What Erica Brandt ’23 loves most about occupational therapy (OT) is that it addresses a patient’s social and emotional needs, as well their medical ones. That interdisciplinarity drew Brandt to the field several year ago as an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). As she gained experience, she grew more and more intrigued by how her work drew from areas as seemingly disparate as anatomy, physiology, psychology and sociology in ways that were truly distinct. What’s more, she loved the challenge of working with people of all ages who had an illness, injury or disability and helping them use strategic interventions or rehabilitative techniques to live as fully and independently as possible.
“It is the best of all possible worlds,” she says of this work.
Brandt is now pursuing a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Le Moyne, with the aim of working with adults in a hospital setting. At first Brandt wondered if experience might be a bit intimidating, but she found that far from being frightened, she quickly forged close bonds with her classmates and instructors. What’s more, she has been inspired by the commitment to service that permeates the program as she and her classmates wrestle with weighty topics like occupational justice while working with members of the local refugee community in building professional skills that will open new doors for them. Experiences like these have helped her to see that as an OT her job is not just to care for her patients, but to advocate on their behalf. She credits the program with helping her to become “a more passionate and compassionate individual.”
“This has been a completely life-changing experience,” she says. “I have felt challenges and supported in the best possible ways.”
This is part of a series of stories about Le Moyne’s master’s degree program in occupational therapy. Since its founding, the program has earned a reputation for providing students with exceptional academic preparation, as evidenced by consistently high program outcomes. Those outcomes include the current 100 percent pass rate on the National Board Certification Exam and a 95 percent graduation rate. Students learn from faculty members with diverse expertise and graduate well prepared to become general occupational therapy practitioners. They possess a deep understanding of the human body and how it moves and deep respect for human life that is reflected in the care they provide for their patients.