April is Occupational Therapy Month! In honor of Occupational Therapy Month, we had our Occupational Therapist, Danielle Rowland, OTD, OTR/L, answer a few questions about her career. We are so grateful for Danielle and all she does for Hegg Health Center!
What is your name, title, and a little background about yourself?
Danielle Rowland, occupational therapist. I am from Sioux Falls and have commuted to Hegg for the past 10 years. I love working in a rural environment, as it allows me to treat patients of all ages with varying needs! Hegg is a great place to work as it truly feels like a family!
When did you first learn about occupational therapy?
I completed my undergraduate education at Northwestern, majoring in Biology-Health Professions. I explored various graduate programs, occupational therapy being one of them. My aunt (who also works in the medical field) urged me to explore the therapy world. I then completed shadowing hours in multiple settings.
What made you want to pursue occupational therapy as a career?
I choose occupational therapy for the variety of practice areas, and thus the ability to work with people of all ages and backgrounds. OT allows me to use my creativity to assist people with problem solving to improve their participation in daily tasks.
What are some of the challenging parts of your job?
The ever changing technology can be challenging. We record all of our therapy sessions using an electronic medical record program. Updates to these programs can create extra challenges until we become proficient with the software.
What are some of the rewarding parts of your job?
It is rewarding to see patients achieve their goals and resume their prior roles. Seeing so many recover from COVID-19 during this past year has been amazing. The determination people have and how they use it to surpass expectations is truly remarkable.
Did you always want to go into a career in the medical field?
I do think I have always wanted to work in the medical field. My mom works in surgery at Avera, and I always loved going to the hospital to visit her. There was something intriguing about being at a hospital. Plus, we often visited the gift shop for cookies!
Throughout college I worked as a CNA at a nursing home and as a patient care tech at a hospital. These positions allowed me to gain experience that prepared me for a career in occupational therapy.
Does your job require you to continue learning and improving?
Yes! I am licensed in the state of Iowa, and therefore I am required to complete continuing education yearly. I love continuing education as I am able to keep learning and applying information and techniques that are the most up to date and relevant. Recently, I completed education in dry needling.
What is one situation in your career that you feel most proud of?
I went back to school to obtain my doctorate degree in occupational therapy. This was a hybrid program of online and classroom learning. This was a huge accomplishment for me while working full time and completing this post-professional education.
What does your typical day look like as an Occupational Therapist at Hegg?
My hours are 7:30 – 4:30 and I treat patients in the hospital, nursing home, outpatient clinic, and in their homes under home health. I see patients from newborn through end of life. Some of the common diagnoses I treat include, sensory processing dysfunction, developmental delay, tendonitis, fractures, pneumonia, stroke, Parkinson’s, and more!
What are some of the things you’ve learned throughout your career?
I have been given the opportunity to attend a variety of continuing education courses that have enhanced my skills as a therapist. However, I feel some of the more important things I have learned thus far in my career were taught to me by my patients. I have so many memorable experiences and patients who have truly become friends through the therapy process. Overall, life is finite, so take time to enjoy it!
What is one thing you would like people to know about occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is about what matters to you (the patient). As an occupational therapist I work to get my patients back to enjoying life and gaining independence. We want everyone to be able to live life to the fullest!