BY – Lea Griese, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator Chadron Community Hospital & Health Services
April is National Occupational Therapy Month… Let’s Meet Our OT’s! bypass
Sarah Russell first decided on a career in occupational therapy during her senior year of high school. She worked as a CNA at her local nursing home and it just happened that they asked her to assist with a resident one day.
When the occupational therapist came in to do a wheelchair evaluation for a custom chair for the resident Sarah knew immediately after the evaluation she wanted to find out more about becoming an occupational therapist.
Sarah has been an occupational therapist since 2003. She has worked in multiple settings from inpatient, outpatient, home health and long term care facilities. In 2018, she decided to pursue a position where she was providing occupation therapy services as a school-based therapist to children ages 0-21 in the Chadron area.
Sarah really enjoys this challenge and feels that she learns something new from each family that she works with and finds that extremely rewarding in her job. It makes it hard to pinpoint what her favorite aspect of the job is.
In her free time, Sarah likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters who are 12 and 14 and whose activities keep the family busy. She also enjoys hiking and running when she can find the time.
Throughout most of Maddie’s undergraduate years, she was pre-physical therapy along with a major in athletic training, but when she was introduced to the profession of occupational therapy her whole mindset changed.
During one of her athletic training rotation in Hays, KS she was allowed to observe an occupational therapist. She was fascinated by the whole dynamic and scope of practice with occupational therapy. It was something she had never seen before.
Shortly after this experience, she started to look into different occupational therapy programs and decided to change from pre-physical therapy to pre-occupational therapy She has never once looked back and thoroughly enjoys what she does.
Maddie does a little bit of everything when it comes to occupational therapy: inpatient, outpatient, and home health services. She really enjoys serving patients throughout the continuum of what we offer at Chadron Community Hospital.
When looking at a diagnoses, she enjoys musculoskeletal injuries including orthopedic surgeries and neurological conditions. She likes to work with patients across the lifespan, adolescence to geriatrics.
Her favorite part of being an occupational therapist is building a relationship with the patients that she serves. Occupational therapists are trained to engage a patient by using meaningful and purposeful activities, and that cannot be accomplished unless Maddie takes the time to build that relationship with the patient.
In Maddie’s free time she enjoys spending time with her two boys – anything that involves making a memory, even if it means getting a little dirty. She also likes to hike, ride horses and do anything outdoors as long as the temperature is 60 degrees or higher.
Maddie has been married to her husband Travis for almost eight years. Together they run and have a fencing/welding business, Nitsch Fencing and Fabrication. Travis runs most of the business, but Maddie does her best to help when she can.
They have two boys, 5-year old Huston and 3-year old Ike, who keep Maddie and Travis busy and on their toes but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Maddie enjoys spending as much free time as she can with the boys – anything that involves making a memory, even if it means getting a little dirty. She also likes to hike, ride horses and do anything outdoors – as long as the temperature is 60 degrees or higher.