Occupational therapy clinic set to open in January 2014

By Xirena Wormley

The Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University is about to get a new addition to its program by way of a therapy clinic set to open in January.

The clinic is one of Kean’s several projects that have been approved and funded through the state’s Building Our Future Bond Act, which was passed November last year.

Students and faculty will be using the clinic as an educational space for hands-on real life training, according to Claire Mulry, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and a major contributor to the clinic.

Students studying occupational therapy may be able to use the clinic as an internship.

“The addition of the clinic provides more experiential learning for the students so they are better prepared when they enter the healthcare workforce,” Mulry said. “It creates richer lesson plans and coursework.”

A clinic manager and adjunct professors will be enlisted to help supervise services and recruit clients. Mulry also noted that the clinic will help the university to compete with other occupational therapy programs in the state.

Erin Moses is considering getting a master’s degree in occupational therapy at Kean and said she’s been looking further into the university ever since they announced the program.

Moses also mentioned that the clinic offers the type of dynamic curriculum she has been looking for, and that she is excited about the idea of working with patients in an environment similar to the one she hopes to work in after she graduates.

“The clinic can provide a step ahead of people who are trying to get the same job as you,” Moses said after commenting on the difficulty of landing a job when employers are only looking for individuals with experience.

Kean students and faculty are not the only ones who will benefit from the implementation of the clinic. Adults and children in the local community will have an opportunity to receive therapeutic services.

The facility will be equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen to simulate clients’ homes, said Mulry. A children’s sand table, rock wall and toys will also be included in the clinic.

Kendra Silva, a Union resident, hopes that the clinic will be a place where she can get treatment. Silva was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 2003 at the age of 22.

While her medication manages her symptoms, Silva said that therapeutic treatment is equally important when it comes to coping with her disease.

“I feel like it’s a win-win situation for both the university and their patients,” Silva said. “I hope the clinic will help many people.”

The clinic is currently under construction and should be completed by the beginning of spring semester. Upon completion, clients may make an appointment for treatment.

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