Congratulations to Our Newest SPARC Award Winner!

Aubrey Clement, OTA, Grad Date: May 2022, Salt Lake Community College, West Jordan, UT
Read her awesome essay below:

Growing up, we always had a wood stove for heat. I learned that sometimes because of different factors, the fire would go out, but by applying a spark in the right place and by bringing the fuel together with others, the spark could reignite the fire and soon a cheerful fire could be created, generating the heat to warm us all. I envision my education and training, combined with compassion, will be able to provide a spark in the lives of my patients and help them reignite the fire for life as they are able to develop independence. I can accomplish this through a passion for continued learning, accountability and applying evidence-based practice in my daily routine with patients.

As a teen, I spent several months living in the Ronald McDonald house recovering from a double organ transplant. It was the best education I could have received. While I was there I was able to learn empathy, how to communicate with individuals with a disease or disability, and to love, serve and care for others regardless of their circumstances. I experienced this unconditional compassion first hand. Although I was just a teen, this experience was extremely impactful and shaped my perspective on life. I learned the importance of including others without judgment or treating them differently. I was able to share my challenges and how I overcame them and I grew in strength, hope and courage from hearing their stories. As an occupational therapy assistant, I strive to be a practitioner who is truly there for each one of my clients. I will advocate for them and teach them how to advocate for themselves. I will encourage them to find what they are passionate about and give them hope to pursue their goals. I will hopefully be able to share my positive attitude and perspective with them, assisting them in making the most out of their circumstances.

I have had the opportunity to learn Spanish. Learning a new language is difficult. As I persevered and struggled, I received help from many and have seen how it benefits others. I hope to help those who come from a Spanish-speaking background. I hope to inspire others and be an example to them that challenges in our lives can help us help others. For a year and a half, I lived among Latinos and experienced a new culture. This too was challenging but I learned and grew a lot. One thing I learned that I will apply, to be a spark in the lives of my patients, is that everyone deserves care no matter what their background is. Each person we meet has a story that many do not know about. We cannot judge; we can only extend a helping hand and try to reignite that fire. As a practitioner, I will make each one of my clients feel that they are special, that their thoughts and feelings are valid and they are worth my time. I will give them the attention they need to meet their goals towards independence.

Having been a patient myself in several different medical settings, I was blessed to experience the patience and compassion combined with clinical knowledge of physicians and practitioners that made a huge difference in my life. I aspire to be the kind of practitioner that fosters growth, confidence and independence. Being educated on the best practices but also interprofessional interaction, interpersonal communication skills, being client-centered, holistic, empathetic, and an active listener will tremendously help me benefit my clients. I will use my therapeutic use of self to be a spark in my patients’ lives. Using motivational interviewing, it will be my goal to figure out what is the most important thing for my client and help them find their flame. I will take continuing education courses on topics that interest me, themes that I am currently seeing in practice, and things that are completely new and unfamiliar to me in order to broaden my horizons. I will do all this so I can be the best version of myself when I face clients with different needs. I will not get caught up in the mundane. I will always be looking and thinking of new creative invention ideas that are evidence-based and client-centered.

I am passionate about helping others live a meaningful life. The best way I can do that is to strive to constantly be learning and applying new things to my career. I will be accountable by following state and national guidelines, openly accepting constructive criticism and soliciting feedback from the client to tell me if I am not being client-centered. I believe that life is a gift that we need to make the most out of. I believe in having a positive attitude and making the absolute best of our lives, and doing what makes us happy no matter what. We should strive to live a fulfilling life. I want to help people find joy regardless of their circumstances. I understand what it’s like being a patient in the hospital and not being able to do what I love and have felt the negative impact of that. That is why I want to become an occupational therapy assistant. I understand the value of participating in meaningful occupations. Helping people achieve their goals towards independence is a very rewarding job. I am a caring, kind and dependable person who is honest and empathetic. I can think outside the box and don’t have to do things the traditional or conventional way. These attributes will help me succeed as an occupational therapy practitioner.

I will be a spark in the lives of my patients by utilizing my therapeutic use of self, personal experiences, clinical reasoning and applying all I have learned and been trained on in my program. I will bring my fuel closer to others to reignite the fire, help it grow bigger, stronger and hotter and encourage them to then go on and share the flame with others.