This is our first annual awards to recognize the incredible healthcare professionals making a difference in the healthcare community. Although we recognize there are many more that are profoundly impacting the industry, this award is our attempt to highlight some of the most noticeable professionals from several different disciplines.

The recipients of this award demonstrate what it means to be #ThrivingInHealthcare. This campaign signifies a person excelling in their work role, making a statement in their profession, and thriving in all areas of life.  #ThrivingInHealthcare doesn’t mean you are perfect – no one is. Rather, this campaign symbolizes dedication to growth and a determination to live your best life. We believe we all have a role to play to shape a better healthcare industry, and the way in which we start that is by giving ourselves the template to do so.

How are you #ThrivingInHealthcare? What lights you up about the work you do? How are you using your role to improve our industry? We want you to join in on the campaign. Share your story on social media using the hashtag and share your definition of what it means to thrive in healthcare.

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Occupational Therapists - Part 2

top 50 most influential healthcare professionals

Name and credentials:

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L

Handle and/or Site:

OT Potential: otpotential.com

What led you into healthcare?

Growing up, I wanted to be a nun, a pastor or an OT. Somehow my path led to OT.

What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in healthcare?

I’m a big believer that most of the easy problems in life have been solved. The problems we are faced with in our world and in healthcare in particular are complex. These problems will take unprecedented collaboration to address.

What gets you up everyday?

My son asking me to change his diaper 🙂

How do you use your platform to help others?

From the beginning, I’ve wanted OT Potential to be a place for OTs to share what is (and what isn’t!) working in their practice. I’m hoping to take this to the next level this year with a membership site focused on evidence based practice, documentation, and assessments.

What’s your favorite book or podcast?

Right now I am listening to On Being and No Thanks We’re Booked.

What’s your top tip on being successful?

Be persistent in solving a problem you care about.

During stressful times, what are some of your favorite coping strategies?

I am very routine-based and try to de-stress every night with tea and a good book!

What are you most excited for this year?

Hopefully growing my team and being able to help OTs in even more  actionable ways!

top 50 most influential healthcare professionals

Name and credentials:

Hi I’m Shannen Coley, MS, OTR/L. I am an occupational therapist with 2 years
experience in working with rehabilitative adult patients in acute inpatient rehab
and hospital settings. My role as an occupational therapist in this setting is to
facilitate patient empowerment to maximize their ability to return to their most
meaningful and functional lives after disease, disorder, or disaster.

Handle and/or Site:

IG handle: @Shannenmarie_ot
You will find lots of OT related advocacy content, narrative accounts of
HIPAA compliant patient stories, positivity mixed with realities of
healthcare, sunflowers, and scrubs.

Blog: https://shannenmarieot.com
Currently on my blog, ShannenMarieOT, my focus is going through in
detail the various settings (#OTSettingsSeries) that occupational therapy
practitioners can work in order to dispel the myth that we as OTs only
work to help people find jobs. You will find all things occupational therapy, student success, year in
review reflections, a little bit of osteopathic medicine, medical apparel
product reviews, and publications on the blog.
o I actually started the blog in 2016 under a different name mOTivatedtoDO
due to my desire to advocate, educate, and stick up for two professions
that are widely misunderstood. My then boyfriend (now husband) and his
classmates inspired me by their pursuit of osteopathic medicine, but I
realized (in OT school at the time) that in all our lectures and basically in
any clinical fieldwork settings as well as in my personal life going to the
doctor, I had absolutely no idea that there are 2 types of practicing
physicians. That sparked my blog name as I was “mOTivated to DO”
more by sharing tidbits of occupational therapy (OT) and osteopathic
medicine (DO).

What led you into healthcare?

Since I was a little girl and partially I think because I am the oldest sibling and
grew up being the only girl amongst my brother and male cousins, I have always
been drawn to helping others. As a child I wanted to be a pediatrician and a
princess and then into my adolescence due to my significant interest in sports
(track, cross country, soccer, cheerleading 4 year varsity letterman in high
school; track and cross country at the collegiate level) I shifted my interest to the
professions of athletic training and physical therapy. It was not until I tore my
ACL (for the first time) in high school that I realized that although I had the utmost gratitude to my high school athletic trainer as well as my outpatient physical therapist for helping me regain strength, mobility, and confidence, I felt that I was missing something to do either of these professions long term. (Mind you in high school my perceptions of all healthcare careers were much more narrowed than they are today as one immersed in the field of occupational therapy as well as in
being apart of that #medwifelife). In sum, occupational therapy found me. It gave
me the creativity link that I was craving and pleasantly combined the arts and
sciences into a favorable profession with many different career avenues.

What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in healthcare?

No matter how much you study or how much you perceive that you understand
the realities of that patient’s current situation or disease, you do NOT and cannot
fully understand what exactly that person is going through. I have also tearfully
learned that sometimes patients do not want to get better and although I never
give up on them, it is their choice and right to direct their care.

Sometimes the best therapy intervention you can give somebody is admitting that
you do not have the answer but will do everything in your power to gather it.

I have realized that every person in healthcare no matter where they fall on the
healthcare ladder chain, patient care technician to attending physician, each
person will have his or her innate personal and professional desires that may not
match yours and that is okay.
It is best to treat everyone with respect regardless of if one deserves it or
reciprocates that same level of respect back to you.

What gets you up everyday?

Simple answer: my family and my patients.
Longer answer: When I start to feel myself slip away, such as beginning to feel
withdrawn or disinterested, I try to stop and envision my future family with my
husband James and future little ones that we will (God-willing) get to raise to be
their best versions of themselves. When I feel unmotivated such as when I have
the occasional episode of stalling to go to the gym, all it takes is a few minutes of
thinking back on former or current patients who would literally give anything to go
for one more jog around the block or one more dance with their spouse but
cannot due to medical issues that restrict or limit their capacity to participate.
That quickly motivates my butt into gear.

How do you use your platform to help others?

I never meant for my Instagram or blog to become “popular” or to ever even be
referred to as a “platform” and if we play the comparison game my sites are very
small in their following when relatively speaking. However, I am grateful for the
way it has blossomed (and hope more of you lovelies choose to follow me)
which in essence refers to the theme of my sites.
I want to help others flourish, to know that it is okay and normal to feel like a
weed sometimes, but to keep going and growing and to find the sun like a
sunflower!

What’s your favorite book or podcast?

Such a hard question! So many excellent books and podcasts out there. One of
my far far far away goals is to actually write a book someday…hmmm. Anyways
a few of my favorite books are My Sister’s Keeper, Being Mortal, Because of
Winn Dixie and a few of my favorite podcasts (just recently became a podcast
listener during my 30 minute commute to and from work) are As a Woman
Podcast, Occupied Podcast, Seniors Flourish Podcast, Spill the OT Podcast, The
Burnt Out to Lit Up Podcast, and Nutrition Rounds Podcast.

What’s your top tip on being successful?

I am still trying to figure this out myself. I have so many aspirations that I want to
accomplish and help others accomplish.

Apart from the typical have a long term goal and within that long term goal
develop short term more easily attainable goals, my tips for being successful are
to “just start where you are” “give yourself and others grace”, “find the sunshine
in your life”, and “spend 80% of whatever little free time you have on things that
bring you joy”.

During stressful times, what are some of your favorite coping strategies?

My absolute favorite things to do to cope with the not so good moments is to go
for a run, walk with my husband around the block, drink a good glass of coffee or
red wine or both, and to stretch it out. Strangely, whenever I start to feel the
sensation of stress, I literally go on this cleaning trance rampage where I
reorganize, declutter, and vigorously clean anything in my path. My husband
literally thinks I am crazy when these spurts happen and that’s okay with me
hahaha!!

What are you most excited for this year?

I am so so so excited for this year! Looking forward to the national occupational
therapy conference in New Orleans in April of this year! This the year where my
husband graduates medical school, when we move to hopefully purchase our
first home (farewell apartment life forever, please Lord), go on a few fun
vacations before he starts his residency, and is also the year where I say
goodbye to the comfort of familiarity from my first occupational therapy job out of
school and have to apply, interview, and begin my second job as an occupational
therapist at a new facility, and so much more fun.

Categories: Top 50 HCPs

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