At its core, this blog chronicles the challenges, joys and discoveries of my work as an occupational therapist.
Well, hello there! Thanks for stopping by my corner of the world. This blog is all at once a time capsule that includes the years I spent in OT school, my current experiences as a fairly new grad OT, and my frustrations with and hopes for the profession of occupational therapy. I’m currently based in North Carolina and I’m a proud alumna of the University of Chapel Hill’s MSOT program’s Class of 2016. Since graduating I worked briefly as a school-based OT and am currently working as an OT in an acute care hospital, but who knows where my career will take me over the next few years!
At the moment, I’m pretty active in various professional associations, serving within the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association, the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity, and the American Occupational Therapy Association in various capacities. I’m passionate about encouraging OT practitioners to demonstrate excellence in their everyday practice, be professionally engaged, and using my knowledge and skills to help patients achieve or return to meaningful lives. My clinical areas of interest include neurological disorders, community-based practice, mental health, veterans and military families, and facilitating independent living for people of all ages and abilities.
When I’m not working on OT-related activities, I find occupational balance by spending time with friends and family, traveling, volunteering at church, reading, and thrift shopping. Happy reading!
My name is Lauren and I am a young woman living, working and blogging in the southeastern United States. I am a Christian, and I am the youngest of two children. I speak English as my first language and Spanish at the “limited working proficiency” level. I weigh less than 100 lbs. and I am a little over five feet tall, but the adjective that most people I know use to describe me is “sassy!”
My mother is a registered nurse who works in a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic. My father is retired from a 20 year career in the military, and he is now a postal worker with his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. He has deployed on multiple occasions to places around the world, including Germany, Korea, Kuwait, and Iraq in my lifetime. My mother’s work as a nurse and my father’s military experience inspired me to find a health career in which I could work with military men, women and families, and that’s how I found the wonderful field of occupational therapy!
I’ve known my husband for nearly half my life, and I have been in a long-term and long-distance relationship with my boyfriend for over 4.5 years. We met in high school and we have been together throughout my 4-year college career, my 2 years in grad school, and just over 2 years of marriage since 2016. Although it has not always been the best of times, I love being with him because he always knows how to inject some rationality into my insanity and bring calm to my anxiety.
I consider myself an open-minded intellectual who enjoys meeting new people, learning about their experience of the world and traveling to see how life around the world is both very similar to and very different from what I’ve grown up with and what I know.
My Experience with Occupational Therapy
My path towards becoming an occupational therapist began back when I didn’t know what occupational therapy was. I was in my sophomore year of college, trying to find a career that combined all of my interests – creativity, health care, communications, education and psychology – into something that I would enjoy and that paid well.
After talking with my pre-health careers adviser, I agreed to shadow a few people in healthcare-related fields and see what I might like to pursue. I talked to my mom about her career in nursing, shadowed a physical therapist and even asked a veterinarian about what she did. But none of these careers were quite on the mark.
Then, in the summer of 2012, I started volunteering with the occupational therapists in the outpatient therapy department of a local hospital. After only a couple of days in the clinic, I knew that I was meant to be an occupational therapist. I couldn’t think of any other career in which I would be able to use my knowledge of anatomy and physiology, my background in cross-cultural studies, my Spanish language skills and my desire to help other people in such a unique and impactful way. And so my love affair with occupational therapy began!