News about Occupational Therapy Assistant

OTA majors broaden understanding through service, hands-on learning

Students join Matt Emmerling, of Sizewise Durable Medical Equipment Co., who brought bariatric equipment to campus for students to try.

Occupational therapy assistant students have had a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning and service this month. Matt Emmerling, of Sizewise Durable Medical Equipment Co. in Altoona, visited the OT Practice Skills course for a session on “The Overweight and Obesity Epidemic 2018: Bariatric Medicine.” He demonstrated a number of pieces of bariatric equipment. Students were given the opportunity to try the equipment as well as an obesity suit to gain a better understanding of what the bariatric population experiences on a daily basis.

Members of the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Club, with club adviser and program director Jeanne M. Kerschner, gather at the Ronald McDonald House Danville. The group prepared a meal for guests of the facility on Nov. 17.

On Nov. 17, students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Club made and delivered an Italian dinner for about 30 guests at the Ronald McDonald House of Danville. Located near the Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, the facility provides families with sick children a warm, safe and comfortable place to eat and sleep, keeping them close to the care they need when they need it.
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School of Nursing & Health Sciences hosts celebration

Pennsylvania College of Technology welcomed several School of Nursing & Health Sciences alumni back to campus to speak at an event celebrating the school’s name change, its academic majors, and milestone anniversaries for two programs: occupational therapy assistant (30 years) and physician assistant (20 years). From left are Megan Wright, ’12, a physician assistant practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation; Brian Webster, ’06, a nurse practitioner specializing in emergency and family nursing; President Davie Jane Gilmour; Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences; and Michele “Mindy” Tedesco, ’88, a registered occupational therapist specializing in home health care.

The School of Nursing & Health Sciences at Pennsylvania College of Technology held a multifaceted celebration on Oct. 4 by hosting an open house of its facilities and welcoming accomplished alumni, who reflected on how their education has shaped their careers.

“We come together … to celebrate the positive impact all 10 of our nursing and health sciences programs have on our students’ lives, the professions in which they work, and the communities they serve,” said Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences.

Of particular significance during the celebration was a change to the school’s name: from the School of Health Sciences to the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, and the anniversaries of the occupational therapy assistant program, whose first students graduated 30 years ago, and the physician assistant program, which graduated its first students 20 years ago.

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ASL Student Musically Adds to Easter Message

VanBuskirk signs for an appreciative Easter audience, going beyond direct translation to interpret the song's meaning for the congregation.

Kelsy J. VanBuskirk, a senior in the applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration, put her American Sign Language skills to use as she signed “Forever” by Kari Jobe at a local church on Easter morning.

The Bethel-Linden Presbyterian Church contacted Sarah S. Moore, a disability services/deaf services specialist at Penn College, asking if any of her students would be interested in interpreting the song for the sunrise worship service.

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Thirteen Students Selected for Penn College NOW Scholarships

Penn College presented scholarships to 13 first-year students who took Penn College NOW courses. From left are Tavor T. Wadsworth, of Williamsport; Vincent R. Keene, of Downingtown; Kayley E. Johnson, of Bloomsburg; Monica A. McCarty, Penn College’s dual enrollment specialist; Michael L. Gardner, of Williamsport; Warren E. Knipe, of Liberty; and Tanya Berfield, the college’s manager of college transitions. Additional recipients not in the photo are: Cheyenne N. Greene, of Jersey Shore; Deontae Z. Johnson, of Selinsgrove; Kylee E. Kelley, of Lock Haven; Tyler W. Miller, of Montgomery; Luke B. Walter, of Millmont; Brittany M. Weiskopff, of Blossburg; Clayton T. Welch, of Benton; and Jeremy M. Wolfgang, of Allenwood.

Pennsylvania College of Technology recently recognized 13 first-year students who received Penn College NOW scholarships.

The recipients completed Penn College courses during high school as part of the college’s Penn College NOW dual-enrollment program. The group was honored during an Oct. 27 reception.

To be eligible, students must have successfully completed at least one Penn College NOW course, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Penn College NOW classes, enroll in Penn College as a full-time freshman student for the fall semester after high school graduation, and maintain a 2.5 GPA at Penn College as an enrolled student.

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Emergency Scenarios Translate to Real-Life Benefit for Students

Occupational therapy assistant student Rachel N. Zimmerman, of Pine Grove, shows physician assistant student Zachary S. Kimble, of Bellefonte (acting as a hip-replacement patient who later in the simulation would have a stroke) and other students watching how to use a “reacher” to help with dressing. Observing is Christine A. Tilburg, clinical director of physical therapist assistant.

Emergency medical services student Ian P. McClure, of Littlestown, and paramedic technician student Megan E. Bobby, of Dysart, explain the actions they would take when called to the Dental Hygiene Clinic to help a patient experiencing an allergic reaction to Novocain.

Surgical technology students simulate a laparoscopic gall bladder removal.

Around 250 students in the School of Health Sciences – an academic division that spans 11 distinct health care and allied health fields – are participating this week in a series of hands-on emergency health simulations. The school’s fourth annual Interdisciplinary Professional Event involves 24 student teams, each made up of a cross section of health disciplines, discussing and observing one another’s role in their assigned case. Students in the physician assistant major played roles of patients, whose health problems ranged from an allergic reaction to Novocain in the Dental Hygiene Clinic to a loss of consciousness in the Keystone Dining Room, and surgeries to replace hips and remove gallbladders. As “patients” moved through the health care system, they moved, with their observers, from lab to lab in the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center. The purpose of the experience is to prepare the students to deliberatively work together as patients interact with each of them during their health care experience, with an ultimate goal to improve patient care. Also involved were 23 staff and faculty from the school, who planned and managed the event and led groups through their simulations on Tuesday and Thursday.

Collaboration Helps Students Consider Accessibility in Home Design

While studying a floor plan and real world-inspired client case, Penn College students in architectural technology and occupational therapy assistant majors discuss options for making a home handicap-accessible. From left are Mackenzie L. Martin, of Thompsontown, and Jessica L. Osborne, of Cogan Station, both pursuing degrees in applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration; Jeanne L. Kerschner, director of occupational therapy assistant; Cayla L. Erisman, an architectural technology student from Johnstown; and Garrett A. Brown, a student in architectural technology from Pipersville.

Pennsylvania College of Technology students pursuing distinctively different career paths collaborated recently, learning from one another how to design homes that will be both beautiful and functional for anyone who might cross the threshold.

Architectural technology students worked with occupational therapy assistant students to modify building plans to suit real-world client-based scenarios for current or future accessibility needs, including guests who visit.

The collaboration capitalizes on both groups’ expertise: an occupational therapy assistant’s role is to help people who have a disability to do what they want and need to do. For those with physical disabilities, it could involve teaching them how to button a shirt with one hand or providing strategies and tools to get around their kitchens. Architects, meanwhile, know what building modifications are possible and how cost-effective they are.

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Summer Camps Provide Practical Mix of Education, Enjoyment

Invoking the hands-on hallmark of a Penn College education

A series of academic-based camps at Pennsylvania College of Technology included enough information to satisfy minds hungry for challenge, while not forgetting that it IS summer. A wrap-up photo gallery reflects the unique career opportunities represented at Architecture Odyssey Camp, Designing a Digital Future Camp, Future Restaurateurs Career Camp, Advanced Restaurateurs Career Camp, Graphic Design Summer Studio, Health Careers Camp, SMART Girls Summer Camp, Creative Art Camp and Youth Training for Athletic Development Camp.

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Health Sciences Students Learn From One Another in Simulations

During a three-day set of emergency simulations that involved 320 Penn College students, Timothy F. Schwartzer (in hat), an emergency medical services student from Bensalem, explains to students in other health sciences majors how paramedics would begin treatment for a patient – played by a volunteer actor – who had fallen from a second-floor balcony.

Because a patient experiencing a health emergency will likely be cared for by many health care professionals with differing specialties, Pennsylvania College of Technology has taken an active approach to ensure that students understand the roles and collaboration necessary on a health care team.

The college’s School of Health Sciences took part in two recent events that involved more than 400 students in mock patient cases on its campus.

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Students to Host Fun ‘Puzzle Run’ to Benefit Autism Speaks

On April 16, Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Club will host a colorful, 5K “Puzzle Run” to raise funds for Autism Speaks.

The Puzzle Run – named for the puzzle piece in the Autism Speaks logo – is untimed, putting the focus instead on fun. At each kilometer mark, runners will be doused in a different color, ending the race as a living piece of abstract art. Family Ties, a South Williamsport-based band, has volunteered its time to entertain the crowd with its fusion of fun, funk and rock.

The race is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the college’s main entrance, off Maynard Street. Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the college’s Student and Administrative Services Center. Registration fee is $20 for Penn College students, $25 for other individuals and $20 per person in a team of four or more.

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Emma J. Sutterlin Named ‘Student of the Month’

Emma J. Sutterlin

Emma J. Sutterlin, an applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration major from State College, has been chosen as the December/January “Student of the Month” at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

A Resident Assistant in on-campus housing and a “Link” in Penn College’s Connections orientation program, Sutterlin is a 2013 graduate of State College Area High School. She anticipates receiving her bachelor’s degree from the college in May 2018 and is scheduled to complete her associate degree in occupational therapy assistant this August.

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Student Receives Scholarship from State Professional Association

A Pennsylvania College of Technology student was named one of two recipients of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association’s Reba M. Sebelist Scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded to Jeanette M. Yatsko, of Monroe Township, Luzerne County, who is pursuing an associate degree in occupational therapy assistant and a bachelor’s degree in applied health studies at Penn College.

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Disciplines Dovetail in Pursuit of Universal Design

Linda M. Barnes, associate professor of occupational therapy assistant, provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities inherent in accommodating an aging population of baby boomers.

Rob A. Wozniak, associate professor of architectural technology, adds his insight to students' brainstorming.

Students from diverse majors tackle a common objective in the supportive presence of OTA director Barbara J. Natell. Barnes, Wozniak and Natell are all Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists, trained in home modification.

Jeanne M. Kerschner, clinical director of occupational therapy assistant, encourages a collaborative solution.

With a tissue-paper overlay, a student group explains how it altered a home design to incorporate accommodations so they're in place if/when needed.

Two groups of Penn College students – architectural technology majors and those enrolled in occupational therapy assistant – were called together Thursday for a uniquely collaborative discussion about the accessibility of home design. The two-and-a-half-hour seminar not only allowed them to consider ways to accommodate various disabilities in the renovation of existing homes, but to examine how homes could be designed better in the first place. Residential design is not bound by the Americans With Disabilities Act, but is becoming a more prevalent concern due to an aging population and the attendant health/mobility concerns. The students discussed the foresight of features such as zero-step entry; dimensional doors, hallways and counters that anticipate wheelchair use; and other accommodations that would be comparably expensive if added as an afterthought but, if designed properly from the outset, can invisibly add value and accessibility at the time of sale. The seminar was preceded last month by a practical exercise in which architecture students were outfitted by OTA majors with crutches, wheelchairs and blindfolds to get a small taste of what various disabilities are like.

Occupational Therapy Assistant Students Volunteer at Camp Emerge

Some of the 15 Pennsylvania College of Technology students who volunteered over two days at Camp Emerge, a weekend camp for children with autism and their families, gather during the event. The students are members of the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Club. (Photo by Emily E. Shovlin, club president)

Fifteen members of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Club volunteered their time recently at Camp Emerge, a weekend camp for families touched by autism.

During their time at the camp, held at Camp Victory in Millville, each volunteer was placed with a family. The students helped the campers in a variety of activities, ranging from water games to rock-wall climbing, allowing parents respite to attend other activities designed for parents and siblings.

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Diagnosis: Future – Campers Examine Potential Health Careers

Bambi A. Hawkins, learning laboratory coordinator for the paramedic program, shows a camper proper hand placement to create a “seal” when using a bag valve mask to provide oxygen.

An important part of a fitness assessment, campers record one another’s blood pressure in the exercise science major.

A camper uses a laparoscopic camera and surgical tools in the surgical technology lab.

With assistance from a Penn College student, a camper positions radiographic equipment as she prepares to X-ray her smartphone.

A camper shows the results of her work in the dental hygiene lab: a model of her teeth.

Penn College’s School of Health Sciences was the destination for 30 high schoolers attending Health Careers Camp, a joint, two-day program of the college and Susquehanna Health. The camp offers students a chance to explore careers in the health care field. Students entering grades nine to 12 attended hands-on workshops Wednesday and Thursday in the college’s exercise science, paramedic technology, occupational therapy assistant, physician assistant, nursing, radiography, dental hygiene and surgical technology majors. To round out their experience, they toured Susquehanna Health’s Williamsport Hospital.

Emergency Scenarios Aid Students’ Real-Life Readiness

While students from other majors observe, nursing student Amanda S. Kopczick, of Mifflinburg, takes the temperature of “patient” Kristina N. Varner, of Lewisburg.

Around 250 students and employees from the School of Health Sciences participated in three days’ worth of emergency simulations on campus this week. In its third year, the exercise is known as the Interdisciplinary Professional Event and provides a unique opportunity for students and faculty from different majors within the School of Health Sciences to collaboratively care for patients.

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