Occupational Therapy Alumni Spotlight | Q&A with Cicily McBride, OTS

In this Q&A Spalding alum Cicily McBride speaks on her experience as a doctoral candidate in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program and her work in the field post-graduation.

I chose Spalding because it offered a doctoral-level occupational therapy degree, as well as a convenient location in Louisville, Kentucky – my hometown.

My time in the ASOT allowed me to get hands-on experience through various fieldwork opportunities that directly influenced my ability to obtain skilled employment shortly after graduating.

These opportunities also provided me with confidence in my skills as I transitioned from student to paid employee. Due to the amazing faculty at Spalding, as well as attending all three years with the same cohort, I now have a myriad of professional contacts that I can utilize if needed. Knowing you have individuals that support you and want the best for you was crucial in my success at Spalding, as well as my success as an occupational therapy practitioner (OTP).

As an OTP, it is my duty to continually pursue and implement evidence-based practice, which was instilled in me throughout my time at ASOT. Evidence-based practice was a cornerstone of the program, and I now have the knowledge and resources to seek out evidence to support the individuals that I work with.

The last class of the program is a doctoral capstone project, where the student is given the opportunity to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom in a specialty area within the community. For my capstone, I chose to create a protocol to guide OTPs as they conduct home safety assessments via videoconferencing technology. I then used the protocol to conduct research that demonstrated the protocol was not only feasible but also effective.

Through my work on this project, as well as with the tremendous help of then Spalding faculty, Dr. Jana Cason and Dr. Sara Story, I conducted a presentation at the Kentucky Assistive Technology Services in Frankfort, Kentucky, as well as had the opportunity to present the protocol and research at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s national conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Additionally, I was honored to have my work published in the International Journal of Telerehabilitation, an online peer-reviewed journal. These experiences were wonderful resume builders, as well as provided me with more confidence to advocate for my own clients in practice and their right to use videoconferencing software to increase their access to services.

Cicily McBride at national occupational therapy conference

Cicily McBride at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s national conference.

If someone would have told me during my first year in the ASOT program that I would be a published author and would speak at conferences, I would not have believed them. But that is the power of ASOT and their incredible faculty that feels more like family.

I am currently working as an independent contractor with two different companies providing skilled OT care to individuals with traumatic/acquired brain injuries and intellectual disabilities. Sessions occur within the client’s homes, in the community, as well as at their day programs.

I hope to continue to make a difference in my clients’ lives through my therapeutic use of self and OT knowledge. I have plans to attend future AOTA conferences and continue to build my knowledge of the populations that I serve.

Additionally, my hope is to find a way to promote the protocol I created, so that more OTPs have the information necessary to provide home safety assessments to those that lack access to services. Allowing someone to age in place safely within their own home is an incredible honor.