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50 Shades of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy Student Intern Blog Reflections

Melissa Celio, Mercy College

October 20, 2020


Sixteen years ago, my father had emergency surgery, and as a result he suffered a minor stroke. He was sent to rehabilitation where he received occupational therapy (OT). I was with him everyday. There, I discovered OT and what it provided to my father in order for him to live a functional life while living with physical, mental and emotional challenges. I realized that I wanted to be a part of the world of OT and provide people with various abilities opportunities to be their best self they can be.

My journey to become an OT began in 2016. One year later, my father passed away. That made balancing a full-time job while attending graduate school at Mercy College even more challenging. I was stressed, anxiety ridden and had difficulty focusing. 

Shortly before he passed, I stood by my father’s side, looked into his lifeless eyes and thanked him. I told him it was because of him that I found my way on this path and that I will be strong and continue to conquer each day as it comes.

I will succeed at helping to fulfill other people’s lives as an OT as his life was once fulfilled. 

As part of my graduate fieldwork requirements, I was placed at Afya to assist with volunteer work and provide OT services for volunteers and employees. The best part of being at Afya is knowing that my contribution is helping to save lives in more ways than one. Not only am I assisting with the delivery of medical supplies to underserved countries around the world, but I’m also helping to improve the lives of the volunteers and employees so they feel successful in their daily endeavors.

One of my passions is client-centered care. Working one on one with clients provides me with opportunities to investigate the cause for their challenges and to identify their strengths. Using a strengths-based approach, I listen to what is meaningful to them and collaboratively find solutions specific to their needs to individualize interventions that promote independence. During a session, my client identified that he would like to improve communication skills to continue to be successful at his current position at Afya.

My role as an OT is helping to guide him towards his goals and break them down into achievable steps so that he can improve his quality of life and grow professionally.

After Afya, I will be assigned to do the second half of my fieldwork at another OT setting. Working at Afya promotes my creativity, innovation, independence, problem solving and clinical reasoning skills while assuming the role as an independent OT student and working on a team of OT students. I will be able to generalize these skills for my next setting and in preparation for my NBCOT exam. Although I am still exploring my options, I have interest in seeking future employment in several areas of OT including mental health, health and wellness, animal assisted therapy, rehabilitation, gerontology, environmental modification and pediatrics.