occupational therapy, Uncategorized

Questions & Answers with ShannenMarieOT | May 2020

May 2020 Q & A 

I am going to do my best to make this a monthly to every other monthly thing where I answer questions from my Instagram Q&A box! I will answer as many as I can, but some may not be answered til next month! Also, goes without saying but I will not be answering to weird instagam Bot accounts hashtag thankunext!

questions & Answers may 2020-2


  • NUMBER 1 Top tips for new therapy bloggers for Instagram? 

    • Maybe I will make this into its own blog post but briefly my number 1 tips are to Be Authentic, Share a balance of your personal life (as you are comfortable) and educational/ graphic content, and Be aware (or literally just stay away from) the follow me follow back circulating groups because that may not be a genuine approach to building your platform. I personally have found that sharing tidbits of the “behind the scenes” is just as important as is sharing “educational” or “advocacy” content.
    • Engagement is everything; to engage with others is to develop fruitful relationships that can grow into lifelong friendships or connections. As my account has grown, it has been more important for me to interact with others than do things that might grow my numbers which inevitably happens as people see the “you” behind your account. IN sum: Be genuine. Know that your passion and your authenticity will shine through AND that is what will make you stand out. Share things that you would not be ashamed of if your momma or your colleague or professor came across. Balance personal with professional. Have a bio that describes your account in a nutshell.
  • How did you get involved with promoting/modeling for cool causes?

    • At what point did brands begin to reach out? After I reached about 5k IG followers I noticed a substantial jump in my DMs and linked email account. There has been one company who I will not name that scammed me, that is — I wrote two blog posts and two separate insta accounts and they did not hold up on their end of the contract. I learned from that experience and since that instance, I have became extremely picky.
    • My tips on “influencing” (yuk, hate that word):
      • Choose to partner with brands that represent your image well and that will mutually offer positivity and growth. Think about your audience first. If your audience will not be interested in this product/message/brand etc, then what is the reason to partner?
      • You should be saying “NO thank you” way more often than replying “Thank you I am interested in hearing more about a collaboration”.
      • Be aware. When influencer opportunities arise, BE VIGILANT.
      • First and foremost, and to be transparent– of every 20 companies or accounts that reach out to me, I may only provide initial responses and interest to 1 of them.
      • Look at your insights on your account vs their account. If you are consistently sharing their resources, you need to consider how your promotion of their product is leading to more sales and if so — you should consider requesting affiliate codes. You have to have the mindset of “If I am spending x amount of time on this promotion, is this actually relevant or worth it?”
      • For an additional transparency moment for you all – it was not until recently where I made enough money through social media to the point where I needed to file it on my taxes.
  • How do you model scrubs?

    • I am not a model haha not even close, but I do love photos. I typically have my husband or a friend take my pictures. I try to get them to take them early in the morning where there is direct light from the sun or I take them outside. I find that it is “more natural” if I am holding something or if it is more candid!
    • So also here is some more transparency for you all: some of the time when I am “modeling” scrubs I am sharing a pre-agreed upon free product in exchange for blog post or instagram post (which is different than affiliate marketing where I receive a pre-agreed upon financial compensation based on the percentage of people who purchase through my blog link or discount code).
  • What is the best part of having an OT instagram?

    • 100% without a doubt my answer is: Connection. I love connecting with you all. It brings me joy and has facilitated some of my truest friendships. IG has provided me a chance to grow personally and professionally. It is a creative outlet. It gives me a chance to share my stories. It allows me to learn and to teach. It is a glimpse of my journal/writing wishes. It is a platform that I had NO IDEA what I was doing on and still do not. It is growing to become an extra revenue source. It is making me believe there are other roles I can fulfill in addition to being a clinician.
  • Tips for growing / producing content that viewers will be interested in on IG?

    • Use question boxes. Get on your stories. I have not (yet) used IGTV but have heard that it is rewarding and engaging. Provide an insight into your world. Try free apps such as Canva to make occasional graphics. Do not be a spammy person. Use hashtags that resonate with Your audience rather than just You. Also, consider a balance of using a similar color scheme but do not feel like you have to be exactly within your “set” colors at all times.
      • For example: I typically in most posts will have sunflowers or yellow in them and recently have been adding dark greens and whites. I find this makes my account look more visually appealing, but that is very dependent on one’s opinion.
  • How do you manage OT life and blogger life?

    • Work life leisure integration. To be honest, I always have my OT lens on and therefore, when inspiration strikes I pull out my notes app and type away. I take breaks as I need to and find that it is more fulfilling when I do not “announce” this. For example, this past weekend my husband and I had a staycation at a local beach town about an hour away from us. I did not respond to messages / engage in posts, and that makes me a human, not an Instagram robot.


  • How did you hear about the occupational therapy field?

    • Short Answer: my friend as well as in my personal experience of having physical therapy and always having this innate desire to be in either a healthcare field or be a princess…
    • Longer Answer: You may enjoy reading my interview on Accepted which goes further into my experience. ACCEPTED: What It Means to Be an Occupational Therapist
  • If you could give a soon to be OT student one piece of advice what would it be?

    • Enjoy your summer. Do not pre-study. Relax. Soak up your occupational balance.
  • I’m a freshman in college, what can I do for my major?

    • This will depend on the OT schools you are applying for. My advice is to talk to your career counselor first and foremost followed by make a list of all prerequisites you will need to apply to your selected schools. From that list I recommend you take an interest survey that can help guide your decision making in seeing which major aligns with your interests and overall goal of getting into OT school. OTs are notoriously all over the place; we are interested in a lot of things. Some of my classmates’ undergraduate majors included: psychology, exercise science, kinesiology, physical rehabilitation, English, biology.
    • A word of caution: Just because you can major in something, does not mean you should. Consider what you can do with your Bachelor degree if you do not get into OT school on your first go around.
  • Creative ways for Pre-OT students to get ahead this summer amidst Covid?

    • Follow OT accounts for inspiration and know that we OT/OTAs appreciate your enthusiasm for this profession
  • Most important question to ask when arranging shadowing?

    • Ask for dress code, ask about parking, ask if you should bring your lunch or if there is an opportunity to eat in the hospital cafeteria, ask ahead of time about specific date and stick to them!
  • I’m halfway done with OT school and still have no idea which field to go into! HELP!

    • Good News: OT school prepares you to be a generalist and so no need to worry about specific direction at this time. Unpopular opinion: if you start in a setting and you do not like it, you are allowed to kindly resign and switch settings
  • What was the worst thing about OT school?

    • GROUP WORK. Although I loved my group members, working in multiple group projects with different group members at the same time is just plain difficult.
  • How did you organize your paper/notes through grad school?

    • I wish I could say I was very organized, but then again most creative people are a little messy. To be honest, one of my best friends in OT school, Ashton, helped me stay aligned. If I was to go back to school, I would definitely utilize the free applications and online notebooks that are available as well as commit to being diligent on Sundays before the classweek to download and file all items on the front side.


  • Best tips for new grads who are job hunting?

    • Many prayers— it is a rough time to be a new grad amidst a pandemic. Stay on top of job boards, try to reach out to previous fieldwork supervisors, and never lose hope on finding The job.
  • What is something you have done with a patient and thought “I’ll never do that again!”

    • Once upon a time in my first year of practice I was conversing with a patient and a family member entered the room. I did ask for verbal consent from the patient to speak with her family member, but I made the mistake of assuming the member was her mother when in fact the family member was her wife. It is important despite your own preconceived upbringing, religious background, whatever it is that you become open-minded and aware that others have different values, beliefs, and perspectives that are just as important. I can tell you that I will no longer assume someone’s relationship with a family member nor do I assume their sexuality / gender. I am not a resource for this topic but my friend Dev is at The Rainbow OT.
  • What subjects did you teach?

    • I taught a 3 hour combined lecture/lab Occupational Therapy and Gerontology Course, half of which was over Zoom (thanks Covid 19!!). This was my first time teaching ever and I had a great experience and learned through some growing pains as I went. I also had a supportive environment in addition to modeling from the chair of the OT Department who essentially lead the majority of the first half of the semester and then I took over.
  • Why do you prefer to wear scrubs? Do you get confused with nursing staff?

    • With exception of my first Level II occupational therapy fieldwork clinical experience, I have never worked somewhere where therapists do not wear scrubs. Yes, I have had episodes where I have been confused as nursing staff, but that is when I try to kindly but bluntly educate and defend our profession.
  • Any tips for becoming more comfortable with splinting?

    • Not my forte, but I have utilized occupationaltherapy.com for CEUs on this.
  • What is your favorite adult OT resource right now?

  • How many years into your OT career did you go for advanced certification (LSVT)?

    • a year and a half :)!! loved the course and use the principles of it weekly!
  • Favorite and least favorite settings / populations for OT?

    • Favorite: Hospital-based, acute rehab, inpatient rehab. My ideal setting at this day and age which could change in an instant is to work in a combined outpatient/inpatient setting that focused on neurological diagnoses, specifically CVA and Parkinson’s Disease. My other dream is to work alongside my husband in an Oncology Unit, where I envision providing a more wellness-based approach to rehabilitation. Least Favorite: Ortho is the most boring adult population to me, but that is purely because I personally feel less creative when providing interventions. Least Favorite setting: Outpatient pediatrics, although I am interested in Feeding/Sensory reeducation. (I will be calling all my PediOT friends when I become a mama one day, because I do not know my milestones hahaha!!!!!)
  • What is your definition of OT?

    • I’d like to think of occupational therapy as the functional therapy that helps you regain tools to equip you with rising to changes that come with life. We want you to know what makes you – you?? We are a strange but beautiful bunch, often erratic in a sense because we tend to be innate adapters and hopeful enthusiasts. We want to be there for you in all stages -neonate to 100+ years olds- in the hospital, at your home, in a rehabilitation clinic, at a day program, at your work, at your school, in a nursing home, at an inpatient rehab… Wherever your spend your time doing whatever meaningful occupation (activity) it is that you do- OT IS HERE (or should be) FOR YOU!! “

  • How do you like being a professor?

    • It is an experience that I greatly enjoyed dipping my toes into. There is a lot of imposter syndrome as well as it was strange to be within the same age range as the students, but I enjoy this role.


  • What is your favorite animal?

    • My Scottish Fold, Hemingway Cat named Gravy. I also love pelicans.
  • Do you ever have imposter syndrome and how do you combat this?

    • Yes, this will have to be its own post. I take each day as it is. Some days I am filled with doubt. Some days I feel like my content or my “online presence” is a facade. But all days I surround myself with people like my husband as well as my friends (sometimes through Marco Polo or instant messaging) who uplift me and remind me of my purpose. The world would be an easier place if we could all just admit to not having it all together.
  • How long have you been married to your doctor?

    • Well first of all, he is a person first and most definitely is not my doctor. Also, we have been friends and began dating before medical school admission even occurred:)
    • We have been married almost 3 years! July 15, 2017 was our wedding day.
  • Do you like fitness and how do you stay skinny?

    • Well I ran cross country and track collegiately, so yes I definitely do. I do my best to balance fun eating (aka ice cream pretty much every other night) with running, being active, and engaging in house upkeep!

With love,



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