By: Christina Roskoph '21
BEREA, Ohio - For many, the opportunity to positively impact people in their line of work is something to be proud of. When a loved one becomes the primary focus in this line of work, the experience develops into something truly special. Luckily for junior Baldwin Wallace University student-athlete Molina Otte (Omaha, Neb./Milliard West), she was fortunate enough to use her aspiring career path as a means to assist her beloved grandmother back home in Omaha, Nebraska.
Otte is a junior distance runner on BW's women's cross country and track teams. The Omaha-native claims her decision attend college nearly 800 miles away in Berea, Ohio was an easy choice. However, the option to go there had not presented itself until Coordinator of Cross Country and Track and Field, and Head Cross Country Coach Joe Eby contacted her. Eby had previously coached youth track in Lincoln, Nebraska, and eventually stumbled upon Otte and one of her friends. Following recruitment and a campus visit, it was a definite decision on where she would attend college for pre-physical therapy.
Otte returned to school this fall after spending her summer working as a caregiver at First Light Home Health Care. While working for First Light Home Health Care, Otte was asked to commute to the patients' homes or in an assisted living establishment if that was where they were situated. She would tend to whatever the patients needed assistance with at that particular moment. Her patients' accommodations ranged from transporting them to and from medical appointments, grocery shopping, and meal preparations. Sometimes, Otte would even spend overnight visits if circumstances compelled her to do so.
What made her summer experience truly rewarding was not only the progress made towards her career goals, but the opportunity of doing it alongside her grandmother. After Otte's grandmother had received knee replacement surgery, Otte was contacted and hired by the same homecare company that her grandmother was planning on using. First Light Home Health Care gave Otte the chance to become her grandmother's caregiver in a professional setting, while soaking in all the valuable experiences that stem from making a difference in someone's life.
"This job showed me more of the nursing impact of the homecare experience", Otte shared. "It showed me a different realm of what I could do in this profession and it even pushed me closer to wanting to become a physical therapist."
Otte shared that her summer's first glimpse of working with a homecare service really helped her grow professionally. She encountered different aspects of physical therapy with direct hands-on experience, like talking with clients, deciphering what works well for some patients and what works better for others, and simply meeting people from a wide range of backgrounds.
"I got to work with a person who had Alzheimer's disease, and I also got to work with someone who just needed help doing everyday chores. It was very interesting to see the different ways I could help someone."
Otte has now progressed through approximately two and a half years worth of required pre-physical therapy classes, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, and physiology. Having an educational foundation played a large role in securing her caregiver position this past summer. The incredible opportunity to work with her grandmother, as well as several other patients, shed some light on the path Otte hopes to create for herself in the future.
As of now, Otte has not fully decided where her heart lies on her path to becoming a physical therapist, but she believes that she has narrowed down her focus to two ideal settings.
"I'm more interested in working in a hospital setting, where I can do rehabilitation with people who've just received surgery. But, I can also picture myself working with more sports-related injuries and with a younger population."
Otte is anticipated to graduate from BW in May 2021. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to eventually seek out a doctorate degree in physical therapy.
With the help of her grandmother's familiar face to guide her through unfamiliar working environments, Otte has not only catapulted into the advancement of her professional life, but has now gained a greater admiration for the "home" in homecare.