News about Occupational Therapy Assistant

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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Alumni Sweethearts Return to Campus

Bradley T. and Janae B. (Rohrer) Rydbom

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s reigning Alumni Sweethearts, Bradley T. and Janae B. (Rohrer) Rydbom, visited campus this past weekend to stay overnight in the Victorian House and dine in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

The Rydboms were selected as the 2015 Alumni Sweethearts, the fourth annual winners of the honor, following a Facebook contest through Alumni Relations featuring 40 wedding photographs submitted by couples who graduated from the college. Their wedding photo received nearly 350 votes (or “likes”).

The couple was greeted by blue skies and greenery on one of the first nice days of spring, and enjoyed a walk around campus – one of their favorite activities when they were dating as students. Among the new features they appreciated seeing were the stainless steel “living walls” and the “These Trees” and “Student Bodies” Centennial art installations.

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Small-Group Discussions Reflect Big-Picture Import of Health Care Collaboration

Whit Worman, director of Penn College's physician assistant program, facilitates a discussion that includes Kyle G. Stavinski, an emergency medical services major from Elysburg (left) and physician assistant student Kevin Z. Richardson, of Williamsport.

Scott A. Geist (left foreground), director of the surgical technology program, and Cletus G. Waldman Jr. (right-center), clinical director of radiography, engage their roundtable participants.

Heather S. Dorman, clinical director of physician assistant, lays out a scenario during the interactive exercise.

Mark A. Trueman (center), director of paramedic technology programs at the college, follows the flowing conversation.

As part of an event that spanned northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania and involved more than 1,000 students at various locations across the region, the sixth annual Collaborative Care Summit convened at Penn College on Wednesday. Nineteen dedicated  faculty/staff facilitators from a variety of health professions, including physicians, led discussions in the Bush Campus Center among students from several colleges and universities who are pursuing studies in a wide range of health disciplines. The Collaborative Care Summit is arranged by the Northeastern/Central Pennsylvania Interprofessional Education Coalition – of which Sharon K. Waters, associate dean of health sciences, is a member. Waters coordinated the Penn College event, and co-presented the opening session with Dr. Keith Shenberger, Susquehanna Health TCMC, which brought together about 100 students from Penn College, Lock Haven University, Wilkes University and The Commonwealth Medical College. The students participated in roundtable discussions of a medical case, learning from one another how each discipline contributes to a patient’s care. “The goal of interprofessional learning is to prepare all health professions students for deliberatively working together, with the goal of building a safer and better patient-centered and community-orientated health care system,” Waters explained. “It was impressive to hear what each student contributed to the interprofessional discussion and rewarding to know our students are being prepared to work  as a collaborative team toward quality patient care.” Student participants represented 10 professions, from paramedic to pharmacy to medicine to nursing. Simultaneous events were held in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre at Marywood University, The Commonwealth Medical College, The University of Scranton, Kings College and Misericordia University.

Facebook Balloting Chooses 2015’s ‘Alumni Sweethearts’

Bradley T. and Janae B. Rydbom, married Sept. 20 in Strasburg, are this year's Penn College Alumni Sweethearts.

Congratulations to Bradley T. and Janae B. (Rohrer) Rydbom, selected as Penn College’s Alumni Sweethearts for 2015. Dozens of married graduates submitted their wedding photos to Alumni Relations on Facebook, with the winner determined by the number of “likes” received by the end of Valentine’s Day Eve. (The Rydboms gathered a total of 362!) Janae, a 2014 alumna of the two-year occupational therapy assistant major, and Brad, whose two diplomas include a 2012 bachelor’s degree in heating, ventilation and air conditioning design technology, will return for an overnight stay in The Victorian House and dinner in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. Watch PCToday for more in advance of their trip back to campus.

Health Sciences Students Talk Team Approach to Patient Care

Tushanna M. Habalar (right foreground), learning laboratory coordinator for nursing education, was among the facilitators for Friday's interdisciplinary exercise.

Students representing nearly all of the majors in the School of Health Sciences gathered in the Thompson Professional Development Center on Friday to learn from one another as they discussed their differing roles in a medical case. The “tabletop” Interdisciplinary Professional Event is designed to help Penn College students understand the perspectives and duties of others on a medical team in the interest of holistic treatment for their future patients. The school provides its students with a hands-on IPE in the spring, when actors simulate medical emergencies across campus.
Photo by Kim A. Speicher, dental hygiene instructor