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“Occupational therapy allows you to open your eyes to the little things in your everyday life that we take for granted,” says 2018 South University, Richmond Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) graduate Kylie Moore. “For example, putting on a shirt seems easy, but what about when you lose range of motion in your dominant arm and can no longer use that to put on your shirt?”

Kylie Moore

As a Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/L) and the Director of Rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility in Virginia, Kylie applies her expertise to assist patients in adapting to physical or cognitive changes and limitations. Her work includes teaching patients compensatory techniques that help them complete the regular activities of daily living, like putting on a shirt or brushing their teeth.

As a Director of Rehabilitation, Kylie spends around half her time treating patients and the other half on administrative tasks like meetings and scheduling. For example, Kylie starts every morning by meeting with the facility’s Director of Nursing, charge nurses, Medical Doctors, and social workers. She then meets with individuals who have been newly admitted to the facility and works with her fellow department heads to create individualized plans of care for each person. Once all new admissions have been welcomed, she treats her caseload and, later in the day, works on scheduling for each therapist.

Kylie decided to study occupational therapy assisting after shadowing occupational therapy professionals in an inpatient rehab facility. “I knew that it would be a job that I would never get tired of since every individual has their own plan of care,” Kylie explains. “I chose South University because I fell in love with the campus when I first visited.”

Kylie, who already had a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from another university, completed her AAS in OTA degree at South University in under 2 years. After graduating in 2018, she was hired as a part-time OTA working under close supervision at the skilled nursing facility where she had completed her OTA program’s level II fieldwork. Two months later, she passed the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy exam on her first try. Soon after, she was hired as a full-time COTA/L at that same facility and, in early 2020, she was promoted to the Director of Rehabilitation. Kylie also works as needed at an inpatient rehab facility on the weekends.

One practice that has helped her succeed as an OTA professional is putting herself in her patients’ shoes. “That is the best way for me to truly understand what my patient is going through and it also helps me build a good rapport,” she says. “Once your patients trust you and feel comfortable with you, the treatment sessions become easier and natural for both you and the patient.”

Today, Kylie stays connected to South University in several ways. “South University staff have impacted me by continuing to reach out, motivate me, and show interest in my life after graduating from the program,” she shares. Kylie also works as a Fieldwork Level II educator for the South University, Richmond OTA program.

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