Tori is September’s School Therapist of the Month! Many therapists often get caught in the medical versus school setting debate, but Tori has now done it all! We are thrilled to shine the light on Tori this month because she really highlights the power of diverse experience.
Tori has done two medical assignments with Advanced, honing her skills as an OT while focused on geriatric populations. Currently, she is serving as a school OT for an entire county in California. Tori has monumentally excelled in both settings and we are so proud to be a part of her professional journey.
“Tori truly encompasses what it means to be an OT in every way. She’s organized, she cares, she communicates, and asks all the right questions. I could not be more thankful to have such an elite therapist on my team.” – Advanced Recruiter, Bethany Fields
Get To Know Tori
What drew you to pursuing occupational therapy as a career? Occupational therapy is one of those illusive careers that unless you have direct interaction with it, most people have no idea what it is. I had several “close encounters” with OT, but for some reason never seriously considered it. Then over the course of a really weird and random month, I had three different people say, “Hey, have you ever considered becoming an OT?” The culmination of this was at a bachelorette party, where the bride dared me to apply to OT school. It was December 19th and admission deadlines were January 15th. I scrambled to pull together an application, qualifying for only one school within my required geographical region. I held my breath for four months anxiously waiting, then was surprisingly accepted and the rest is history. It’s not without challenges, but I have loved every minute of being an OT. I’m so thankful to those who spoke into my life. It has been a great fit for me!
Why did you decide on travel therapy as an OT? The decision to transition to a traveling OT was an obvious next step in the journey for me as a clinician. I’ve grown up moving all over and knew I wanted to try a little bit of everything OT had to offer before I decided to specialize in any one area. Certain circumstances came into play that proved to be a wonderful opportunity to make the switch to traveling. When I was put in connection with Bethany Fields, it was a match made in heaven! She’s been an awesome recruiter and has become a great friend, making traveling an awesome experience. When she pitched the idea of a school therapy job, I was definitely hesitant at first, but so thankful Bethany knew it would be an awesome opportunity for me. She was so encouraging. The switch from geriatrics to pediatrics has been a great adventure thus far!
How has your school assignment been so far and what do you love most about it? The change from rehabilitation to the school setting has definitely been an adjustment. I went from working with the same fifteen people, sometimes 75-90 minutes five times per week, to managing a whole county’s caseload, covering approximately 5 school districts, seeing children once per week to once per month. The staff that I’m working with have all been amazing and so generous to field all my questions. I couldn’t have asked to be on a better team. Children are super fun and providing play-based therapy is awesome! I had some experience prior to becoming an OT as a preschool teacher so it’s been fun to complete the circle and be back in a familiar setting now as an OT.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish as a traveling school OT? I hope that during my time in this setting, I’ll be able to help the students, teachers, and school staff as generously and with as much kindness as they have shown me in my first weeks here. It’s heartbreaking to see some of these children in very rural and under-served areas, knowing I’m the only OT services they will receive and my time is so limited by the scope of the caseload. I hope that I can support teachers and parents to help their kids maximize on their abilities, increasing their independence and confidence in their educational experience.
What’s a fun fact about yourself? I love to travel, even moving despite the hassle. When I start seeing familiar faces in the grocery store I know it’s time to move on.