This fall Katie Tietz debuted her book Self-Care for the Healthcare Professional: How to gain confidence, take control, and have a balanced and successful career. Katie, who is currently an occupational therapist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California is also a certified mindset coach, a skill she uses both in her practice and to inspire her writing, which is a combination of personal stories, educational content, and activities at the end of each chapter. Read on to learn more about what motivated Katie to write her book.
What sparked your interest in becoming an OT?
Honestly, I just kind of followed what felt right. Before becoming an OT, or even knowing what an OT was, I worked with children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities. I worked in a variety of settings… as a respite worker in the home and community, in an adult learning center, and a pre-school as a 1:1 aide. The child I worked with in pre-school had major food aversions. At the adult learning center we worked on building daily life skills. As a respite provider I worked on community integration and encouraged appropriate leisure pursuits. I was drawn to these jobs because they promoted independence and quality of life. I thought there could be no better career than to bring this to others. That’s when I found out what occupational therapy was, and it was a no brainer. It wasn’t really an interest that was sparked… it was more like a realization of a true calling.
Why did you want to write a book focusing on self-care for healthcare professionals?
I wanted to write this book because I think self-care is incredibly important. It’s important for all people, but in a career where you give so much of yourself to others, I would argue that it’s even more important. I would even go as far to say that if you’re not practicing self-care as a healthcare professional, it could become a patient safety issue. If you are burned out and frustrated with your career, that leaves a lot of room for error… not to mention the negative energy that you drag around with you, from patient to patient. I wanted to write this book so that healthcare professionals can learn how to serve others from their overflow, instead of scraping the bottom for any last drops in an already empty cup. As the saying goes, we have to fill our cups first before we can give to others.
Do you find that self-care for health professionals is a “taboo” topic when the focus is supposed to be care for patients/clients?
I think that it certainly can be. We’re all givers. We all have strong empathy for others. We wouldn’t be in this profession if we weren’t. So naturally, as givers, when the topic arises of ‘taking’ (taking time for your own self-care), it might make us feel uncomfortable, selfish, or even guilty – and those aren’t nice feelings! Unless you have someone telling you that you don’t have to feel guilty and that self-care is not selfish, then you’ll likely continue down that spiral of burnout and compassion fatigue. Then what does that look like for your patient? What does that look like for your loved ones? What does that look like for you? My goal is really to modify that thinking pattern that self-care in healthcare is somehow forbidden. I think that by practicing daily self-care we actually do better by our patients and loved ones. We are able to give more, provide more, and practice more patience and understanding. With that in mind, self-care should be a part of our job descriptions, not the taboo topic that it can sometimes be.
How did your own experiences shape the writing of the book, and how did your time at NYU Steinhardt influence your professional life?
My own experience is what made this book! Both of my experiences as a new graduate OT and the daughter of a mother who was in and out of hospitals and sub-acute nursing facilities for years, is what prompted me to write this book. I saw the signs of early burnout in myself as a provider and I saw many nurses, doctors and therapists who clearly struggled with compassion fatigue and burnout when my mom was in the hospital. My experiences acted like this informal needs assessment – and this book, I guess you could say, is the treatment plan!
My time at NYU Steinhardt undoubtedly helped to shape this book as well. Every single day I think of Kristie Koenig’s words to us during our pediatrics course. She said, “It’s really easy to be a bad OT.” When I began my career I started to realize just how true that statement had been. It was disheartening at first, but that statement continues to motivate me to this day! My time at NYU, all of the professors, all my classmates… they mean so much to me. They set the bar high for professional standards, and personally they all hold a very special place in my heart.
Do you have plans for more writing? What’s next for you?
I would love to do more writing in the future! I really enjoy the writing process and the creation aspect. Although I don’t have anything specific to write about at the moment, I’m sure that life will unfold and opportunities will arise. And as Anita Perr used to tell us, “Always say yes to an opportunity!”
In terms of what’s next, my goal is to get this book in the hands of as many healthcare professionals as possible. I truly believe that it will change lives when utilized to it’s full potential. I’m currently bringing this information to the staff at my own hospital, co-creating our “Lighthouse Initiative” with a couple of my brilliant co-workers, and hope to spread the message to other hospitals, clinics, and universities as well. I also plan to continue my coaching with Health Pro Mindset and help healthcare professionals to maximize their personal and professional potentials!
We recently chatted with new faculty member Patricia Gentile (OTD, ’10), who is joining NYU full-time this year after being a longtime adjunct professor. Professor Gentile shares her background, class agenda, and hopes for the upcoming year at NYU Steinhardt.
Welcome to NYU! Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you the university?
I was born and raised on the West Side of Manhattan and continue to live there. I obtained my degree in Occupational Therapy at SUNY Downstate. Shortly after starting my first job, I went back to school while working full time to complete my Master’s in Health Administration. I then completed the OT Clinical Doctorate Program at NYU Steinhardt in 2010.
My clinical background is in the area of acute adult physical disabilities and home health care. I have always worked in inner city hospitals serving diverse populations and held various managerial positions in these settings. For the last 10+ years I worked in administrative positions outside of OT, most recently as the Administrator of Surgery at a Level I Trauma Center. My OT background has helped me tremendously in these administrative positions and I would like to see more OT’s assume these types of roles.
I have always been committed to teaching and always made time in my schedule to do this. For as long as I can remember, I have taught as an adjunct OT faculty member, most notably at NYU. I especially enjoy sharing my practical experiences to help students understand the bigger health care system they will be working in, including how to navigate it and advocate for their clients and profession. It is this interest that now brings me to NYU full-time. I am excited to be here.
What classes have you taught in the past, and what are you teaching for the coming semesters? Do you have any particular research interests?
I have taught a variety of classes in my clinical practice area as well as administration and management courses. For a number of years I taught the OT Health Advocacy and Administration Course at NYU. This is my favorite class to teach because it allows me to share my administrative experience, which I believe is important to bring this content to life. I will continue to teach this course now that I am full time. I will also be teaching in the online Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program. This will be an interesting experience for me since I completed this program before it went to an online platform.
This upcoming fall I will be co-teaching New Student Seminar with Professor Poole and Theoretical Foundations with Professor Hinojosa. There are also plans for me to develop an OT Leadership Course.
Regarding research, two areas of interests I have are performance improvement related to management/supervision, and how social determinants impact health. While working in Trauma, I also became interested of the role of occupational therapy in traumatic injury prevention.
What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of teaching future OT’s?
For me, one of the biggest rewards is their enthusiasm for the profession and the fact that as new therapists they will be starting with a clean slate, and are open to new ideas about what practice can be like.
The group included graduating students Elisabeth Bahr, Valerie Grinman, Michael Maish, Lindsay Marin, Emma Petkovsky, Marie Joie Tabiri, Matthew Welt and Lindsay Cecic as well as first year OT students Valerie Aziegb and Withline Olibrice.
The Department is proud to announce our departmental and Steinhardt award winners:
Marisa Davison, winner of the Letha Hurd Morgan Award, presented to one undergraduate and one graduate student in recognition of outstanding scholastic attainment and service to their department and School
Michael Maisch, the 2017 OT Department Banner Bearer at Valedictory Ceremony at Radio City Music Hall, chosen for demonstrating spirit through leadership and academic excellence
Elisabeth Bahr, winner of the Samuel Eshborn Service Award, presented to graduating graduate students in recognition of superlative and extraordinary service, exhibiting the value of strong leadership in school activities in NYU Steinhardt
Many congratulations go out to our student award winners and all of our 2017 graduates!
We sat down with new OT faculty member and alumna of the department PhD program here at NYU Steinhardt Grace Kim to learn more about her research and experiences in the classroom during her first year as a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy.
How has your first year as faculty here at NYU Steinhardt gone?
I think really good so far, since it is something really new. It’s a long roller coaster, ups and downs, you slow down and speed up and don’t know whats around the corner. So far all of my experiences have been so positive.
What classes did you teach this year? Did anything stand out to you about them?
In the fall semester, I co-taught Clinical Neurology with Professor Karen Buckley, who is retiring this year. I also taught two Research Interpretations classes, which are more project-based. In that class, I supervised a small group of our entry level MS students, who complete a certain aspect of an ongoing project during the class. It is a nice, different approach to teaching. The class is more hands on and presents realistic scenarios students may encounter in clinical settings. The students are able to have an actual project at the end, which often manifests as a paper or poster at a future conference, so I really enjoy teaching this class.
In the spring, I co-taught Evidence Based Practice with fellow new faculty member Janet Njelesani. That class consists of post-professional OTD students who have their own perspectives and experiences in the field, so the classes end up having a rich dialogue, a different type of learning than the entry level MS students. Teaching both types of students has really helped acclimate me to the program.
What is your background, and what brought you to NYU Steinhardt?
I’m originally from California but have spent the past 15 years in New York. I completed my master’s degree in OT at Columbia University, and then worked clinically at various hospitals in the city.
Most recently, I was at Cornell Medical Center in a clinical research position. At that point, I wanted to do my PhD, and that’s how I ended up in the part-time post-professional PhD program in the OT department at NYU Steinhardt. Six years later as I was finishing up my dissertation I applied for the faculty opening here in the OT department. I’m so happy the timing worked out so well and that I ended up with the position.
Now that you are at NYU, are there any particular research topics you are focusing on?
My research interest historically has always been in neurological populations, specifically stroke and how damage to the brain manifests itself functionally in people in such different ways that you’d never imagine. Here at NYU I’m interested at this point in delving deeper into how we can integrate everyday technologies, specifically mobile wireless technologies, into community and home settings where patients are spending their time when not at a clinic.
I’d like to focus this research on how can we utilize mobile apps, such as motion sensor data (like fit bits) to be able to asses patients when they are in their natural environment, and provide feedback for them when they are moving around in the space, and also as a way to communicate with patients when they are not in therapy.
We don’t know what patients are able to do at home currently even though we give them recommendations. Technology has given us a lot of different opportunities to figure out how we can improve. Giving patients external structure through technology can help to remind patients and keep them motivated with relevant feedback, and empower them to participate in their own care and rehab.
What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of teaching future OT’s?
I think I like that it is still very new to me, so I am still learning as well along with my students. I like to know that you have to be present, everything is happening in real time in the classroom, you have to think on your feet, and sometimes it goes off in a different direction that surprises you. This reminds me that it is the same as treating patients, where the time can go in a various number of ways and you have to problem solve as things are happening, and you have to go with that, and remind students that you always have to think on your feet as an OT.
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Tracy Chippendale recently received a grant from NY Community Trust to conduct a feasibility study for “Stroll Safe”, an outdoor fall prevention program that she developed. The 7-week program, designed for active community dwelling seniors, focuses on safe strategy use to prevent stumbles, trips, slips, and falls outdoors. The purpose of the study is to examine the feasibility of the program and data collection protocol to plan a multisite clinical trial.
The topics addressed in the once a week, 7-week outdoor falls prevention program, for which a treatment manual has been developed, are based on the results of a survey conducted of community dwelling older adults that identified gaps in knowledge and use of prevention strategies, and the related literature. The program includes pre-set modules, however, participants will be able to voice individual concerns and problem-solve solutions during group discussions, and will discuss topics such as self-advocacy regarding reporting problems to the city.
Participants will be asked to keep daily diaries of stumbles, trips, slips, and falls from the time they enroll in the study until two months following the completion of the program. Dr. Chippendale is currently conducting the study.
Lindsey Biel (MA, 1999) Recently published “Students with Sensory Processing Challenges: Classroom Strategies” plus an extensive appendix in Optimizing Learning Outcomes: Proven Brain-Centric, Trauma-Sensitive Practices, W. Steele, ed., Routledge, 2017, pp. 75-94 and 201-215. Her upcoming workshop schedule is available at www.sensorysmarts.com.
Maria Cecilia Figueroa Cupello (MA, 2013) Maria is currently an Adjunct Professor at Mental Health Department, University of Chile. Clinical OT at Child Psychiatric Unit, Clinica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.
Mary V. Donohue, PhD, OTL, FAOTA (MA, 1973; PhD 1985) Mary presented a poster at the 2017 AOTA conference 2017 devoted to art of OT rehab for army veterans in 1944 at England General Hospital in Atlantic City, NJ by Marion Greenwood, her second cousin.
Rita P. Fleming-Castaldy, PhD, OTL, FAOTA (BS, 1980; MA,1988; PhD, 2008)
Dr. Fleming-Castaldy is currently Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Scranton, and received the 2017 AOTA Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Occupational Therapy for “advancing disability rights, empowerment, and historical literacy”. She has authored over 175 works including peer-reviewed national and international journal articles, international and national peer-reviewed conference presentations, textbooks, and book chapters. Most recently, she presented a poster and workshop at the Council of Occupational Therapists for the European Countries and European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education Joint Congress held in Galway, Ireland.
Robbie Levy, (MA, OTR/L , 1982) Is not only a regular presenter for PESI Educational Conferences providing full day seminars on Self Regulation and Sensory Processing, but also presents at many local and state conferences and community events. In March 2017 she presented at the JCC of Harrison in Harrison, NY on Balancing Play and Technology.
Jessica Ng (MS, 2014) Jessica will be graduating this May of 2017 with a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree from Thomas Jefferson University with an advanced certificate in Teaching.
Lorraine Williams Pedretti (BS, 1959)
Lorraine was recently named to the AOTA centennial celebration list of 100 people who influenced Occupational Therapy’s 100 year history.
Jessica Sibley (MS, 2011) Has been keeping busy consulting with 2 schools and starting her own private Clinic, Minds in Motion OT! She is specializing in working with non speaking students working to support learning to use alternative forms of communication and developing more of a brain body connection. Supporting fitness and ADL’s for those with autism has become her newest interest!
Franklin Stein, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA (OT Certificate 1959, MA, 1963; PhD 1968)
Is the founding editor of a new journal: Annals of International Occupational Therapy, published by Slack.
Joan Engel Sullivan, MA, OTR, CHT (BSOT, 1970; MAOT, 1975) and Sally E. Poole, OTD, MA, OT, CHT (MA, 1975 and NYU Professional Program Director) are pleased to announce the sale of their hand therapy practice, HANDS-ON REHAB, Valhalla, NY to Megan Gotlieb Horowitz, MA, OTR, CHT (MA, 2007). Joan and Sally are delighted to “pass the baton” of practice ownership to another NYU grad and “hand nerd”. Best wishes, Megan!
Joan Engel Sullivan, MA, OTR, CHT (BA,1970; MA, 1975) Joan is pleased to announce her retirement from patient care after a career in Occupational Therapy spanning 50 years. Joan is a Founding Charter Member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and served as the president of that organization in 2000. Joan was co-owner of Hands-On Rehab in Valhalla, New York for 21 years and is now looking forward to personal and medical missionary travel and continued involvement in professional educational events.
A complete list of achievements by the faculty of the NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy.
Grants and Awards:
“Stroll Safe”: An outdoor fall prevention program. Funder: NY Community Trust. Dates of project:February 2017-February 2018. Role: PI Total budget: $20,000
2017: The landscape of child disability in Rwanda funded by UNICEF. $320,000.
Co-Principal Investigator: “A Comprehensive Program Evaluation of the ASD Nest Program: Student and School Community Impact” (Co-Principal Investigator Cheri Fanscelli, Ph.D.) FAR Fund. Funded for 1/1/17 to 12/31/17. $50,000.
Chippendale, T. & Lee, C-D. (accepted).Characteristics and fall experiences of older adults with and without fear of falling outdoors. Aging & Mental Health.
Chippendale, T., Gentile, P. A. & James, M. K. (accepted). Characteristics and outcomes of falls among older adult trauma patients: Considerations for injury prevention programs. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.
Engel, L., Chui, A., Goverover, Y., & Dawson, D. (Accepted: 2/3/17). Optimizing activity and participation outcomes for people with self-awareness impairments related to acquired brain injury: An interventions systematic review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.
Hinojosa, J. (In Press). How society’s philosophy has shaped occupational therapy practice for the past 100 years. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy
Howe, T.-H., Sheu, C.-F., & Hinojosa, J. Teaching Theory in occupational therapy using a cooperative learning: A mixed method study (Accepted). Journal of Allied Health.
Lee, T.-I., Howe, T.-H., Chen, H.-L., & Wang, T.-N. (2016). Predicting handwriting legibility in Taiwanese elementary school children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70, 7006220020. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.016865
Patten Koenig, K. & Hough, L. (published online first January, 2017). Characterization and utilization of preferred interests: A survey of adults on the autism spectrum. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health.
This semester, we were pleased to welcome Professor Adina Maeir and Dr. Ruthie Traub Bar Ilan of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Professor Maeir and Dr. Traub Bar Ilan presented their 10 year summary of research and clinical activity of their project Cognitive-Functional (Cog-Fun) Intervention in Occupational Therapy for Individuals with ADHD.
Cog-Fun is an integrated cognitive functional treatment approach designed to address the multifaceted implications of ADHD on the individuals participation in daily occupations.This approach is based on the understanding that the core neurocognitive executive deficits in ADHD interact with psychosocial factors that impact daily functioning and quality of life. The Cog-Fun change mechanisms for improving functioning and quality of life include occupation-based meta-cognitive learning, behavioral learning and environmental adaptation, as well as a positive and empowering therapeutic relationship with clients and their families.
Professor Maeir and Dr. Traub Bar Ilan presented their data as well as showed video interviews with their clients as well as sessions with them to show the impact this treatment approach can have.