1.What attracted you to the LEND program at CDRC?
I originally became interested in the LEND program, as most soon-to-be grads often do, when Kim and the current LEND trainees provided a presentation during lunch at Pacific University. I had not previously realized there were opportunities to pursue greater education without committing to more student loans. As the speakers were describing the various opportunities (including, but not limited to, increased specialization with children who have neurodevelopmental disabilities, more supervision, research opportunities), I realized they were speaking to everything I wanted to do for the following year and possibly my entire career.
2.What has been the most positive aspect of the program so far?
Identifying the MOST important aspect is hard because the LEND trainee program provides so much in a variety of contexts; however, as I compare my experience as a new graduate to fellow colleagues, I realize that supervision throughout this first year may be the most positive part of the program. Although there is a lot of freedom as a professional occupational therapist, there is always someone available or within reach to help support you through this inevitable learning process. Other colleagues have expressed that it has been a hard transition working in settings that do not provide this support. The LEND program provides both an increased challenge of being proficient in evaluation and treatment while providing a supportive outlet (whether it is another therapist or available resources) to help gather and develop your thoughts.
3.What has been challenging about the program?
The most challenging part of the program has been trying to find establish a routine within the different clinics to help foster my learning experience. Each day is different within each clinic and you interact with different professionals and students that during my first three months I had a difficult time establishing a routine so that I was able to focus more on the evaluation and treatment of the clients. Another difficult aspect of the program is the steep learning curve in learning how to develop treatments for a wide population while alongside OTs who are considered experts in the field. However, this challenge will inevitably lead to further development of my own skills which is comforting to know that there is always so much more to learn.
4.How do you think this program will help you in your career as an OT?
I believe the LEND program has helped define my career path more than I could have ever realized. I did not realize there were so many different diagnostic and treatment avenues that OT could be utilized in the Portland community. When I began looking at occupational therapy programs years ago, this is the picture of OT that I had in mind. As I have moved through different programs and realized were most OT jobs were, that career picture began to fade. However, this program has reenlightened my personal idea of occupational therapy and where it can be useful within the community. As I move forward, after the LEND program, I feel secure that all of the knowledge I have gained from this unique experience will be pertinent to each treatment or evaluation I have as an independent professional.