AOTA Hosts Game-Changing Conference

Conference Students

Six Lewis and Clark Community College OTA students attend the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference.

Every year, Occupational Therapy practitioners around the world attend the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference. This is an opportunity for professionals to further develop their skills and increase their knowledge through workshops, research panels, and presentations to learn the most current methods and continue providing skilled therapy.

This year it was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was extra special because not only was it our first time attending the conference, but we also celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Occupational Therapy!

100-year celebration

The AOTA Conference celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Occupational Therapy.

Over the course of several days, six of us Lewis and Clark Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant students attended various presentations. As students, we felt our time would be most wisely spent in student-oriented sessions to help us better prepare for entering the workforce.

We attended discussion panels of new practitioners, prep sessions with tips for taking the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam, but in the end, several of us agreed that a lecture we attended by Brandon Siegel, CRP, was the most impactful of all the sessions we attended during the conference.

Mr. Siegel provided information on to help jump start a career in Occupational Therapy, and his approach to the topic was humorous and down to earth. Below is our condensed list of Mr. Siegel’s presentation with 15 game-changing tips to entering the Occupational Therapy workforce.

Next-Gen Occupational Therapists: Secrets to Entering the Workforce in Today’s Ever-Changing Environment

  1. Create relationships within the company – NETWORK!!!
  2. Document each Fieldwork experience (Disease, Treatment, Methods, Protocols, Patient Outcomes, etc.)
  3. Focus on your Productivity: HARD WORK PAYS OFF!
  4. Interview your coworkers to step up your game
  5. Resume (1-2 pages)
    • Needs to have licensure at the top
    • Goal: Hit key words, Disease, Treatment, Exposure (summary)
    • Summary of Qualifications: 1-2 pages
    • Brag about your exposure and experience
    • Fieldwork Level 1: 1-2 bullet points
    • Fieldwork Level 2: 2-3 bullet points
  6. Curriculum Vitae (CV) … Life story as an OT
    • Could be 20 pgs.….
    • Include only experience relevant to OT
  7. Get a LinkedIn Profile
    • Productivity:
      1. Copy of resume, 2 letters of recommendation (1 clinical, 1 character building) Sample documentation

** The quality of therapy is only as good as your documentation**

  1. Verify the job hours (e.g., PRN, Full Time)
  2. GPA is not relevant
    • Passing the NBCOT exam states you are qualified for entry level job
  3. Cover letter:
    • 2-3 paragraphs max
    • 1/2 – 2/3 page – Background information and your qualifications
  4. Don’t include an objective statement
  5. Start looking for jobs 6-8 weeks before the exam
  6. Put the most relevant information at the top of the resume
  7. Resume should include bullet points and minimal color
  8. Do your homework! Not only is the employer interviewing you, but you are interviewing them! The more you know about the employer, the better you can judge if the job opportunity and workplace is a match for you. Knowledge is power!!
AOTA Conference

L&C OTA students celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Occupational Therapy at the AOTA Conference in 2017.


The Dog Days of OT: Meet Spuds & Ribbie

Spuds and Ribbie

Meet Spuds and Ribbie! Image Source

By Lisa Hill, OTAS, and Larissa Heeren, OTAS

Therapy can be found everywhere these days, and it comes in many forms.  However, when it comes to therapy dogs, most people think of the large breed dogs such as German Shepherds or Labradors.  But, that is not always the case.

Please meet Spuds and Ribbie, the two lovable companions of Mackenzie Lowrance COTA/L, CPAM.  Mackenzie is a graduate of the Lewis and Clark Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.  She is currently employed as a Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with a Certificate in Physical Agent Modalities. This means she can treat clients with light, water, temperature, sound, or electricity in preparation or in combination with occupational therapy interventions.  Spuds and Ribbie are not only her companions but also her coworkers.

Therapy Dogs

Spuds and Ribbie are registered Therapy Dogs. Image Source

Spuds crossed Mackenzie’s path when he was approximately 8 weeks old and only weighed 2 lbs! He tried crossing the road on a rural highway in front of her, so she scooped him up and made him her own. Mackenzie soon began to train Spuds and his first accomplishment was the American Kennel Club (AKC) good citizen course.  After this certificate, he began to go to work with Mackenzie.  He was practically a veteran when he tested for Therapy Dogs International and received his official license.


Spuds has now made more than 150 therapy visits. Image Source

Ribbie was the runt of her litter that came from a friend of Mackenzie’s and at 6 weeks old weighing in at an amazing ½ lb, Mackenzie took her home to meet Spuds.  Mackenzie eventually began to work with Ribbie and had her tested with Therapy Dogs International also. Ribbie was awarded her license and soon began to go to work with Mackenzie too. Both Ribbie and Spuds had very sweet temperaments and both of them loved being with people. Their wonderful dispositions have made them very successful therapy dogs and they have been loving life in the working world ever since.

Fun Loving

Spuds and Ribbie are fun loving dogs. Image Source

Spuds and Ribbie are excellent examples of how important therapy dogs have become in the medical field.  The dogs bring peace and happiness to those with illness and disability.  And, as Spuds and Ribbie have proven, therapy dogs can come in all shapes and sizes.  These kinds of dogs have a presence in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, home visits, libraries, schools, shelters and anywhere else there are people with a need to feel their love and comfort.  In fact, libraries have started implementing programs called Tail Waggin’ Tutors where children read to dogs as a way to promote literacy.

Ribbie Cuddles

Ribbie gives some therapeutic cuddles. Image Source

As Occupational Therapy Assistant students, we urge all pet owners to visit the Therapy Dogs International’s webpage at to learn more about this awesome way the dogs of the world are making a big difference in people’s lives on a daily basis.

Spuds Snuggles

Spuds snuggles up to a patient. Image Source

Let us know if your pet would make a good co-worker in the comments below.

6 Tips to Beat the Heat

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Find shady areas to beat the heat. Image: Under the Shade of a Tree by Kuroda Seiki

By Rachel Buckley, OTAS and Crystal Anderson, OTAS

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Summer is in full swing with a lot of things to do! Exploring, vacationing, relaxing and spending time with friends and family are just a few of those things with a majority of activities taking place outside.

Fun in the sun can be potentially dangerous as temperatures rise and heat waves come along. In 2014, 244 people died in the U.S. just from exposure to excessive heat. That’s a lot of people! No need to worry though, occupational therapy is here to help.

June is National Safety Month, and as professionals concerned with the safety of individuals, occupational therapists know there are a few tips individuals can take to avoid injury and illness that may limit summertime fun.

The connection between occupational therapy and safety is strong. The occupational therapy profession aims to do no harm and prevent individuals from experiencing harm. This can include providing the community with health and wellness tips or information.

In this spirit, we present 6 tips to safely enjoy time outdoors when the heat is a challenge to beat.

1) Stay Cool

Like the lovely lady in the painting by Kuroda Seiki at the beginning of this post, seek out shady areas when spending times outdoors in the heat. Or, you can also alternate short activities to complete inside and outside. This gives you the opportunity to cool off by soaking in some air conditioning before braving the heat again.

2) Drink Water

The more the merrier. Drinking more water than you need can help when it is lost excessively through sweating.

Screenshot 2017-06-06 14.52.05

Our furry friends should stay hydrated, also. Image: Pixabay

3) Dress Appropriately

If those in style crop tops aren’t a possibility, wearing loose fitting or lightweight clothes is always a good idea. Even wearing a hat can make you feel better when the sun is beating down.

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Wearing hats can protect you and loved ones from the sun. Image: Pixabay

4) Limit Exposure

The hottest parts of the day occur between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. During this time, it is best to avoid strenuous or lengthy activities outdoors.

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Avoid the hottest parts of the days by staying indoors. Image: Padma News

5) Pace activities

When the body is overworked, it heats up. Choose activities that can include taking breaks or are not extremely demanding on the body.

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Find a place to take a break when you feel yourself getting overheated. Image: Pexels

6) Wear Sunscreen

When the skin gets burned, it makes it difficult for the body to stay cool! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended sunscreen is at least SPF 15 and should be applied more than once throughout the day. For further concerns and question contact a local or primary care physician about sunscreen use.

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Smile! Applying sunscreen can be fun. Image: Hawaii Aloha Travel

For further summertime safety tips check out the National Safety Council’s Summer Safety Tips.

How do you stay cool in the summer months? Let us know in the comments below.