From New Grads to Dynamic OT Duo
So many young, eager and talented therapists graduate from therapy programs every year–and RehabVisions is happy to welcome them into the fold at our facilities, offering mentorship and nurturing the first years of their career. Some are former clinical students, which is the case with Rockhurst University graduate Katie Kelly, OT and University of Missouri graduate Anna Grimshaw, OT. Both former Lake of the Ozarks clinical students and now full-time RehabVisions therapists at the same hospital, they are working together to grow the OT presence in their facility. We reached out to them to ask what their first year has been like with RV.
Sharp OTs unafraid to seek mentorship, Katie and Anna were surprised at how much they’ve learned from therapists outside their discipline. Both found mentorship with experienced physical therapists in their department. Anna already embraces an “if you don’t use it, you lose it” philosophy and seeks out treatment-related conversations with her therapist co-workers and mentors, in addition to making time for online research and learning. “You often have to be self-motivated and take it upon yourself to learn new things,” agrees Katie.
RV’s rehab departments allow therapists to get involved in a variety of treatments with patients from a wide range of ages. “It’s great to know what you want to do and to have a passion about something–I have one for pediatrics. But I found a place that was able to give me some of that, but also keep me sharp in my skills for inpatient, outpatient, adults, strokes and other areas,” she said.
Their initiative and thirst for knowledge has served them well in what Katie calls a “whirlwind” first year. This setting has pushed them and made them grow as therapists. As a result, both new grads have been a huge part of program development at the facility, under the direction of Area Manager and Rehab Director Courtney Hulett, PT.
“OT didn’t have the biggest role here at the hospital, so it’s been nice bringing that to the forefront,” Anna says. “It’s really neat to be a part of something changing in a positive way… I’m glad I got to help facilitate some of that change,” adds Katie.
Identifying a need in the OT program, and these two therapists to fill it, Courtney worked with Director of Operations Steve Kinkead, SLP to send Katie and Anna for training in lymphedema. “The news of this opportunity was met with an enthusiasm that has grown into an ever-expanding program,” says Courtney. Last fall, Katie and Anna completed a lymphedema course through RehabVisions and are using that knowledge to network with doctors at the hospital and educate inpatients.
Anna is pleased at how quickly and efficiently they have taken the CEU knowledge and impacted the OT department. Taking advantage of face-to-face physician meetings and the occasional gym run-ins, Katie and Anna have taken that lymphedema knowledge into many different areas.
This transition from new graduates to valued therapists growing OT in the facility has awarded them some insights for the next round of therapists graduating this year. Their advice?
“Soak up everything you can from everyone around you. Don’t limit yourself to just learning from [your discipline]–there is an opportunity to learn at every turn. You really need to take that in, especially in these first few years,” says Katie.
“And make sure you find opportunities to grow and then go with it. I think it’s important no matter where you are to not just settle for the way things are going, but to look for opportunities. You’re going to have to work for it, but if you work hard it can turn into something great,” adds Anna.
An “infectious mentality” that is welcome in the therapy department, according to Courtney. With mentorship and the drive to contribute to their program, Katie and Anna have found a good balance between autonomy and supervision. No challenge too large for these two–we see many more opportunities for personal and professional growth in their RV future.