As I rounded the first lap of my OT anniversary in August, I began writing this blog post.

Welcome! Today, I am not only speaking to my fellow OTs and health care professionals, but to anyone remotely interested in health, wellness and prevention.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran looking for a renewed spirit and sense of self, or a brand spanking new practitioner just trying to find some footing, I hope my carefully crafted, often wine-inspired, words will bring some encouragement to your therapy practice and your thriving life.

Truth or dare.

Dare? Great. I was hoping you would say that.

On this ordinary fall day, I dare you to jump on this ride, buckle up if you so choose, and join me as I delve into the online whirlwind world of blog posts, opinions and pantomime.

Today I would like to consider: I have the degree: Now what?

Obtaining a degree in occupational therapy is highly regarded achievement. You have invested four (or more) years of undergraduate studies with the prospect of OT as merely a distant dream: hurdle numero uno. After passing undergrad, and investing nothing shy of buckets of blood, sweat, tears, and cash into filling out grad school applications, one day you receive the sweet, sweet, notice that you have been accepted: hurdle numero dos. “The real journey begins, NOW,” you think. I am finally on the path to fulfillment, achievement and becoming what I’ve only dreamt about for however many days, weeks, months and years.

School begins and you show up bright-eyed, eager, confident, and let’s be honest, cocky, to be the BEST occupational therapist this town has ever seen. You sit down next to another naively adrenalized classmate, only to quickly realize that mountain you felt you were inching away at, just got twice as high.

“Am I doing the right thing?” you wonder. Can I really do this school thing for 2 or 3 more years? Class just started…..I could probably leave now and no one would care. After all, we’re not even Facebook friends yet.

You’ve just been punched in the gut with reality.

But you are determined, so you punch it right back by hitting your books, reading and completing every fluff assignment the instructors throw your way.

You’ve got this.

Fast forward a few years with hours dedicated to studying (gee wiz, all nighters have gotten way tougher),  forming friendships and connections, dedicating yourself whole heartedly to your chosen path and profession, waking up one morning and questioning literally EVERYTHING, re-dedicating your intention to be a fantastic OT…….. and then you graduate.

Cue, *breathing for the first time in what feels like your entire “adult” life.*

And before you know it, you have also passed boards {a hurdle worthy of its own blog post}. You cry and read and re-read your “WOOHOO YOU DID IT” email, and for the first time in a long time, feel like a champion. Like that spirited high schooler who just received a medal at a state competition, only THIS, this really mattered.

Now you have done it. Now life can begin.  Right?


And this is where my prelude ends and true blog-post-real-life-inspired story begins. 

Let’s all take one giant deep breath together, slow this crazy train down, and consider the plot thickens of what we actually came here with attentiveness and anticipation to tackle: “I have the magic letters behind my name to sign documents and treat the community at large, I have a job, but what am I actually doing?”


Did I learn ANYTHING in school? You curse your former teachers and anyone you considered as a mentor, and question the entire process. Your pesky dark side creeps in allowing imposter syndrome to rear its ugly head.

Although this intimidating dilemma seems ultra unpleasant, even horrifying, herein lies the true beauty of WHY you went to occupational therapy school to begin with. And what the true essence of OT holds. It is inside of you, waiting to explode out like a darn can of coke left in the freezer.

The real truth of the matter is, whether you are introspectively aware of it or not, you are prepared to do this. Life is not just beginning now. You have been living and thriving this entire time. As a health care professional, learning never ceases, and now as a licensed OT, you are uniquely setup to continue uncomfortably pushing yourself.

The occupational therapy scope of practice encompasses multiple areas OTs are uniquely equipped to tackle. However, such a broad scope can make it difficult to define “what exactly do you do?”

Contrastingly, I see this as an opportunity to reach a larger audience. To help more people. To stave off complacency and continue to mature, expand, and seek innovation and opportunity.  To make a name for what OT actually does.

To make a difference.

OTs have a unique skill set to work in several practice settings and treat individuals across the lifespan.

According to AOTA and the OT Practice Framework, here are a few examples of the remarkable board certifications and specializations available to OTs:

  • Gerontology
  • Pediatrics
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Rehab
  • Driving and Community Mobility
  • Environmental Modifications and Ergonomics
  • Low Vision
  • Assistive Technology
  • Hippotherapy
  • School Systems
  • Lymphedema Therapy, Cancer & Oncology
  • Continence, Sexuality, and Pelvic Floor (pre and post natal treatment)

Clearly several options are present for practitioners to carve out a unique niche in today’s marketplace.

OTs are called to expand traditional “medical model” therapeutic roles to holistically reach a greater number of individuals who could benefit from services, especially considering what OTs are able to accomplish in the realm of preventive health.

Your OT education has set you up with:

  • foundational skills to make a difference in someone’s life
  • the credentials, autonomy and respect to seek specialization and/or certification from an enormous list of possibilities 
  • a creative outlook and resiliency to advance your practice, think outside the box, reach for the stars, or hell, maybe even start a blog post.  

Now, it is up to you which lane to choose. Or rather which lanes. And the advantage of this profession is you can travel in one lane and ten years later, strategically switch. And still be an OT.  Freakin’ beautiful.

Yet as a licensed therapist, we have the obligation to challenge ourselves every day. Advancement will not magically develop from stagnation, but rather through critically acknowledging what it takes to improve, push outside of your comfort zone during day-to-day treatment sessions, to expand your basic foundational skills, and focus your efforts on a particular niche to better yourself and your community.

What do you bring to the table for our profession? What is your plan to avoid redundancy, increase relevance and value, and change the response from “Why OT?” to “How do I either become, work with, or receive treatment from one?”


Thank you for entertaining my perspectives and tagging along during shameless tangents.

I would sincerely love to hear your personal goals for the profession of occupational therapy.

Please leave comments and messages below regarding the content of this post, future blog post topics, and any other cool vibes or positive feedback and/or suggestions you may have. 


Until next time, thrive alive.


{Ideas stated are solely my own and do not reflect the opinion of outside influences.}