Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I'm a terrible blogger, I know. What can I say... I've been busy! I also confess to struggling with the fact that people who know me read this blog... so I'm always censoring myself to not talk about people when I haven't gotten their permission and also I'm reluctant to share my more personal thoughts and reflections. I'm trying to get over it.
But then, there's still the time issue.
Failing a proper post, I thought the least I could do is post some photos from my time up here thus far! I'll be in Thunder Bay for one more week, then I'm moving to Geraldton Ontario for my clinical placement. It will be my first 2-to-1 placement (two students, one preceptor), which I'm a little nervous about but I'm also told is a great learning experience. We'll see how it goes!
We had our practical exam for the term last week. Not really sure how it went. We are given a client scenario (like a referral) 24 hours before the exam to research about the condition and develop an assessment and intervention strategy (which always includes theoretical approach). Then the first hour of the exam is an interview with our client, played by an actor as a "standardized patient." Just like in a real client interview, you have to budget your time to do all the assessments you want to. Then we have two hours to write it up... including theoretical approach, what we did in our one hour with the client, reporting our findings, analyzing them to identify the occupational issues, then writing treatment goals, objectives and a plan... plus a session plan for one particular session. And finally we tell them what our outcome measures would be, when we would assess them and how we would determine when discharge would occur. Phew! So, I don't think it went horribly. The interview was good. But time was short for the write-up and I ended up having to rush the last half. In talking to my classmates it seems that this was a common problem, with some people handing in late (and taking grade penalties) or not finishing. Nothing to do now but wait and see. I did my best and that's all you can do. :)
I will say, however, that there is some concern that the students in the northern studies stream we placed at a disadvantage. We've heard from some students at the McMaster site that the specific details of the exam grading criteria were discussed with them during their small group learning sessions. We didn't get that here in the north. But again, nothing to do but wait and see.
Now I'm writing the final paper for the term, which is worth 50% of my grade in one course. No pressure... right!
And on that note, I really have to get back to the writing!
Good luck to all my classmates...
And congrats to all those who will be joining us next year as the Class of 2012!!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
First, the MMIs are not so bad... so take a deep breath and be yourself. Next, the MMI scenarios I posted were not the questions I was asked. I found those examples on a discussion board for students applying to med-schools that use MMIs. However, they do give you a feel for the MMI style of interview. My third point is about preparation...invest some serious time in self-reflection about why you want to be an OT, why you'll be a good OT and what makes you so sure about that, and why you think Mac is the best place for you to learn. I posted a couple of entries last year about my own preparation process and the kinds of info/self-reflection I did and all I can say is that I felt prepared going in to the interview and ultimately I got in! So, I think it's a sound strategy :)
All the best to the 2012 candidates!!
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
My second try at a scholarly paper proposal has been accepted!! Woot! The topic had to focus on an aspect of the environment that influences occupation and occupational therapy practice, and deciding on a topic was SO hard. Coming up with an idea is the first challenge, but then you also need to go to the literature and see what kind of evidence there is to support your brain child! It took me fully researching three different ideas in order to find one that fit the assignment's criteria and that was a topic I would be interested in writing about. Rejected ideas included: looking at suicide risk factors (environmental) and the legal practice context of patient rights/therapist obligations; rehabilitation with women in conflict with the law and the corrections practice context as an occupationally impoverished environment. Both I think would be interesting to explore, but the suicide one was rejected (maybe I just didn't present it well) and the other seemed kind of big and challenging, so I decided to go another way. I'm happy to report that my approved topic is about the meaning of place and the affect of later life transitions from independent to supported living on psychoemotional wellbeing. I still have some refining to do, but at least it's a start! This paper is worth 40% of my course grade. :s Eek!
In other news, my group presented today on Social Role Theory and I think it went very well. Our group worked well together, and thankfully so because our process in getting the finished product together was not linear lol. That said, I think we did a bang up job of taking a very conceptual model and showing how it could be applied to practice. Go team! I'm also really grateful to our classmates who generated and participated in discussion. It's the worst when you get blank silent stares, so I'm glad we didn't have to face that! :)
And on that note, it's nap time for me. And yes... Napping IS an occupation! ;)
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Term One Portfolio - Done!
Presentation and Handout for MI - Done!
ASIST course - cancelled :(
Scholarly Paper proposal - done, but not thrilled with it. **UPDATE: My topic was rejected! Phew... now I get to pick something else**
Seminar Group Presentation on Social Role Theory - research underway.
Learning Contract for Term 2 Placement - BANE OF MY EXISTENCE! (begrudgingly in progress).
So far this term is off to a roaring start! I'm loving my new PBT group and tutor... We seem to have good ju-ju together. Now... If I can just stay one step ahead of the school-work flood, everything should be okay *thumbs-up*
Thursday, January 7, 2010
And for all those people finishing up your applications... Good Luck!!!
Friday, January 1, 2010
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Due to a series of fortunate events, I was able to attend the weekly rounds of the Forensic Psychiatry Unit twice during my placement. My problem-based tutorial leader happens to be on staff in that department and invited our group of students to attend. The sessions happened to be held at the hospital site where I was doing my placement. Plus my preceptor was very cool about encouraging me to take advantage of every education opportunity and she let me leave for lunch a few minutes early so that I could get to the session on time, even though the talks had nothing to do with her particular area of practice. I’m a lucky girl!
The first week I attended the guest speaker was Dr. Hy Bloom, who is both a doctor and a lawyer. His presentation was on the topic of workplace violence. Although it was an incredibly interesting topic that was very well presented, I must confess that I left the session feeling a bit disturbed. Workplace violence as a general topic was broken down into “types” based on the perpetrator’s relationship to the workplace. For instance, some have a direct relationship with the workplace as employees and commit acts of violence against coworkers who also have a direct relationship to the workplace. In other instances the perpetrator does not have a personal association with the workplace where violence is perpetrated, and the location has some kind of representative meaning to the person. And there are other types as well… which I’m sure you could look at by looking up some of the publications by Dr. Bloom! My purpose in mentioning a few examples is that each of the different types of workplace violence was illustrated in the presentation with a real life example, and it was the examples that were disturbing. So, I’d say the presentation was great for increasing my awareness of the issue and the resources that are available for further researching the topic, but because of its brevity I left the session with an uneasy feeling and many unanswered questions. Such is the nature of the lunch-time-rounds beast! We only have an hour so it seems as though we just get started when we then have to wrap it up, lol.
The second session I attended was about the assessment and management of suicidal patients and the talk was given by Dr. Larry Chad. He discussed some of the demographic risk factors for suicide and also suggested some strategies he has found successful for addressing patients where there is an overt or suspected risk of suicide. I found this talk to be much more concrete than the workplace violence topic since it focused on what to do in a given situation rather than discussing the topic more abstractly, from a big picture perspective. Don’t get me wrong… both were great! But, since I’ve signed up for a suicide prevention counseling course in the New Year I found the assessment/management topic to be more germane to my current interests.
And that was the last lunchtime rounds session of 2009! Now that my placement is over I’m not sure that I’ll get the chance to attend again… but here’s hoping! I highly recommend taking the time to attend these rounds sessions while you’re on placement if you have the opportunity. Sure, it takes up your lunch hour. But in my humble opinion it’s time well spent. And each department holds its own rounds… so maybe you’re more into pediatrics than forensics? Then check out the pediatrics department to see if they have any postings up about when they hold their rounds! There seems to be something for everyone if you just take a look to see what’s out there.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
UWO OT Reflection
I can’t believe it is already October! The first month of this program has absolutely flown by - it is definitely a fast-paced program. Orientation week was filled with social events to break the ice between the classmates and professors. During my undergrad I didn’t get to know many people due to the large size of my program, so it is a nice change to be making friendships so quickly, and feel at ease talking with profs.
Following orientation week, each student was matched with a local OT to observe them for two days. This was in order to give everyone a clear idea of what OT is all about, in case someone might decide it isn’t for them after all. I loved this experience! I was matched with an OT at an outpatient mental health community centre, and learned so much in the short time I was there. Even though I was a psych major in undergrad, I wasn’t sure what the role of occupational therapy is in mental health. Students were intentionally matched with OT’s who worked in areas that the students did not have experience in. The OT I shadowed was very experienced and had a lot of knowledge to share about this area of practice. I`m really glad that Western threw us out there right from the start – it was a good way to put the theory we’re learning in class into context.
From what I`ve heard, one of the biggest differences about the OT program at Western are the anatomy and neuroscience courses. We are required to take them first term, and anatomy involves working with cadavers in the lab each week. I was very apprehensive about this at first, but after the initial shock of seeing the bodies and smelling the formaldehyde, I have come to find the labs very interesting, and appreciate the learning opportunity given to us. However, some people are still having a hard time with it, and leave the lab visibly upset. So, Western may not be for everyone because of this, and it should be something you consider if you have a choice of schools. (I am not sure if any other programs require working with cadavers, some might).
Besides overcoming the whole examining dead bodies thing, anatomy is very stressful because of all the memorization involved. We have quizzes every week on what we learned in the previous lab. Fortunately the course ends in December! Neuroscience has also been very challenging, and most of us are struggling with it. It sounds like some changes are going to be made to the way we are assessed though, hopefully for the better.
As far as all other courses go, most are fast-paced also, and require a lot of reading and assignments. Lectures typically involve quite a bit of discussion about whatever topic we are discussing that day. We break into our mentor groups fairly often, which have 7-8 students, to work on projects or discuss an issue. These groups have an OT mentor also, but we haven’t met them yet. The OT lectures at Western really stress client-centred and evidence-based practice, along with interprofessionalism between the different health fields.
It seems as though there is always something going on, a committee to join, an event to go to, etc. I joined the Grassroots committee, which aims to promote occupational therapy in the community. At the end of the month there is a rehab formal which should be a lot of fun. Overall, I am very much enjoying the program and my classmates, even though it does get a bit stressful at times. I think the worst of it will be over once we are finished with anatomy and neuroscience. Our first placements happen in January, and I`m sooo excited for it!
This post was just a brief overview of what the OT program is like at Western, but there is so much to it that I could go on talking about. Hopefully this helped to get an idea of the differences between some of the other schools though!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
First week down!
It’s funny because I imagine that the first weeks of our program will be the lightest… nothing is yet due, we’re still doing a lot of introductory stuff… but for me it felt HUGE. It’s a lot to take in at first, plus we had a number of extra sessions scheduled, like CPR and library orientations, and we’re doing all of that first of the year settling in type stuff, like getting OSAP and trying to get OGS applications together. It’s all very new and very busy! Coming from an undergrad program that had few in-class hours and a lot of independent research, plus a very limited social life (I really focused on academics in undergrad, practically to the exclusion of all else), this new schedule for school and life is a big adjustment.
The other thing that’s a big adjustment for me is the McMaster culture… both in regard to the problem-based learning (PBL) and just the OT department’s culture in general. Group learning is a new challenge in the sense that you’re learning on two fronts… the content of whatever topic you’re dealing with, plus adjusting to the group dynamic. It takes a lot of self-awareness to see not just what you need to get out of the class, but to also see how you are affecting the participation and/or development of others. And at first, while you’re just getting to know one another, it’s really hard. Other than that I can’t really say much about problem-based learning because I’m still so new to it myself! I will try to talk about it more as time goes on though… I know people who are not in the program are curious about how it all works.
The other culture kind of thing that I’m trying to wrap my head around has to do with grades, and I’m really conflicted about this one. We have basically been told that students who meet all the expectations of the program will get B-grades… that B’s are perfectly acceptable and that we should not be motivated by the need to get A’s any longer. Now, part of me is freakin’ out about this revelation. I’ve been so driven for the last three years in order to get the grades that would make me a competitive candidate for grad school and scholarships that I’m not sure I can turn that instinct off right away. Plus, there’s a part of me that thrives on the external validation that grades provide. But on the other hand, the more time I have to sit with the idea of focusing on my own process and not just the end goal, the more there is a piece of my self that unclenches and starts to breathe. I’m not a competitive person by nature and I’m only now starting to really appreciate the internal burden I was carrying around in order to throw myself into the rat-race and succeed. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m actually glad that the culture in my program is more focused on the process rather than solely on the product. In both cases I will arrive at the same end… a MSc in Occupational Therapy… but with the Mac way I might also get to have a balanced life while I’m doing it! I simply need to convince the little voice in my head that is really unsure about this whole “grades don’t matter” thing that it will all be okay.
All things in time, I suppose. :)SweetPea
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Well, o-week just wrapped up and WOW what a whirlwind it's been! Days filled with welcome sessions, training sessions and paperwork... nights filled with great social events with some of the most awesome people in the world. It really is true that when you show up for o-week you feel as though you've just been introduced to 64 of your closest friends. I'd heard that was the case, but I honestly didn't expect to actually feel it. Now I know... and it's awesome! :D
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I’m happy to say that with the help of friends and family my move to
Despite the heat my move was relatively uneventful and went smoothly. And since I’ve arrived at the new place I’ve been hiding in the air conditioning with the curtains drawn to avoid the heat, and leisurely getting the apartment cleaned and my stuff unpacked. It’s worked out well actually. I had expected the move to be a nightmare and I can’t even tell you how grateful I am that it wasn’t.
The book lists were also posted online by the McMaster bookstore this week. They have 15 books listed that (before taxes) total just under $1100. The good news is that one of the second year students posted a note to our class’s facebook group that not all of the books are “required.” Unfortunately the student did not specify which ones we need… which means keeners like me can’t go and buy our books before o-week (when we’ll presumably be able to find out which texts we have to get).
One other thing I did notice… some of the texts on the book list I had seen for sale on the CAOT website for a LOT less money. Sure enough, I doubled back to check it out and some of the books were as much as $30 LESS than the Mac bookstore list price. That seems like a huge difference for one textbook to me. I’ll investigate further and let you know. One reason may be that CAOT members get a discount on all products sold on their online store. And what many students may not realize is that CAOT membership is FREE for students enrolled in OT programs. They say membership has its privileges!! This is definitely something that all OT students should look into.
Well, that’s enough out of me for now. I have to finish unpacking my house… and packing for vacation! I’m going white water rafting and then visiting family for a week. So excited!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Image by Aidan Jones via Flickr
Great News!! I'm TB negative!!
But oh what an ordeal to find that out!! o_O
I knew back in January when I applied to OT programs that I would need to get a 2-step TB test done, since I'd never had a test before. For those of you who are not familiar with the process, the TB test involves having some of a special solution injected just under the surface of your skin on your forearm. It forms a little bubble that quickly subsides. Two days later you go back to have it "checked." If it bubbles up again or becomes red itchy/inflamed then they measure the diameter of the reactive area. If it's bigger than a certain size it's considered "reactive" and you have to go for a chest x-ray to see if you have any active TB in your lungs (I believe... for truly accurate information, please refer to the Canadian Lung Association webpage). If the reaction is smaller than a certain area, or if there is no reaction at all, then it is considered "non-reactive" or "negative" for TB and you go on to step-2. The second step is exactly the same as step one, except that you're repeating it one to three weeks later.
So, I knew that I would need this test way back in January, but I was busy. I called the student health centre at my university and got all the information I needed about booking an appointment and cost and all that. But I thought I had time. I didn't need the results until summer! Why rush?
Well, in June after I'd accepted the offer from McMaster and got the health screening forms I called the university health centre again to book my appointment. Here's how the conversation went:
Me: I'd like to book an appointment for a TB test.
Her: Certainly, are you a Trent student.
Me: Yes, and I'm working for the university this summer.
Her: Okay great. Did you convocate this year?
Me: Yes I did! Just last week. :)
Her: I'm sorry we can't see you in that case. You must be a current student and you are now a former student. Our insurance won't cover us to see you and our director is adament that we not see any former students, no matter how recently they graduated.
Me: (grasping at straws) Okay, but I am an employee of the university otherwise I wouldn't bother you with this. Is there any way I could come in?
Her: Unfortunately, no.
Me: (thinking, no biggie I'll go elsewhere) Okay, can you refer me to where I can get a TB test done?
Her: Unfortunately, no. There is nowhere else in Peterborough to get a TB test done.
Her: You can call public health, but I don't think they'll do it. You'll likely have to go out of town. It really is the responsibility of your new school to provide you with testing facilities if they require them for your program.
Me: ??? (at a loss for what else to say) Okay, thank you for your time.
*Calls public health in Peterborough*
Me: I am wondering if you do TB testing.
Her: Yes we do. Do you believe that you've been in contact with it?
Me: No, I need to have a 2-step TB test done for admission to a grad program in Occupational Therapy.
Her: Oh, in that case, no. We can't see you.
Her: We don't have the staff or the funding to provide the service. A few of our doctors have left in recent years and they have not been replaced. We simply can't handle the extra volume that voluntary testing would create.
Me: (>_<) Okay, I understand. Can you tell me where I could go to have this testing done? Her: I'm really sorry, there's nowhere in Peterborough to have the testing done. I have heard of some students driving down to a clinic in Pickering. Me: Okay... Thank you. If I had to travel out of town for a TB test I thought I'd at least roll it into a visit with my family in Kingston. I called the public health unit and found that they do TB test administration on Tuesday mornings and TB test checks on Thursday mornings. I work Monday and Wednesday nights in Oshawa... so it was doable, but not ideal. And that's exactly what I did.
I have to say that the people who staff the immunization clinic at the KFL&A Health Unit are wonderful and efficient... but my travails did not end there.
Because I work on Monday nights and don't get home until about 11pm I had to pack up my things very quickly for the two weeks in Kingston and get on the road, so that I could get to bed at a decent time to be up the next morning for my test. I rushed. I got to my parents' in good time. I got out of the car and realized that I'd left my suitcase... with all my clothes and my laptop... standing in my driveway in Peterborough -_-. I was so mad at myself! lol... but at the same time, it was funny. So on Tuesday I had a TB test AND went shopping for something to wear.
On my first trip to the health unit I put out my right arm. The nurse prepped it, inserted the needle, loosed her grip on my arm and said "Oh! That's weird. Your arm pushed the needle right out! Oh well, we'll just have to do your left arm instead" and she put a cotton ball over the area where my arm had been pricked. She then injected my left arm with no issues, turned her attention back to my right arm, removed the cotton and said "Oh my! I must have hit a veiny area" (her words not mine). There was a black and purple loonie-sized bruise where the first injection had been!
And the next week... step 2... it happened again! Except this time was a different nurse and when I warned her about what my right arm did the last time she made sure to brace my skin securely... after injecting the fluid and removing the needle she said "Oh my, that's not right!" My arm, rather than forming a little bubble, pushed all the fluid back out the injection site, lol. I'm not even kidding. So I was left with another bruise on my arm and a total of 4 TB injections for the two steps. LOL... if not for the fact that I did not react to the injections, I don't think there's anything else that could have gone wrong with what is typically a very straight forward process.
The good news is that it's DONE! I also got my background check and the rest of my health forms completed... but I'll post more information about those later. I know this post is really long, so thanks for bearing with me.
Hopefully YOUR adventures in TB testing will be a little less adventurous than mine.
All the best!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Class of 2011 Schedule
Also, for anyone who has not yet seen them there are two Facebook groups you may be interested in joining. One is for the Orientation Week and has been set up by the organizing students for us new kids. The other is a McMaster MSc OT Class of 2011 group where members are introducing themselves to one another.
If you're in the class and on Facebook... hook it up!