What Makes Being an Occupational Therapy Educator So Fulfilling

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What Makes Being an Occupational Therapy Educator So Fulfilling

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It is so gratifying when one of your former students is covered in the Los Angeles Times for the outstanding occupational therapy she is providing. Renee Portenier is the occupational therapist who has been working with Emily Fennell, who underwent hand transplant surgery about two months ago after a car accident mangled her hand. In the article, a therapy session Renee is conducting with Ms. Fennell is described in detail (the paper ran a correction after initially identifying OT as PT in the photo caption). I must say I take great pride in our profession as I think about the sensitive, painstaking, empathetic, and skillful work that Renee seems to be doing with this client.

Renee is not the only occupational therapist working in this emerging area. A recent OT Practice article by occupational therapists Marie Pace and Kimberly Maguire highlighted the role of occupational therapy in the Hand Transplantation Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

And I know that each of you has a similar story of personal excellence in your role as practitioner. I’d love to hear your stories.

  • I was interested to read this post. I was involved in the OT rehab of a hand transplant and a toe-thumb transplant (two different patients) through the HandClinic of Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa going back some 18 years. The work certainly was challenging and rewarding and a tremendous team effort to help to restore function.


  • Having been blessed with scholarships that enabled me to be the OT I am today, I always reflected back to those the impact their gift was giving as I practiced as an OTA while in OTR school. This set the foundation for my belief in giving myself as an educator. To know that the students I could assist along their path to becoming practitioners will give even more in multitudes is a powerful reminder of where I came from and giving back my own gift. It also comes with great responsibility that I take very seriously towards the future of our profession. (Hi Shoshanah!)