Jeff Chapman, OTR/L, is the 2008-2009 HSS Hand Therapy Fellow. Carol Page, PT, DPT, CHT is Manager of Strategic Improvement and Education for the Rehabilitation Department and coordinates the fellowship program. Questions about the program can be directed to Carol at email@example.com.
Carol: Jeff, it’s a real pleasure to have you with us as our 2008-2009 Hand Therapy Fellow. What led you to apply for the fellowship?
Jeff: Having worked for only a year in an outpatient setting, I choose to apply to the HSS Hand Therapy Fellowship as a way to more quickly build my knowledge base. Having the opportunity to learn from excellent therapists at a top rated orthopedic hospital was an easy choice. I wanted mentorship from experts to achieve a level of competency to provide quality care with a variety of challenging cases. I was thrilled to have been selected for this fellowship.
Carol: What is it about the specialty of Hand Therapy that appeals to you?
Jeff: Hand therapy attracts me because the unique skills of the therapist such as manual techniques and splinting play such a vital role in the functional outcome of patients. Success with complex post-surgical patients requires a degree of specialization that gives hand therapists an opportunity to make a real contribution.
Carol: What sort of work experience did you have prior to joining us?
Jeff: I’ve been an occupational therapist for about 8 years. I’ve worked in a variety of settings including outpatient, acute care, home health, school system, and skilled nursing facility. Having had a variety of experiences, I was certain I wanted to focus on achieving a higher degree of specialization in hand therapy.
Carol: How have you liked the fellowship so far?
Jeff: I have been impressed with the fellowship from the beginning. Coming into a top rated hospital, my expectations were high. However, my expectations have even been exceeded. The program is well organized and there is such a wide variety of experiences built into the fellowship. These include surgical observation, attending hand clinic, weekly lecture series, splinting lab, group and individual case review and more. The hand therapy staff is top notch. In addition to excellent clinical skills, there is a passion and willingness to share knowledge to a degree I’ve not seen in prior settings.
Carol: Where do you imagine yourself a year from now?
Jeff: Upon completion of the fellowship, I plan to build on the clinical skills developed at HSS to contribute to an outpatient clinic with strong relationships with hand surgeons. The skills and education I’ve received at HSS will give me the confidence and enthusiasm to be a vital part in my next clinical position. Eventually, I would like to take the hand certification examination and this experience is invaluable toward becoming a CHT.