“I like to listen to people and help them.”
Abigail Logan graduated in May as part of Union’s first cohort of OTA students, and now she has begun her career as an occupational therapy assistant at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln.
Logan decided she wanted to become an OTA because of videos she watched on a YouTube channel called Special Books by Special Kids (sbsk.org). The channel founder, Chris Ulmer, interviews disabled and neurodiverse people around the world to share their story and normalize “the diversity of the human condition.”
Moved by the stories of the people she watched on SBSK, Abigail discovered a desire to help. “I saw people with needs,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help people meet their needs, and I wanted to be able to do something for them that was out of the ordinary and creative.”
In researching a major with her parents, Logan discovered Union’s new OTA program and learned about becoming an occupational therapy assistant. “Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants look at people’s lives and the things that they love to do, and they really work to meet that person in the middle and help them to meet their goals,” she said. “That’s what I want to do.”
Logan began her journey as part of the first cohort of the new OTA program in the spring semester of 2020. During her program, she worked one of her fieldwork rotations at Madonna. While she was still a student, Madonna had an opening for an OTA position. Logan worked with her professors through the application process, and she was offered the position.
Now as an occupational therapy assistant, Logan is fitting well into her new role. “I feel like I was well prepared, and I am very thankful that this is the path I chose,” she said. “And I’ve been really impressed with the environment at Madonna. The other therapists on the team I’m working on have been really helpful, giving lots of feedback. They’ve all been really kind.”
Working as an OTA has already impacted Logan’s life, not only as a career path. “It doesn’t quite hit you as hard until you’re standing in a room with someone who has just experienced one of the most difficult traumatic times in their life,” Logan said. “Working with my patients has grown my empathy and given me a lot of perspective on my own life.”
One patient Logan worked with was unable to communicate and struggled to participate in activities of daily living at the beginning of therapy. As time went on, the patient improved, learning to communicate through nonverbal means. “It was wonderful to see this patient use the communication board to communicate with their mother and others around them and continue to form relationships in that new way,” Logan said. “It was amazing how much of a difference time and skilled care made. I’ve been able to see changes in patients’ lives as they’ve improved in their abilities, and I love helping to make that difference.”