Lily Nelson ’21 Dives Deeper into Occupational Therapy

The sophomore says her Field Period® experience helped her build on her own strengths.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

During Lily Nelson’s Field Period® experience, she shadowed Melanie Elardo, an occupational therapist at the Finger Lakes Center for Living. Affiliated with Auburn Community Hospital, Finger Lakes Center for Living provides short-term rehabilitation and long-term residential care, houses a skilled nursing facility, and provides respite care for care-givers. 

Lily ’21, an occupational science major from Auburn, was able to observe Ms. Elardo, who primarily treats short-term rehabilitation patients, during treatment sessions. Part of her observations included gaining familiarity with the Minnesota Manual Dexterity Test, which evaluates fine motor skills of patients and is used to obtain baseline data on a patient. Physical and occupational therapists use the test for injury rehabilitation, measuring capacity for simple but rapid eye-hand-finger movement, and documenting patient progress and/or degree of disability.

Through the following Q&A session, Lily recounts what she learned from her experiences, and how she will take those experiences and build upon them.

Why did you choose this site?
My previous Field Period® experiences were in pediatric settings, so I chose the Finger Lakes Center for Living to learn about the role of occupational therapy in a geriatric rehabilitation setting. 

What were your responsibilities?
I observed the Melanie’s sessions to understand her treatment methods. I also researched a majority of the medical conditions that I saw to gain a better comprehension of patients’ ailments.

What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am good at communicating with the patients, a skill that I will continue to build upon in the future. I thought that this Field Period® was intriguing and I learned so much from this experience. 

Who was the most colorful/interesting person you met during Field Period®?
My supervisor, Melanie. She truly cares about her patients and came up with creative interventions to help them achieve their goals. Melanie has an uplifting personality that engaged and motivated her patients during the therapy sessions. 

What skills did you want to gain from this Field Period®, and what skills did you bring to the site?
I wanted to gain the skill of understanding people as occupational beings in a rehabilitation setting. I came in with the skill of knowing how to build rapport with the patients. 

What would you have liked to have known before the Field Period® began?
I would have liked to know more about some the medical conditions I observed. If I had known what I researched during the Field Period® before it started, I would have gained a better understanding while observing the therapy sessions. 

Did you accomplish your goals during this Field Period®?
Yes! I gained an understanding about what occupational therapy interventions are used in a rehabilitation setting. I also learned the role of occupational therapy professionals and how they work with their colleagues as a team. 

After this Field Period®, what do you believe is the next step in your profession, and how did this Field Period® help prepare you for it?
After this Field Period®, the next step in my profession is to complete my last Field Period® in the summertime and move on to my first Fieldwork site. This Field Period® helped me prepare for my future sites because I will work in a geriatric setting on a more professional level. 

How would you describe Field Period® opportunities specifically to prospective Keuka College students?
Field Period® helps prepare you to know what your future career entails. Experiencing occupational therapy sites first-hand taught me how to apply what I learned in lectures to real situations through observing.