OTSH 81: School-Based OT Workloads with Alexa Corley, OTD




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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 81 of the OT School House Podcast.


In this episode of the OT School House Podcast, we are talking to recent graduate, Alexa Corley, about her OTD capstone where she surveyed and interviewed therapists, teachers, and administrators about the idea and use of a workload model.


Listen in to hear her findings and a discussion about the positive effects of using a workload model.


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Episode Transcript

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Amazing Narrator

Hello and welcome to the OT School House podcast, your source for school based occupational therapy, tips, interviews and professional development. Now to get the conversation started, here is your host, Jayson Davies. Class is officially in session.


Jayson Davies

Hello there and welcome back for another episode of the OT School House podcast. My name is Jayson Davies, occupational therapist down here in Southern California. And I'm just super excited to be with you, wherever you're listening today, I am just happy to have you here listening and trying to improve yourself as an occupational therapist, learning what you can learn to better serve your students as well as the teachers that you work with. So again, super happy to have you joining us here today. So today, we are actually diving into the topic of workload and caseload just a little bit. And we're going to do that by looking at a capstone from Alexa Corley that she completed as part of her doctoral program at the University of Central Arkansas. So we're going to have an interview and discussion with Alexa. And she's going to tell us all about the research that she did leading up to, and the actual work that she did herself to determine what OTs, administrators, and teachers perceive about a workload and a caseload model when it comes to school-based occupational therapy. This is something that's very important to all of us a school based OTs, I believe, I really think that under a workload model, we could serve more students potentially in less time and have better outcomes. And well, let's just... I don't want to get too far in I just want to let Alexa share with you all the details that she came across, the research that she found, and then what her survey results showed. So without any further ado, here is Alexa Corley talking about her research on workload versus caseload. Hey, Alexa, welcome to the OT School House podcast. How are you doing today?


Alexa Corley, OTD

I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. How are you?


Jayson Davies

I am wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us. It's we haven't had an occupational therapist working on their doctorate on the podcast, at least in a while. I think we've had him before. But it's been a while. So I'm excited to hear a little bit about all the work that you've been doing in OT school, especially as it relates to school based OT. With that said, I actually want to give you a little bit of a moment here to kind of share a little bit about yourself and where you are in your OT journey.


Alexa Corley, OTD

Yeah, so I am currently in my final year, well, final weeks really of OT school. So I'm working on my doctoral capstone project. So this is the last thing we do in our OT curriculum that we follow. And so I've already finished my courses and my fieldwork. So I'm just working on my doctoral capstone project right now. And that is around a school based practice, which I know is what we're going to talk about today. So I'm excited to share about it.


Jayson Davies

Awesome. And you know what, we're gonna kind of get into more about your project. But let's just talk about OT and OT School first, what made you decide to sign up for Occupational Therapy school?


Alexa Corley, OTD

Yeah, so kind of an interesting journey. For me pretty much my entire life, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. So I went to college, and majored in elementary education. But during college, I also worked at a preschool just for extra money, you know, during college, so my boss, there was actually the first one who kind of told me, you know, you should really look into doing some sort of therapy, and you know, instead of teaching, and so she bugged me a lot about it. But I finally did look into it. And I found out that actually, a couple of my friends were interested in doing occupational therapy as well, and kind of got plugged in with somebody and was able to observe and OT at a pediatric clinic. And I immediately loved it, and decided that that is what I wanted to do. So as little as I knew about just observing at once, I still just thought that it was more suited for me then teaching kind of the one on one versus like one on 30 in the classroom. I kind of thought that that would be better suited for me, like I said, and so in my mind, it was still it's still teaching, it's still working with kids. And so just in a little bit of a different way and more personalized, which I think suits me better. So yeah, I continued on with my education major, finish that out, but I had to add some extra classes to get into OT school and ended up at the University of Central Arkansas and the OTD program.


Jayson Davies

Awesome. And so I have to ask you this while you were, what were you doing? Were you had a boss that you were doing, like teaching fieldwork or not a field work, but you were working in early elementary?


Alexa Corley, OTD

Yeah, I was working in a preschool and it was just like an after afternoon job. Just, you know, no field work or anything. It was just kind of at my church. I got plugged in got a job there. So...


Jayson Davies

Oh, cool. And so your boss, what was she by trade?


Alexa Corley, OTD

While she was the director of the preschool, I'm not quite sure of her entire background, but she had a daughter who was a speech therapist. So she kind of knew a little bit about the realm and didn't necessarily push the speech therapy, she just knew of the therapy world in general, and I guess saw something in me that would be good for that. So...


Jayson Davies

That's awesome. It's not always the case that we run into someone that knows about OT speech therapy and is able to give us that little bit of forethought to think about going into OT. So that's great that you had someone to kind of just even make you aware of the profession. That's pretty cool.


Alexa Corley, OTD

For sure.


Jayson Davies

So now, you made it to Central Arkansas University, and how has that been? What's your experience been like in OT school?


Alexa Corley, OTD

Yeah, it's been great and challenging. But in a good way. I, you know, I observed that OT once and then got into OT school and realized I really didn't even know what I was getting into. I didn't really even know quite what OT is. But it's been great. I've learned a lot and luckily still loved it. And you know, it was the right choice. It's been good, though, part and fun. Of course, COVID has, you know, it impacted our classes, we have a lot of online stuff, planning our fieldwork and getting that worked out was kind of crazy. But we got it and all my placements were wonderful. And so now I'm on the tail end with Capstone. And it's just been really great all around.


Jayson Davies

Awesome. And correct me if I'm wrong, but you are just about ready to graduate. Right?


Alexa Corley, OTD

Yes, August 7, just a few weeks away.


Jayson Davies

Well, I'm going to preemptively congratulate you by time this actually airs, you will probably be an OT graduate. So congratulations, and best of luck on the NBC OT.


Alexa Corley, OTD

Thank you so much.


Jayson Davies

Yeah. And so one more question before we move on to really diving into your Capstone. And that is we do actually have quite a few occupational therapy students that listen to this podcast. And what one piece of advice would you give to them, in their endeavor, working through OT school? Is there one thing that you learned that you could really provide some, some insight to?