Clinical Rotation Leads to Fulfilling Career
Seven months into her occupational therapy career, Erica Stevens, OT is enjoying life exactly where she was hoping to after graduation—treating the geriatric population and living and working in a rural area. It only took a level II fieldwork rotation and some in-depth research about contract therapy to realize RehabVisions could connect her with those goals.
Like many students we host for clinicals, Erica was skeptical of working in a nursing home. By the end of her first level I fieldwork rotation at a skilled nursing facility, she was intrigued by the type of care and support that therapists contribute to the geriatric population. She decided to pursue a level II fieldwork rotation in the skilled setting, that by chance would occur at a RehabVisions-managed facility.
“Prior to my RehabVisions rotation, I was not familiar with the company, nor was I familiar with contract therapy companies in general,” Erica said. “After beginning my rotation, chatting with a recruiter, and doing some online research of my own, I realized to reach my goal of working in a rural setting, a contract company was the avenue to pursue. I also realized that contract therapy companies can differ drastically. Finding an honest, well-represented and respected company became a ‘must’ on my list for future employment.”
During her three-month rotation, Erica soaked up everything she could to expand her knowledge of skilled and long-term care, Medicare rules and regulations. After the first month, she was personalizing her own treatment approaches and plans of care. She gained confidence for the application of knowledge learned during graduate school and the capacity to expand on foundational hands-on skills that come with clinical practice.
“I credit my positive experience to the warm and welcoming facility, as well as the exceedingly helpful therapists I worked with each day,” she said. “Not only did I learn to operate a sit-to-stand lift and put on compression garments in a timely manner, but I also attained personal clinical advancement skills regarding patient advocacy and empowerment, fostered by a supportive and committed team of therapists.”
It was one of those therapists, clinical instructor and rehab director Shelly Hefner, OT, who suggested Erica look into positions with RehabVisions. Erica was connected with SNF Operations Manager Jennifer Flanagan, SLP and spoke with her many times during that rotation about future plans and where she wanted to live after graduation. Erica and her husband were hoping to move to Harlan, Iowa, as they loved the town, and it afforded her the rural healthcare opportunities she was seeking. She was offered a position at a facility in Harlan and accepted it before graduation.
Her first months as an RV clinician have been personally and professionally rewarding. Last fall, just a few months after joining her rehab team, she participated in a RehabVisions CEU class for certification in lymphedema treatment and immediately integrated the knowledge into her treatment sessions with appropriate patients. Erica has plans for the future to achieve LSVT BIG certification, learn the intricacies of hand therapy, and expand the outpatient services that will be offered soon at her facility. And about her new home in Harlan, she and her husband are thoroughly enjoying small-town living and are finding new ways to get involved within the town and surrounding communities.
“Each day I feel increasingly more comfortable with my surroundings and skills,” Erica said. “While I still have much to learn and improve, I try to end each day knowing I gave it my best shot. I am lucky to be an occupational therapist and immensely thankful that a clinical rotation one year ago could turn into the life I live today.”