tips

Stick to the basics! In the beginning I was overthinking everything, and it took me forever to come up with goals. But now I just look at the kiddo’s assessments and create goals based on those as well as goals that their parents would like them to achieve (realistically) and compare those to age-appropriate skills.

It’s kind of hard to describe and it’s another one of those things where you have to gain more experience in order to feel comfortable with it. But I will definitely make a blog post with goal examples soon!


Thanks for reading y’all, and if you have anymore questions feel free to leave them in the comments or message me over on Insta!

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