Sarah Wooden, CPO
As part of the bachelor of science degree program in rehabilitation services at Springfield College that Sarah Wooden, CPO, was pursuing, she took a required course called Introduction to Rehabilitation, designed to familiarize students with the allied healthcare services they might encounter during their careers. Robert Lipschutz, CP, at the time the assistant director of the Newington Certificate Program, spoke about the prosthetics profession. It was Lipschutz's presentation that piqued Wooden's interest in O&P. She began her career in 1999 as an orthotist, and in 2008 earned her prosthetics certificate from Newington. She is currently the practice manager at the Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics, York, Pennsylvania, clinic.
1. Who has motivated or inspired you in your professional pursuits?
Earlier in my career, it was my family. Growing up in a family with a strong work ethic provided me with motivation, and their encouragement gave me the resources to pursue what would make me happy in my career choice. Now I would say that the patients I see provide me with daily motivation. The interactions I have still amaze me; people are phenomenal. I have seen many of them for years and have developed bonds with them and their families. It's a daily dose of inspiration.
2. Please describe what your work entails.
The majority of my day is spent providing clinical care. Because Ability uses central fabrication facilities, I do not have to spend time with fabrication concerns, and I am able to spend an advantageous amount of clinical time with each patient. Office management is dispersed throughout the day depending on what needs to be addressed.
3. What emerging trends or exciting advances do you see for the O&P profession?
I see the added value of 3D printing in regard to difficult anatomical cases. It allows for the opportunity to make multiple check sockets or check on those made during one visit, therefore reducing the overall frequency of patient visits. An advance I am most excited to see is in prosthetic hands that allow the patient to experience touch or sensation. It would be amazing to provide someone with both return of function and sensory feedback.
4. What advice would you give to someone just entering the O&P profession?
Be prepared to learn about insurance and policy, and accept it as part of your daily routine. Your patients will be expecting this, and you are often a liaison in this arena as they struggle to understand the coverage they have and the changes being made in healthcare.
5. Please describe your approach to patient care.
Patients want to be heard. It's important to remember that they have come to see you because they care about themselves, they have their own goals in mind, and they want to be part of the solution. My priority is to provide patients with what is appropriate after listening to their concerns. Although I may feel a particular device would work best, I am always ready with alternatives if the need arises. This may be something as simple as changing closure systems after learning that the family member who aids the patient in donning the device has dexterity issues, or more complex cases that teach me that the book answers I have learned are not always appropriate. I enjoy the challenge of finding the solution for the patient that we both feel is perfect.