My first week of Fieldwork II: Outpatient rural setting

My first week of fieldwork has been a whirlwind of feeling like ‘what am I doing?… I know nothing.’ and other assorted internal dialogue that is both unproductive and self-defeating. I have been working on this mindset through challenging those automatic thoughts and rationalizing that there is a lot to learn and this is a learning experience. Talking to my husband every night has been another huge relief. Sometimes I feel like you just need a shoulder to cry on and someone to remind you that you’re not supposed to know absolutely everything yet and that’s okay.

Just today I had my first official treatment session with a client where I set up the intervention plan and conducted the entire session, followed by my first official note. My CI didn’t give too much feedback and I left the office feeling totally defeated. A call to my husband helped everything and those kind of rational, down-to-earth talks help me so much while I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed this first week.

My Level II fieldwork placement for my first rotation is at an outpatient clinic here in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho. My CI that I will have for the first two weeks was a prior OT at a level 1 trauma hospital in Seattle, WA with a diverse background in neurological disorders, SCI, CVA, acute trauma, TBI…I feel like if you name it, she’s seen it. Intimidatingly smart and direct. She received her CHT when she arrived at my placement and is the only hand therapist in the area. She is very knowledgeable and respected by the hand surgeons, so a lot to learn from. I haven’t met the CI I will be with for the last 10 weeks here. She will be my primary OT and her specialty is pediatrics and concussions.

I love this rotation so far, I had an interest in learning more about hand therapy since we did not touch on it in school and I did many of my observation hours at a hand clinic prior to applying to OT school. Coming back to it, I like how I can apply knowledge that I did not have at my observation experience that I can do now. I feel like hand therapy is very technical and although there are a lot of protocols in place for post-surgical procedures, there also seems to be a lot of the good old fashioned OT ‘it depends’. Our caseload is a good mixture of neurological patients but also very heavy on the hand therapy schedule.

A typical day for me so far looks a little like this (starting from wake-up):

5:30-6am workout

6-7:30am get ready, shower, make lunch, do makeup and hair

7:30-8:30am drive time to Sandpoint, listen to podcasts, eat my breakfast, drink my coffee

8:30am-5pm fieldwork! We see clients on a 45-minute schedule, and sometimes we will see 11 patients in a day! There is almost no time for charting and lunch, when we get it, is very quick. I will be interested to see the difference between my current CI and my next one in regards to scheduling and just overall structure of the day. There is a greater need for hand therapy services in this town so my CI stays VERY busy.

5-6pm drive home

6-7pm walk around the neighborhood, listen to audiobooks, talk to my husband

7-7:30pm dinner

7:30-9pm review day, go over notes, look up and research different points from the day

9-9:30pm yoga, get ready for bed

9:45pm hard cutoff bedtime

Next post I’ll go into more detail on the conditions I’ve seen and a little more about what I’ve been specifically doing 🙂

Stay well friends,


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