Jennifer Mae Robles (center) poses with Rachel Marks and Tony Trang, graduates of WCU's first MSOT cohort.
A West Coast University masters of occupational therapy student recently wrote about a patient's tearful goodbye — and joyful affirmation — while doing fieldwork in Las Vegas.
Jennifer Mae Robles, OTS and her clinical instructor at HealthSouth Desert Canyon Rehabilitation Hospital had worked with a stroke survivor for 41 days to help him regain some autonomy. Before being discharged to a skilled nursing facility, the man took Robles' hand and told her the little tips she had for helping him shower, dress and groom had made a huge difference.
"This was the first time I have ever heard him talk more than one sentence," Robles shared with Arameh Anvarizadeh, an academic fieldwork coordinator and assistant professor with the MSOT program at the Center for Graduate Studies. "Amazing."
"He explained that every time he will start a shower, he will think of me and my clinical instructor talking to him in his mind what to do, to be independent," Robles continued. "My clinical instructor and I encouraged him in our treatment sessions, and pushed him to do a little more for himself."
Robles and her CI had "encouraged" the patient so much, she learned, he had given them nicknames — ones that might not be appropriate for a professional setting. Let's just say it rhymed with "call-buster." But their determination paid off, Robles said.
"Holding things was a struggle for him," she wrote. "When he finally put on a sock without assistance, I cheered with joy. It was that 'Yes!' moment, and I knew I was in the right place and the right time.
"He said, we, as the staff has shown so much compassion that he knows we are not there for the money, but to really care for patients, that there was something more behind us when we treated him."
Before leaving, Robles said the patient mentioned being uncertain about going to a SNF, but she reassured him things will work out.
"I encouraged him to take that compassion and pay it forward, such as encouraging other patients, and to have faith in himself that he will get be better," Robles wrote. "So I wanted to update you and please tell the professors, thank you. Their efforts are really paying off."