In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month, we’ll be highlighting a new OT every week throughout April. Today’s spotlight is on Natalie Zachwieja, an OT in Magee’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit.
Natalie Zachwieja, MS, OTR/L Senior OT
Tell us a little about your background.
I have been an OT for almost four and a half years, with two years at Magee. I received my education at Penn State and Temple Universities.
Why did you decide to become an OT?
I always wanted to work with people, I learned about OT after my cousin was born a brain tumor and thought “play therapy” for pediatrics would be an awesome job! I can’t imagine working with kids now though after my experiences working with adults.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love building relationships with my patients and their families and helping them become as independent as possible following this difficult time.
Tell us about an experience that solidified for you that you made the right career choice.
I have a handmade arts and craft turkey on my desk that one of my patients made for me that took over an hour to create and he had almost no hand function. It was an amazing feeling to see how far he’s come despite his impairment and know how hard he worked in every one of our sessions.
What are some of your passions outside of OT?
I love being with my family, decorating my new house, and travelling to warm, sunny places. My latest hobby is planning for my wedding in November.