Sep 03

Fieldwork Education = Professional Development

Are you a new graduate looking to begin mentoring level I and II students?

Are you wondering how to improve your developing fieldwork educator skills?

Are you a seasoned occupational therapy fieldwork educator wondering what’s new in the world of fieldwork education?

Are you looking for some continuing education credits (for both licensure and NBCOT) that will enhance your student supervision, service delivery and/or administrative skills?

STudent and supervisor sitting at a computerIf you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you would benefit from attending AOTA’s Fieldwork Educator Certificate Program in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Oct 3 & 4. For more information, or to register, click HERE.

Registration ends September 18 – don’t delay!

Questions? Email Chris Achenbach at

Aug 20

Getting Ready for the New Academic Year

The new academic year begins on August 24th!  We are excited to welcome our newest blue jays – 60 freshmen!  They will join 47 sophomores, 48 juniors, 40 seniors and 46 graduate students for a grand total of 241!

Esb redec conf room

Here Dr. Angela Salvadia and Dr. Nancy Carlson Steadman are collaborating about courses and learning activities in our newly decorated conference room in the OT office suite.

Aug 07

Blue Jays accepted for presentations at the 2015 POTA conference!

Hot off the presses…or at least from the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA).  Etown faculty, recent graduates and current students will be giving various presentations at the annual Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association’s annual Conference in October.  Good job, blue jays! The conference is in Scranton, PA.  We hope to see you there!

POTA conference logo 2015


2:00 PM

  • Non-pharmacological Interventions for Sundowning Behaviors:  A MOHO Perspective
    • Poster Presentation:  Robin Kreiser, B.S. OTS, Tamera Keiter Humbert, D.Ed., OTR/L
  • An OT’s Guide to Patient Reported Outcomes
    • Presentation:  Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L
  • Program Development for a Youth Intervention Center
    • Short Presentation:  Jessica Krueger, MS, OT (’15); Emily Martin, MS, OT (’15); Lauren Neiswender, MS, OT (’15), Bethany Panchak, MS, OT (’15); & Judy Ericksen, Ph.D., OTR/L


7:00 AM

  • Treating SPD & Attachment Issues: An Update
    • Presentation:  Christine Achenbach, MEd, OTR/L
  • Dental Care and Intellectual Disability: Occupational Therapy’s Role
    • Short Presentation: Marla Peiffer, B.S. OTS & Kerri Hample, OTD, OTR/L

10:30 AM

  • Comparison of Activities and Participation Across Cancer Types
    • Poster Presentation:  Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L; Monica Loranger, MS, OT (’15); Carly Stull, MS, OT (’15); & Megan Tursi, MS, OT (’15)

You can get more information about the POTA conference here.

Jun 23

Safe Patient Handling – Conference coming to Etown this fall

SAVE THE DATE – November 7, 2015

standing frame with lift for patient transfer or liftingSafe Patient Handling: Maximizing Rehabilitation Outcomes for Clients & Promoting Cultural Change in Health Care Settings

  • Learn about recent federal guidelines regarding safe patient handling in a variety of health care settings.
  • Through plenary sessions & hands-on laboratory sessions, learn how to use safe patient handling procedures & equipment to ensure safety & maximize rehabilitation outcomes for clients, while minimizing your own risk for injury.
  • Develop strategies to implement cultural change in your health care setting that will promote safe patient handling.
  • Develop & participate in long-term mentoring relationships that will support your efforts to implement a safe patient handling program in your setting.

Place: Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown PA

Cosponsors:  Elizabethtown College Dept. of Occupational Therapy  & Lebanon Valley College Dept. of Physical Therapy.

More information, including registration details, will be coming later this summer.  In the meantime, you can contact Dr. Linda Leimbach for more information.

Jun 18

This I Believe – The Power of Personal Stories

Ann Marie Potter speaks at a  Breast Cancer Survivors' Exhibit

On June 4th, faculty member Ann Marie Potter was a survivor speaker at the opening reception for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition’s “67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania” photo exhibit at the New Bloomfield Public Library.  Ann Marie shared her “This I Believe” essay that she wrote when teaching OT 529.  Her essay speaks to the power of narratives in living through illness.

This I Believe

by Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L

It seems rather obvious with the purpose of “this I believe,” my belief is in stories. Stories connect people and help us make sense of our lives. Many researchers in many disciplines recognize the utility of stories in society in their work.  As I go through life and gain experience and insight, I recognize that I need to tell my story as well as listen to the stories of those around me.  As a young adult, I was a storyteller. My classmates in school at an end of school banquet gave me the storyteller award. At the time, I was embarrassed and felt like I was being mocked. Now I am proud because I understand the relationship of stories to living.

Now I am going to share a story about living.  I was very sick while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I was unable to do many of the things I love to do. My ability to enjoy life and my children was never lost. This is a story about superheroes. These superheroes are extraordinary little boys.  They would wear capes of their favorites – Batman and Robin, and Superman. However, they did not have super physical strength; one had just learned to walk. They had the super power of enjoying life and making everyone smile and laugh.  These superheroes loved to polka on the coffee table and dance in the rain.  They were able to fly to faraway places in a laundry basket. The same basket became a crab pot for fishing off the couch in the Bering Sea.  The playground adventures took us to a sunny place of eagles flying in blue skies. I would travel with them in their stories and knew in the bottom of my heart that we would be together for a long time to come and we would continue to write our stories. These stories are written in indelible ink. They will never be erased and they will always symbolize the joys of life, living and learning.  Too many times, we get away from these types of stories and consumed in those focused in our despair and exasperation with living.  Although these stories do share the human experience, they can drag you down. I will always have the uplifting stories of 3 superheroes singing and dancing on the coffee table – healing their mother’s body and soul.  Here we are still creating new stories as a family.  The story is not about living with cancer, just living.

Jun 11

The Journey to Change Begins with the First Step – Advocacy in Action

Christine Achenbach with Senator Jake Corman

Christine Achenbach, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, with PA Senator Jake Corman.

On Tuesday, June 9, I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser on behalf of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA). Malady and Wooten, the law office that provides POTA’s lobbying efforts, hosted a reception/fundraiser for state Senate majority leader Jake Corman. I had never been to such an event and was excited to step into this opportunity to advocate for occupational therapy.

It is important for occupational therapy practitioners to be involved for the future of the profession at large and also our individual jobs. I accepted the invitation from Kerri Golden, coordinator of the POTA legislative committee.   I stepped out of my comfort zone, and like many people trying something new, I was a bit apprehensive! Kerri Golden gave me some pointers – mainly that legislators’ time is precious and I would have only a few minutes with Senator Corman. I had to be ready to provide a summary that would adequately convey what my OT and OTA colleagues wanted him to know.  Although there is no current legislation on the table that directly impacts OT, concerned consumers and providers are urging state legislators to improve how Pennsylvanians with autism might be better served as they transition from pediatric services to adulthood at age 21.

As I networked with similar constituents at the reception, it struck me that we were all there to educate Senator Corman and his staff about the issues that are important to us and the people we represent. I met a pharmacist whose role in the company where he worked very much reflected knowledge of policy and third-party reimbursement for medications. I met an administrator for a human services company who was very interested in making sure that the services his company provides to children and adults with intellectual developmental delay and autism were secured in any future state legislation.

I saw the senator working the room and realized I was “next” in line. He shook my hand confidently and warmly asked my name. I thanked him for his hard work and shared that although my name tag showed I worked at Elizabethtown College, I was there representing the 9000+ occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in the state. I acknowledged that while his current project is focusing on streamlining state education retirement benefits, I was hopeful that when the opportunity came up to evaluate services for adults with autism in the state, he would consider keeping occupational therapy in the approved services to maximize our clients’ independence. My few minutes of face time were over and he thanked me for coming.

Over the past 14 years as fieldwork coordinator at Elizabethtown College, I have grown to discover that two important keys to affecting change are education and communication. As Senator Corman spoke to the group at the reception, he alluded to this same life lesson. When he was a freshman legislator, he was eager to get bills introduced and moved through the process so that he could help people, complete the job he was elected to do by his constituents, and fulfill his career aspirations. But as he gained experience in his role as a senator, he learned that by taking the time to work with people and communicating with them in the spirit of collaboration, they could work together to make sure the legislation had a greater chance of moving through and meeting a greater diversity of needs.

So what can each of us do?!?  Meeting personally with a legislator may not be feasible for everyone.  However, communicating with our legislators is as easy as sending an email. Do you know if your state and federal legislators even know what occupational therapy is? Or that it should be a part of home health, rehabilitation, behavioral health, forensic settings, education and so many other areas? Take a moment and search for your state legislators and your federal legislators.  Then send them an informational email sharing who you are and what you would like them to do as your voice in policy-making. If you need extra assistance or information with advocacy efforts, the American Occupational Therapy Association’s advocacy & policy pages have some wonderful tools and resources, too.  Let’s work together to make the change in the world we’d like to see and to model it for our children so the next generation can do it even better!

May 19

The Masters’ Class of 2015

2015 Masters OT graduates

                                         Masters class of 2015

a masters OT student attends the hooding via skype and an Ipad

The wonders of technology allowed one student to participate via an I-pad.

Congratulations to our newest graduates from the class of 2015!   This year’s class was 33 students, and they received their OT masters’ hoods at a ceremony prior to commencement on Saturday, May 16.  These blue jays are finishing their level II fieldwork and will be ready for their first jobs as soon as the end of August!  We wish them the best as they embark on rewarding and fulfilling careers!

2015 mortarboards (571x363)

May 05

AOTA Conference – Through the Eyes of a Graduate Student

By Kimberly Cosgrove (Graduate student, MS ’15)

I recently was provided with the opportunity to attend the AOTA Conference in Nashville, TN.  It was an amazing experience to say the least.  I was able to attend many sessions about new and exciting initiatives in occupational therapy practice.  I also attended many poster sessions.  It was wonderful to see how much research is being done in the field of occupational therapy. One session I attended was by the Wounded Warrior Project, and this was by far my favorite.  The session was on how to assist Veterans with amputations and prosthetics.  One of the main ideas that still resonates with me from the session is to enable individuals from the beginning.  We have to help individuals realize that they can do things, despite disability, and empower them.

Another key session that I attended was maintaining ethical practice despite having to meet productivity standards.  This session was so relevant to much of the education we receive in school on ethical practice.  One of the primary presenters was the Vice President of AOTA and it was amazing to be able to hear her stance on ethics and productivity standards.  Through this presentation, I learned about AOTA’s new version of the Code of Ethics, which was approved by the Representative Assembly at the conference. In addition, it was so powerful to hear the Vice President of AOTA speak about advocating for our profession and our needs to clinical managers.

In between sessions, I attended the exhibition hall, with over 1,000 vendors and employers.  I found this hall to be overwhelming.  However, it was incredible to see some of the newest equipment and the differences the equipment is making with clients.  It also was a great time to test out new equipment as well.  In addition to getting to test out new equipment and toys, it was a great opportunity to network.  There were many employers present which provided me with many opportunities to practice my communication with possible employers.

Jennifer Bush & Kimberly Cosgrove with their poster at AOTA conference 2015

Jennifer Bush & Kimberly Cosgrove – AOTA 2015

Finally, one experience that I had a conference that I will never forget is being able to present a poster of Jennifer Bush’s and my senior O.T. Honors in the Discipline project, The Occupational Challenges of, and Support for, Individuals Providing Care to People with Dementia.”  This was such a great experience and a great way to network with other occupational therapists who are interested in this.  It provided a chance to help further my research and get OTs’ opinions of ways to continue expanding it. I am now motivated to take my research further.  Many of the occupational therapists asked if I would be publishing the research as they felt the area in which my research was completed has limited information, and they helped to validate the findings in my research that others need to know to help their practice.

After attending conference and finishing my graduate year, I am excited to go to my second Level II fieldwork this summer and make a difference.  I learned to not just follow status quo but to challenge it and make it better.  I am excited to be more innovative in therapy and contribute to the profession in many ways.

Apr 27

PA licensees must comply with Act 31 Child Abuse Recognition & Reporting Requirements

For all health-related professionals who practice in Pennsylvania, just a reminder that you have a new requirement for obtaining and maintaining your Occupational Therapy license in Pennsylvania.  You must complete an approved course in Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting.  **Please plan to complete the course at least 10 days before you apply for your license to allow adequate time for the course provider to report your results. Current licenses will expire on June 30th.  A list of approved courses can be found here.

New license applicants:  3-hour course

Renewal license applicants:   minimum of 2 hours

Apr 21

SOTA celebrates OT Week & Trisomy 21

by Carly Ensor, SOTA Publicity Chairperson

Several weeks ago our Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) celebrated OT week on campus.  OT week is held annually to promote OT around the college community.  OT week included a banquet on March 31st, where OT students and faculty gathered together to celebrate achievements and memories from the previous year.  Scholarship recipients and students who have volunteered at OT department open houses were recognized, and the evening concluded with a video presentation of photographs from the past year – both inside and outside of the classroom.

SOTA presents a check to AnnaRoseSOTA’s executive board works very hard to bring in a guest speaker annually whose life has been impacted by our profession.  This year, our students and faculty alike were inspired by Miss AnnaRose Rubright, a very successful young woman who just happens to have trisomy 21. AnnaRose shared about her many successes in life including graduating high school with a very high GPA, being a member of the national honors society at her school, and now attending a local college. She highlighted the importance of person-first language, and how using it allows for a better relationship between medical professionals and their clients.  AnnaRose explained that receiving O.T. early intervention services allowed her to achieve success in all aspects of her life.  She is very thankful that her therapy team allowed her to be very independent and truly live life to the fullest.

Guest Speaker AnnaRose blows out her birthday candlesAnnaRose and her parents started The Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education, which is dedicated to the enhancement of the educational experience of students with developmental delays and their participation in inclusive education. Because the Anna Foundation’s values align with our profession, SOTA chose to present AnnaRose with a $250 charitable donation so that they could continue their efforts. In addition, SOTA presented AnnaRose with a birthday cake and led everyone in singing, “Happy Birthday” to celebrate her 19th birthday, which was the same day as the banquet.  Happy Birthday, AnnaRose!

Students, faculty, and other guests were inspired by the wonderful, hard-working, and successful Miss AnnaRose Rubright.  This year’s SOTA banquet was a successful gathering to celebrate the club and very exciting profession of occupational therapy.

What did you do to celebrate OT Month?