Reflections on the OTD Program to Clinical Practice

EKU Online > Reflections on the OTD Program to Clinical Practice

By: Jacqueline Schafer-Clay, OTD, OTR/L

I have been so amazed at my professional and personal growth since deciding to pursue my Post Professional OTD with EKU. 

I decided on EKU because even before I applied the faculty met with me, reviewed my previous transcripts, and gave me detailed insight to a personalized completion plan, including what transfer credits I could utilize. 

My hope was to transition to an academic position and a doctorate was my missing piece. I had been a pediatric therapist for 17 years, I had not been a student since 2011, but had a passion to teach and a burning frustration regarding the chronic fieldwork shortage in our profession.  The support, guidance, and insight I received from EKU faculty and colleagues in the OTD program has helped me develop professional skills beyond my expectations.

My transition back to the classroom was as smooth and seamless as possible. However, what I value most about my time in the EKU OTD program was that my big ideas, passions, and ambitions were cultured and encouraged rather than scaled back.  I was pushed to pursue my personal interests and follow the evidence to find a gap in the area of fieldwork.  I was encouraged beyond my academic pursuits to seek additional scholarship opportunities. Faculty would step up to show me the way to accomplish more.  For example, Dr. Shirley O’Brien encouraged me to submit an AOTA proposal for the national conference; then worked closely with me to successfully create a proposal and poster presentation. I recently completed my capstone project with Dr. Camille Skubik-Peplaski and Dr. Casey Humphrey, which is a national fieldwork research project coving responses from 42 states and Washington, D.C. We have been accepted to present a short course at the next AOTA Conference in Boston, Massachusetts and are working on publishing this study in a peer reviewed journal.

I was hired as a Director of Clinical Education just before completing my degree with EKU and have been accepted to serve on the Roster of Accreditation Evaluators for AOTA for the next three years. 

I look back to when I began this journey and am so grateful to the faculty of EKU and what each one contributed to my personal growth.  I would not be where I am today without their encouragement, support, and guidance.  It was not easy, but it was worth all the effort to have grown successfully into this next step of my journey as a graduate of EKU’s OTD program. 

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