Monday, September 1, 2014

I'm on Tumblr!


I'm happy to announce that I have a new blog on Tumblr. It's called My OT life. There, I will continue to share my experiences, but now as an official OT. You can also get to know my real identity, see pictures of myself, and get to know me a little better. If you guys don't like Tumblr, and would prefer to stay tuned here, please let me know in the comment section and I will re-post everything that I post on Tumblr here. Since my native language is Spanish, my primary Tumblr blog is in Spanish, you can follow that one here.

Please let me know what you think and what you would like to read about in my new blog. Hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How I studied for the NBCOT

As you may have read, I recently passed the NBCOT OTR certification test. I got the request from one of my readers to post about the books and strategies I used for studying for this test. I thought it was a great idea, but before I tell you, I want to clarify that everyone is different, so what worked for me will not necessarily work for everyone. We also come from different OT programs, and maybe some of us have more deficits in some areas than others. That being said,  here it goes:

I used two study books:

The "National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam, Review and Study Guide" by Rita Fleming-Castaldy published by Therapy Ed and the official NBCOT Study Guide.

In the Therapy Ed webpage I got the Rita Flemming book for around $90 and in the NBCOT webpage I got the official study guide for around $60. If you are on a budget and just want to buy one, I recommend you buy the Rita Flemming book. This one has sixteen chapters that review all topics related to OT, sometimes with more detail than is really needed, which can be overwhelming, but better more than less. I found this book really helpful because I think is more efficient to review all in one book than start looking in all the books that the NBCOT recommends you review. This book's chapters are done using the same books that the NBCOT recommends for taking the test, so I think it saves the time you would have spent organizing all your books and the chapters to study. It also has 3 computerized full practice tests (170 items + 3 clinical simulations) and the rationales for the correct answers, including the clinical simulations which is really helpful.

In the other hand, the NBCOT official study guide doesn't include the rationales for the correct answers of the clinical simulations, and the rationales for the rest of the items are less specific than in Rita's book. It was really disappointing, because what good it is to know which answers are correct if you don't have idea why. This book has no review chapters, it only has a 100 item multiple choice paper practice test, and 8 scenario samples with 5 items each. If you have the extra money, I'd recommend you get it because the questions in this book a little bit more similar to the ones in the real test. Rita's book questions, however, are generally more specific than in the real test.

I got a 74% in the NBCOT official study guide practice test and in the three practice tests of Rita's book I got 58%, 58% and 64% respectively. So getting that 74% helped me go into the test with a little more confidence.

I started studying the first week of March, and in five weeks I had finished reviewing all the chapters. I studied Monday through Friday from approximately 9:00am-4:00pm (of course with lots and lots of breaks). After that, I took the first practice test. Then on spring break, I went on vacation for two weeks to Mexico to visit my boyfriend (who studies medicine there). After I came back the last week of April, I just finished reviewing the rationales for that test, did the NBCOT official study guide tests, reviewed the rationales, then studied again just the topics of my deficits areas based on the tests I took. Then I took the second test from Rita's book, reviewed the rationales, took the third test, reviewed the rationales and then  reviewed again the rationales of the test from the NBCOT study guide. I took the real test on June 2, 2014.

I wanted to let you know that before I started studying (on November, 2013) our School forced us to take the $45 NBCOT practice test, which has 100 items, no clinical simulations, no rationales. It help me get an idea of what I needed to focus on for the real test. If you have the extra money, take it, if not, don't worry. I don't think it is so much help without rationales or even knowing which ones you got wrong. NBCOT's practice tests and study guide, in my opinion, are overpriced for what they are offering. 

Extra Tips:

When studying from  Rita's book, don't get overwhelmed trying to memorize all the information. Just finish early reviewing it, so you have plenty of time to do the practice tests. After the practice tests, you can decide what information you will need to memorize (which is not a lot). The most helpful thing is to read the rationales for every question, even the ones you got right, so don't skip that.

For the clinical simulations, my recommendation is less is more. You will get better results by just clicking  the ones that you are sure of, than by selecting a bunch of answers that you are not sure of (the latter could get you into a negative point situation).

Most of the questions require the clinical thinking skills that you already have gotten in all this years instead of a bunch of facts. So, go into the test with the confidence of the great OT you will become!

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comment section!

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yes, its the Occupational Therapist.

Since I've been looking for a job, recently I have been calling and getting calls from places that offer OT services. I already have my grade and my provisional license but still, it feels so weird for me to describe myself as and Occupational Therapist instead of an OT student.

I went to Guadalajara, Mexico this April and the security guy at the airport asked me what was my occupation. I  remained silent for a couple of seconds thinking that I'm not a student anymore but I am not and official OT either. I ended up telling him "Occupational Therapy Student". It seems that my hesitation made him suspicious as he asked me several uncomfortable questions after that like: "how did you afford this trip if you're a student?" 

I think once I have an actual OT job it won't be so difficult to tell the world that I am a proud Occupational Therapist!

Monday, June 2, 2014

NBCOT Done! (Hopefully forever)

Today I took the NBCOT OTR exam. Tolerance wise, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was able to complete the clinical simulations and 85 of the multiple choice items before I took a break. The clinical simulations were the worst part. I wish the NBCOT study guide had the rationales for the correct answers of the clinical simulation practice items, but it doesn't. This makes very difficult to know why are some answers correct, neutral or wrong, which made me less confident about my answers in the real test. The multiple choice items were very similar to the ones in the study guide so I hope I score high in that section to compensate for my deficits in the clinical simulations.

I'm not going to know if I passed or not until at least a month from now because the NBCOT doesn't releases the pass/fail status until they receive a transcript that states that you have graduated. My graduation is this Friday and my University is kind of slow issuing transcripts, so we''ll see. I hope I don't have to see the NBCOT study guide or the TherapyEd review guide ever again! I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pediatric Anecdote #1: M&Ms

As you may know, my pediatric rotation was the one that I enjoyed the most. I had a lot of fun working with kids and high school students with autism and other conditions. I would like to share some posts with some of the stories from this rotation. Here's the first one:

One of my patients was a high school student with autism who was non-verbal. One day, I went on a road trip with his whole special ed class to help them pick materials to later on teach them how to make beaded bracelets. It seems that seeing me in his weekly road trip made him realize that I now was officially part of his class. 

The next day, he grabed me by my arm (I was super scared since he is way bigger than me), and dragged me to his lunch box. He sat down, opened a small bag of m&ms, took one for him and  gave another one to me . He had shared with me! His helper told me that he rarely does that without someone asking him to do it. That day, he dragged me 2 more times to his lunchbox to share another m&m and a cookie with me. It was so funny because he never looked at me in the eyes during the whole process. Since that day every time I eat m&ms I smile and remember how such a simple thing had made my day. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

NBCOT preparation time!!


I'm currently studying for the NBCOT certification exam. I plan to take it the first week of June or the last of May, not sure yet.  Started studying a couple of weeks ago when I came back from a cruise vacation with my classmates. We had soo much fun! I can't say the same thing about studying though.

I bought the famous Therapy Ed book by Rita Fleming that everyone recommends. I also have the NBCOT study guide. Today I started chapter 6 of the Therapy Ed book. Chapters 4 and 5 were eternal, but this one seems more manageable.

 My plan is to not get stuck in the chapters for a long time, since I probably don't need to memorize things in such a specific way, just have an idea to be able to use the information in clinical situations. I want to focus more in taking the practice tests, and learning the tricks to analyze the questions fast. Then, I can review the areas in which I need reinforcement.

Is anyone out there who recently took the exam and has any recommendations for me?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Level II Fieldwork: Last Update

My last Level II Fieldwork experience was at an outpatient mental health hospital. I spent there 2 months as well as in my other practice settings. I really enjoyed this last experience. My favorite part was that I was able to give group therapy sessions to adolescents as well as adults. Even though I seem younger than what I am, they followed my instructions and treated me with respect. Since it was an outpatient clinic, the patients were pretty functional, so the focus of the therapies were stress management, autoeficacy, communications skills and things like that. I also got to do crafts as therapeutic exercises for problem solving, impulse control, etc. Through the patients,  I learned how important it's to keep a positive mind, to forgive yourself for your mistakes and to keep moving forward no matter what. It was a nice and relaxed way to end my OT training.

The last day of practice (I'm not going to lie) felt a little bitter sweet. I always wanted so bad to finish OT school so I could go back home, but I felt a little sad when I was leaving the capital.  It felt like the end of an era. Now the real word, where I have to find a job, pay bills, and be an actual adult awaits. But for now I still have to finish my thesis (which I'm not going to miss at all) and prepare myself for the NBCOT and local tests. So, one day at a time right?

PS: Yesterday, my OT program made us take an NBCOT practice test and even though I haven't started studying yet I passed it, so I'm exited!