Convocation Spotlight: Caroline Lougheed

Caroline Lougheed is graduating with a master of science in occupational therapy offered by the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Kyle Ireland - 06 June 2023

Caroline Lougheed is graduating with a master of science in occupational therapy offered by the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. She completed the Indigenous Focus (IF) stream, including a placement in Inuvik, NWT. 

Lougheed was inspired to pursue occupational therapy at age 16 and strives to expand her skills so that she can offer more services to communities that need them.

What initially drew you to this area of study?

I always had a love for the health sciences as a child. When I was 16, I witnessed an occupational therapist provide interventions for a family member in the intensive care unit when that family member was sedated. Since then, I learned more about the profession and was fascinated with the many diverse areas that OTs belong in.


What achievement, accomplishment or moment are you most proud of from your time in the program?

My greatest achievement was completing the Indigenous Focus (IF) stream in my program and being given the privilege to complete a placement in the rural North, in Inuvik, NWT. This experience taught me to remain extremely mindful in how I perceive myself as a service provider in remote locations and in Indigenous communities. The IF stream also taught me how to seek out evidence-based "wise" practices and how OTs can foster cultural continuity in their practices.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Moving to Edmonton (where I had no friends/family) and having to complete three semesters online during the pandemic. That was a very hard time. I also failed an OSCE and struggled with my second placement, but what is grad school without a few failures and setbacks? 

How did you stay motivated and who helped you keep going when things got tough?

Extracurricular hobbies! My partner was also my greatest support. Thankfully he will be entering the OT program this fall and I can return the favour!

What advice would you give to a student thinking of entering this program of study/specialization?

Complete the Indigenous Focus stream and find a solid group of friends who can bring out the best in you. Try to also seek other University of Alberta students who are outside of your program so you can broaden your social horizon. Life is too short to be stuck only in Corbett Hall for the next two-plus years.

What have you learned about yourself, and how will you use this going forward?

I learned that I need to work on demonstrating confidence and being more honest with others. Moving forward, I always try to take time to reflect on the conversations I have with colleagues and patients, and I try to imagine how my approaches could improve.

What comes next for you in your career/academic journey?

I loved my placement in Inuvik and would like to go back in the future. But for now,  I want to improve my OT skills in the acute care setting and seek opportunities to specialize in niche areas such as wound care or feeding/swallowing assessments. That way, if I return to Inuvik, I can provide an additional service that wouldn't otherwise be offered as staffing shortages are always a crisis in the North. We once had to complete a telephone consultation with a wound care specialist across the territory because the hospital didn't have any staff working who could provide that service.

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