Meet Kristian Taylor, a first-year occupational therapy student with the College of Allied Health Sciences at Augusta University, and learn about her passion for this health care profession.
- Tell us about your role at Jagnation.
My name is Kristian Taylor and I am a 1st year occupational therapy student at Augusta University. I am the president of the Pi Theta Epsilon honor society and the co-chair of the Augusta University Chapter of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity. I’m passionate about advancing the profession of occupational therapy and about helping people from all backgrounds live a full and rich life.
- What inspired you to become an occupational therapist?
I wanted a career in the health care field, but for a long time I had trouble finding the best health care career that fit me. There was something very specific that I wanted, but I couldn’t clearly identify what it was until I started working as an emergency medical technician (EMT). After responding to several emergency calls and transferring many patients to different facilities, I realized I wanted to heal people while also helping them live as fully as possible. While I was working on the ambulance, I saw first-hand how the unexpected can impact one’s health and well-being. One of my absolute favorite things is seeing people filled with joy, seeing them laugh, hearing them share their stories and seeing them do something they are passionate about. I also love trying to be the light that sparks that joy in other people’s life, whenever possible. I did that as much as I could while working on the ambulance, but I felt like I couldn’t do enough in the amount of time that I had. Unexpected circumstances can drastically impact the ability to live fully and to embrace life’s possibilities, and my short interactions with patients on the ambulance and in the hospital left me wanting to do so much more. I started researching careers, and when I saw the definition of occupational therapy, I knew I finally found the perfect fit! Occupational therapists use occupations, which are tasks and activities that are important to a person, to help them with their specific conditions, while also helping them live full and amazing lives! A treatment session in occupational therapy could literally involve a patient’s favorite hobby, but it also always incorporates complex medical knowledge, clinical reasoning and hands-on patient care. Occupational therapy is everything that I wanted in a career, and I am so glad I learned about it!
- What is your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the pediatric lab in the OT department! Seeing the pediatric lab made me want to apply to Augusta University right away. They had a ball pit, swings, toys and games! As I mentioned earlier, occupational therapists try to incorporate a person’s favorite things into treatment sessions. With pediatric patients, that can include a lot of play! The pediatric lab is a fun and helpful reminder of why I chose occupational therapy.
- Do you have a favorite memory as a student?
My favorite memory is my first time going to the SIM lab. The lab looked just like a real hospital, and although I am still a student, I felt like a professional occupational therapist that day! I also had a lot of fun pretending to be a patient for my classmates.
- What is something people might not know about occupational therapists?
Occupational therapists can work in many different settings, they can address many different diagnoses and they can also work in non-clinical roles if they wanted to. Some of the settings occupational therapists can work in include hospitals, outpatient clinics, prisons and schools. Occupational therapists can treat people of all ages with a variety of diagnoses, from those who had a traumatic brain injury to those who require mental health services. Finally, occupational therapists can also be involved in home modifications, work as consultants, or own their own businesses. The possibilities are endless in the field of occupational therapy!