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Occupational Therapy Assistant Collaboration

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South Texas College recently hosted a Supervision Workshop where students from STC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program welcomed their peers from Laredo Community College (LCC) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Courtesy Image

Mega Doctor News

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By Selene Rodriguez

To commemorate International Occupational Therapy Month, South Texas College recently hosted a Supervision Workshop where students from STC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program welcomed their peers from Laredo Community College (LCC) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

A cohort of seven students from Laredo’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program and a group of 12 UTRGV Occupational Therapy students were invited to STC’s Nursing and Allied Health campus to participate in a workshop focused on case studies and supervising methods.

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“Both future therapists and therapy assistants will inevitably cross paths in the future. Our goal is to establish a strong connection early on so they learn how to work together and create the best effective treatment plans for their patients,” said STC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Chair Layman D. Miller, who organized and conducted the special class.

In all states and territories that regulate this health field, an occupational therapy assistant must be supervised by an occupational therapist. 

Students discussed the differences in duties and responsibilities between therapists and therapy assistants and participated in case study scenarios that involved levels of supervision and the decision-making process according to the profession’s standards and ethics. Courtesy Image

“Our students really enjoyed working through different scenarios with their peers who might end up being their future supervisors. It was an excellent learning experience on teamwork and collaboration,” Miller said.

Students discussed the differences in duties and responsibilities between therapists and therapy assistants and participated in case study scenarios that involved levels of supervision and the decision-making process according to the profession’s standards and ethics. 

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“It’s very different to discuss these topics that we have talked about in class with students from other schools, it brings us a new perspective,” said STC student Christian Longoria. “It’s one thing to compare ourselves to our classmates, but comparing our experience as students to another college or university showed us differences in education and skills, which we can use to improve ourselves.” 

Lorinda Harris, Occupational Therapy Assistant program director at Laredo Community College, thanked STC for the invitation and showed her appreciation to the community of the Rio Grande Valley. 

“We are very grateful to be included in these types of workshops, especially when we don’t have an occupational therapy program nearby, meaning our students don’t get to collaborate with therapists until they’re working in the field,” she said. 

Both Laredo Community College and STC Occupational Therapy Assistant students that attended the workshop are currently in the last semester of their program.

“As border towns we share many cultural similarities, so there’s a good chance that we will treat patients with a similar profile. We are thankful for this opportunity to collaborate and compare methods so they can learn from each other before they graduate,” she said.

UTRGV’s Clinical Assistant Professor for the Occupational Therapy program Roel Garcia, also showed his excitement about his second-year students taking part in this event only a couple months before they start fieldwork as part of their degree requirement.

“We have collaborated many times with STC, but this is the first time we have had a hands-on workshop,” Garcia said. “We want to keep collaborating at least once a year, because this is good for both of our programs. Our students really enjoyed talking to other students in the same discipline as opposed to just listening to it in a classroom. They loved the experience.”

STC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program prepares students to assist patients of all ages in developing life skills that can increase their independence in daily functions. 

For more information on STC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, visit nah.southtexascollege.edu/ota/ or call 956-872-3161.

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