In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month, we’ll be highlighting a new OT every week throughout April. Today’s spotlight is on Cate McKenna, an OT in our Spinal Cord Injury Unit.
Cate McKenna, MS, OTR/L
Tell us a little about your background.
I attended the University of Scranton (go Royals!) for undergraduate and graduate school. I’ve been an occupational therapist for 3.5 years, and I’m just shy of my 2 year anniversary here at Magee.
Why did you decide to become an OT?
I always wanted to go into healthcare, and somewhere along the way, OT found me. I was in high school and a family friend suggested I look into occupational therapy. I shadowed a few different occupational therapists in a few different settings and instantly fell in love. When I found the OT program at the University of Scranton, it was the perfect fit.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
There are so many things about being an OT that are rewarding, but I do have my top 2. The first is being able to empower people in the midst of challenging circumstances. It is an amazing feeling to enable to someone to regain a sense of self-worth and independence. And the second would have to be developing relationships with patients and learning through their subjective experience of life with disability/injury/disease. At a conference I attended last year, a presenter referenced this quote “Don’t just mend the broken bones. Stay, and mend the broken spirits,” and I try to carry that with me daily.
Tell us about an experience that solidified for you that you made the right career choice.
I can’t think of just one. There have been so many meaningful experiences that have affirmed my decision to become an occupational therapist. The best reminder is always when a patient expresses gratitude for the work you have done collaboratively with them. Sometimes that gratitude comes during their inpatient stay, sometimes just at the very end when they go home, and sometimes much later when the dust is settled – but it is always an amazing feeling to know that you have made a lasting impact.
What are some of your passions outside of OT?
This is an area where I could really use some growth! My job is my biggest passion right now, but beyond that I really enjoy time with family and friends, being a part of the Scranton alumni community, exploring local restaurants, and enjoying the city of Philadelphia.