Psychology grad finds her calling as an occupational therapist
Zada Hyatt ’15 learned about occupational therapy at a young age. Her older brother received occupational therapy for a number of years.
“I got to watch him during his sessions here and there and always thought it was so great how OT can be fun while functional,” Hyatt said. “After seeing how important OT can be in a person’s life, I knew it would be a great fit for me.”
Preparing to be an Occupational Therapist
Hyatt majored in psychology at PC. She says the major helped her gain the skills to determine what motivates patients and how to encourage them.
“It also helped build the basic knowledge of human development and atypical development which assisted in my OT classes,” Hyatt said.
Hyatt began earning her master’s in occupational therapy a year after graduating from PC. Before that, she spent a year serving as a director at a camp for teenagers with mild to moderate special needs. She also volunteered at a school for children with developmental delays, assisting the occupational therapist with school-based tasks.
“I chose occupational therapy because I feel called to help empower people to gain independence despite a new diagnosis, injury or post-operative,” she said.
Making a difference as an OT
Hyatt says one of the most rewarding aspects of being an OT is making a difference in someone’s life.
“But little did I know, when I began my career as an OT, these patients made an impact on my life,” she said.
One of Hyatt’s most memorable experiences as an OT has been working with a patient who was in a boating accident. The patient’s husband tragically died in the accident, and the patient’s leg had to be amputated.
“I was one of the first people she interacted with following her accident,” Hyatt said.
“I was able to assist in supporting her emotionally through positivity and being a listening ear while also empowering her to gain strength and endurance to stand up on her own and transfer out of bed to a chair.
“She was so proud of herself. In those moments where I see a person’s happiness shining through a scary and painful moment, I am thankful again that I chose OT.”
Living the College motto
Hyatt says she’s excited about the OTD program at PC. She says the staff is “wonderful and diverse in experiences.”
And OT is a “great fit” for PC as it continues to graduate students who live the motto, “While We Live, We Serve,” in their professional lives.
“What better way to carry out the motto,” Hyatt said, “than to learn how to assist in rehabilitation of others, using your talents and skills that have been gifted to you, while also feeling fulfilled yourself.”
Are you interested in making a difference as an occupational therapist? Applications are still being accepted to begin the program in January. Apply using the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service. For more information about the program please call 864-938-3710 or complete this form.