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Career Profile: Occupational Therapist - Hanna Hildenbrand

Career Profile: Occupational Therapist - Hanna Hildenbrand

Hanna Hildenbrand, M.S., Occupational Therapist, Senior Staff, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

In research, I test children in drug treatment protocols for purposes of efficacy or outcome. This may involve the use of a standardized assessment (i.e. assessment of motor and process skills, or AMPS) to measure the performance of a daily activity (i.e. making a sandwich, making a bed, setting the table) and visual motor skills. Children are tested while on and off medications and the results are analyzed for a change in performance.

I also participate in natural history studies of children and adults with developmental or genetic disorders. This involves the use of standardized assessments of development, sensory processing and activities of daily living. For this type of study, we can look at developmental and functional characteristics that are specific to a disorder, and compare them to individual case studies over time.

Is Occupational Therapy the Right Place for You?

1. Are you comfortable in a position of authority?

Of course!

What I like best/least about my work…

What I like best about my work is getting to know my clients (and their families), learning what is meaningful to them, and sharing in the accomplishment of their goals. It is very rewarding when my clients come to understand how occupational engagement can improve their quality of daily life and participation in their communities.

I feel that I have a special talent and the professional skills to positively contribute to the daily lives of others. As an occupational therapist, you need to have a certain level of persistence, patience, frustration tolerance, and creativity in order to problem solve with the client and to facilitate progress toward success.

The easiest part of my job is the interpersonal interaction. My coworkers are so caring, energetic and committed which makes for a very pleasant working environment. I also enjoy meeting the patients and their families. They demonstrate such resilience and determination in spite of many challenges and hardships. It has a way of putting your own life (and job) challenges in perspective.

What I like least about my work is the paperwork and administrative duties. However, these duties are necessary for assuring clinical and departmental teamwork, and consistent quality patient care. The hardest part of my job is working with clients that have a poor or fatal prognosis.

My career goals are…

My career goals are to:

• Continue working as an occupational therapist, specializing in pediatrics and behavioral health

• Continue sharing research findings related to occupational therapy with professional communities and other interested parties, and to develop clinical programs based on research findings

• Receive board certification in pediatrics from my professional association, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and obtain credentials as a mental health specialist and as an early intervention specialist

• Possibly expand my practice in occupational therapy into a different environment or with different populations. I am interested in contributing to the development of community treatment programs in areas with limited occupational therapy services.

• Pursue clinical training in craniosacral therapy and kinesiotaping (a therapy based on the science of kinesiology). I regularly seek additional training and education to advance and keep my clinical and research skills current.

Find out more about Occupational Therapy careers!

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