Jacob Rodriguez Finds his Calling as an Occupational Therapy Assistant
Posted: April 26, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker
April is Occupational Therapy Month. To celebrate this important profession, we are telling the stories of current students and graduates throughout the month.
Occupational therapy assistants (OTA) help patients with disabilities or injuries regain a more independent life by providing then with effective treatments. It’s an incredibly challenging and rewarding job that allows them to work directly with patients on their physical, psychological and social needs, helping them rebuild their health, independence and self-esteem.
That hands-on patient care is what attracted El Paso OTA student Jacob Rodriguez to the profession.
Before coming to Pima Medical, Jacob had graduated in 2011 with a degree in psychology from the University of Texas-Permian Basin. He wanted to move back to El Paso, where he was from. A friend in the occupational therapy field told him to check out the profession.
Jacob Rodriguez works in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program lab at Pima Medical's El Paso campus.
After doing some volunteer work in a clinic that worked with children, Jacob knew the career was his calling.
“I wanted to go back to school for something and I really enjoy science,” he said. “I couldn’t believe occupational therapy was even a career option—I loved it so much,” Jacob said. “When Pima Medical came to El Paso, it was perfect timing.”
Jacob will graduate in December. So far, his experience has been a rewarding one, he said. The class sizes are small and allow him to talk to instructors one-on-one. The lab work is challenging and appeals to his science side, he said.
“Recently we helped a client who needed adaptive equipment—lumbar support in a wheelchair and a special device that would open water bottles. We got it working for him. It was a great feeling and now he’s able to function more in society.”
The OTA program is offered at Pima Medical’s Mesa and Tucson campuses in Arizona, in Denver, Las Vegas, El Paso and Houston, Texas and Renton, Washington. To learn more, visit http://pmi.edu/Programs/Associate/Occupational-Therapy-Assistant.