I was reading from the institute family history manual about the importance of gathering info about your family and it made me think about my immediate family. Recently I got a book of family history that my Rammell relatives put together. In it are stories and histories and testimonies from everyone from my great great great grandfather Charles Holling Rammell down to the current generation. It was really neat to read about everyone and get to know my family members. I was sad because so many of my relatives decided not to participate.
I instantly had this idea that it would be fun to make a book about my immediate family so we could get to know each other better and those who came after us could really get to know about us and our lives. I have decided to email my brother, sister and parents a weekly topic with a few questions for them to answer. I am going to put them all together into the book towards the end of the year and give it to them for Christmas. None of them every read my blog so they won't know I am doing this. All they know is that I am working on a secret project. This weeks topic is about Job and career choice. I asked my family why they chose the career fields they work in and what lead them to that point. I thought I would blog my response here.
Occupational Therapy and why it was the job choice for me.
Ever since I was little I always knew I wanted a job that involved helping people. For a long time I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals and thought it would be fun to help them. As I got older and realized all the biology and schooling involved I changed my mind.
When I first got into college I decided that I wanted to go into nursing since it involved helping people. I started taking all the pre-requisite classes to get into the nursing program. Shortly after that I started working at IHC as a Certified Nurses Assistant. I loved that job because I always felt like I was providing a service for people and spending my time helping others. I didn't mind working on Sundays because I felt like the people I worked with needed help with their basic daily tasks such as getting showered and dressed and fed if I didn't do it, no one else would. I loved that I got to connect with my patients on a deeper level through helping and serving them. I enjoyed getting to know their history and life stories especially since I worked with so many elderly patients. I started having a lot of physical challenges with my knees from some running injuries but even though I would wake up in a lot of pain, I still loved going to my job because of the difference I felt that it made. It eventually got to be too much though so I ended up quiting. At this time I decided that I didn't really want to pursue nursing anymore.
During my IHC job I got my first exposure to occupational therapy. The first patient I ever worked with suffered a traumatic brain injury and required 24 hour supervision for the first few months to prevent another fatal fall. She was the most wonderful lady named Karen. I stayed with her from 7am-5pm every day for an entire summer. While I was there, I would see her occupational therapist come and work with her and do things like help her to be able to balance her checkbook, cook, bathe, and other life skills that she could previously do before her fall. The occupational therapists goals were to help her become independent with these skills again. It was neat to see how the therapist could use an activity like baking a cake to work on kitchen safety, dynamic balance, organizational skills, problem solving, following directions, etc. It was fun to see how much Karen improved and became more independent. I asked the occupational therapist all about what it took to become an OT and when she said it was a masters degree I immediately put it out of my realm of possibilities.
After my CNA job, I worked for a couple of years supervising mentally disabled adults at their apartments while I worked on my bachelors degree at the U. I helped them with basic life skills, took them grocery shopping, helped them with their bills, took them on outings, etc. I really enjoyed it. During this time period I had a friend from institute who was in the occupational therapy program who reminded me about this career. I became really interested it, and looked more into it and decided it would be the job for me. I would get to help people who had suffered accident or illness that made them reliant on other people to do basic daily activities such dressing, bathing, cooking a simple meal, and leisure interests become independent again. It appealed to me more than nursing because instead of helping people each day, I could help someone to learn how to help themselves so they didn't need to rely on me or anyone else. I looked at it like the analogy of give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. I realized that this is why occupational therapy fit me better than nursing.
I started working as a rehabilitation aide assisting occupational therapists and I was hooked. I reflected back and realized that my job experience the past few years related to occupational therapy, so I decided to apply for the program. I was almost done with my bachelors degree so a masters degree now seemed in the realm of possibilities. It turns out I already had most of my pre-requisites done since I was previously a nursing major and the anatomy, physiology, and other course requirements were similar. I finished the last pre-requisites along with my other coursework for my sociology degree. I graduated with my bachelors degree in Aug of 2005 and started my masters program 2 weeks later. After 3 long years of hard work I graduated from the occupational therapy program. I have now been working out in the field for 2 and a half years and LOVE my job! I am working with the population I originally fell in love with as a CNA, the elderly. So that is how I came to become an occupational therapist.