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Jackie Buchanan Interview Project Communication 1010-001 10/18/13

Interview Analysis Memo DATE: October 18, 2013 TO: Professor Wayne Hackett FROM: Jackie Buchanan SUBJECT: Interview Analysis Memo, COMM 1010-001 I had the opportunity to interview a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) from the Draper Residential Care Facility in Draper, UT. I had recently spent a day in their facility observing the occupational therapists at work, and I asked one of the therapists if he would allow me to interview him for this assignment. I am intending to enter the COTA program at SLCC in the fall of 2014, and I wanted to interview someone who had already been through the program. John had mentioned to me during my time spent observing them that he had graduated from SLCC about 8 years previously. I had admired the way that John was able to connect personally with his clients, while at the same time maintaining an air of professionalism. I wanted to interview him because I could tell that he loved his job, and I felt like he would be able to give me some good advice. This memo summarizes the useful advice I accumulated and analyzes what I learned from conducting the interview. Summary of Lessons Learned The Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at SLCC I learned that John enjoyed the program at SLCC. He mentioned to me that becoming a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant was one of the highest paying associate degree programs out there. He felt like the program prepared him very well for his career. He mentioned that the emphasis that SLCC puts on students to develop critical thinking skills really helps him on a daily basis, as he works to tailor treatments to fit the needs of his clients. His favorite things about the program were the modality labs, because he was able to practice what he was learning in a hands-on environment, and he got to try out some of the most common tools that therapists use with their patients. He learns best by doing, and the program offered a lot of hands-on activities. When I asked him what things he didnt like about the program, he hemmed and hawed, trying to come up with something. Finally, he said that there was quite a lot of work involved, and while that isnt a negative, it was difficult at times. This makes me nervous, because I keep telling my family that once I enter the program, I will have more time for them. Previous Positions John has worked in two different facilities before he was hired by the Draper Care Center. The first facility was in a local hospital setting. He assisted the on-site OTs as they worked with patients who needed an acute level of care. John didnt really enjoy this type of work, because he felt like the patients were numbers, rather than people. He wasnt able to spend the time with e ach patient to make a deeper connection with him or her. He felt like this type of work wasnt satisfying to him, and so he resig ned. He was hired by an assisted living home in Murray. He worked there for several years before they shut down. He was really disappointed that the center closed, because he found the work to be stimulating, as well as rewarding. This led him to seek employment at the Draper Care Center, where he imagines that he will work until he retires. The only area that is sometimes difficult for him with his current situation, is that there is not always enough clients to support the amount of staff. When this happens, his hours get cut, and since he is hourly, not salary, this means smaller paychecks. However, this doesnt happen to o often, so it isnt that big of a concern. A Day in the Life On a typical day, John will work with anywhere from 5 to 7 clients. His sessions typically last 50 minutes, and then he spends

between 15 to 20 minutes between each client documenting what they worked on. This documentation is how the facility bills Medicaid, and it is a very important part of his job. He works with clients who are there on a short-term basis, as well as longterm residential care. With a short-term care client, his job is to implement the treatment plan created by the Occupational Therapist. The OT is the one who conducts the intake interviews, diagnostics, and treatment plan development. The COTAs are the ones who take that plan and work directly with the clients. John mentioned to me that the treatment plan is a guideline to follow, but that he has the freedom to tweak and fine-tune the exercises to meet the individual needs of each client. Clients who are there recovering from injuries or surgery typically focus on regaining the strength, balance, and dexterity needed to accomplish their required daily tasks, and John helps them with this. He also teaches the clients how to use various tools that will help them regain their independence, such as long-handled grabbers, sock aids (tools designed to allow those with limited range of motion to put on their own socks) and other items. For the long-term care residents, he focuses on exercises and activities that will help the resident strengthen muscles and improve mobility in order to reduce the amount of care that resident requires. These activities include strengthening exercises, stamina building exercises, activities to improve balance, as well as cognitive exercises and games to increase memory retention. Interview Analysis This interview reinforced my desire to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. I discovered that COTAs have more freedom than I realized, which makes the profession even more appealing. It was really nice to see how much John enjoyed his career, and how satisfied it made him. I like the idea of being able to make a difference in the daily lives of others, and I know that I will find this as fulfilling as John does. It was a pleasure to interview him and to see first-hand how happy you can be if you enjoy your job. John doesnt feel like he goes to work, which is why he loves it so much. Analysis of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant as my Career Choice Going into this interview, I already knew I wanted to be a COTA, but I hadnt ever considered geriatrics as a possible option . From speaking with John, I learned that geriatrics could be a very rewarding and satisfying career path. I had always thought that I only wanted to work with children, but after hearing Johns enthusiasm for his career, and his clients, I think I may need to broaden my horizons and consider geriatrics as a possible path. Analysis of my Interviewing Process I am a fairly confident person, who usually doesnt struggle with anxiety about public speaking. Sometimes this can work to my detriment, if I project an air of overconfidence; however, in this situation, I felt like everything went pretty well. I enjoyed my time with John, because I truly admire him and what he does. I believe he could feel this from me, and so he was eager to talk. I went into this interview prepared with a recording device, because I didnt want to have to ask him to stop talking as I to ok notes. Instead, I focused on being an active listener, and making sure to project my interest in what he was saying. My outline worked well for most of the interview, but as he became more animated, he occasionally digressed off topic. I didnt want to stop him, and bring him back to my outline, because I was grateful that he had taken the time away from his day to talk to me, and also because much of what he said was interesting and valuable. The major drawback from my interview, and one that I would change if I could do it again, was conducting the interview over lunch in a busy caf. I asked him if I could take him to lunch, because he was sacrificing his lunch hour to talk to me. I should have scoped out the caf ahead of time to see how busy it was at lunchtime. I assumed it would be quiet, as it was the last time I had eaten there. Instead, we were seated in a back room, right next to a bridal shower party. It was difficult to hear him over the din, but I assured him that it would be fine. At this point, we had to stay, because he had to get back to work. We made the best of it, and I feel the interview still went pretty well. The other problem we encountered was the time it took to actually eat the food. I didnt take that into consideration when I made the appointment. About halfway through the interview, we had to pause talki ng and eat. This was a bit awkward, and interrupted the flow of the interview, but not too terribly. We were able to bring the interview back on track after we ate. While I was able to get most of my questions answered, there were some secondary questions that were missed, and we pretty much passed over the topic of financial compensation altogether. He did mention that the field was lucrative, but digressed onto

another topic, and I forgot to bring him back to the subject of benefits and financial recompense. This was ok, because the information on governments labor and statistics website was very clear about how much I can expect to earn. We also ran out of time before we got to the clearinghouse questions.

Letter of Thanks 622 E 12000 S Draper, UT 84020 October 13, 2013

Mr. John Cozad 12702 South Fort Street Draper, UT 84020

Dear John, Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you about your career as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. It was really wonderful to see how much you love your job, and how much passion you have for helping people improve their quality of life. I was impressed by how much knowledge you posses about OT, and am grateful for your willingness to share it with me. You have opened my eyes to the joys of working with the geriatric population, and I will consider this as a possible career path when I graduate. I learned a lot from interviewing you, both about the field of OT, and also about how to conduct an interview. Thank you for fitting me into your busy schedule. I appreciate the time you took to help me with this project. It was a pleasure to interview you. Sincerely,

Jackie Buchanan