Celebrating Our Cooper Team During National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is a time to celebrate the teams who help our patients through all forms of rehabilitation, guiding them through their new normal and cheering on their progress. Many thanks to Kevin Wegner, Cooper’s Manager of Rehabilitation Services, and his team for sharing their passion for their work with us.

“I became a rehab aide because I like helping people. I help patients to have the best quality of PT/OT session of the day. Some patients need a lot of help to get out to bed, etc, due to being sick and/or majorly injured. You can find me everywhere! Kelemen, Pavilion, Dorrance, just not in the OR.

“What I like most about my job is seeing patients who were in ICU, P10 progress to regular floors, doing better, and able to do more each day. Witnessing the progress they make and doing better each day is very rewarding.” – Mayumi Ishihara-Davis

“I became an occupational therapist because I wanted a profession where I could be part of the rehab and recovery process for people, and OT was a perfect fit. My role here at Cooper is to help patients get back on their feet, and back to their normal lives as quickly as possible. Teaching them to adapt and be as independent as possible is the goal of all of our treatment sessions.

“I work on P9 (the cardiac floor) and P10 (trauma ICU). I really enjoy interacting with patients, helping them through the recovery process.” –Amy Fabel, MOTR/L

“I always dreamed about working in acute care, particularly with cardiac patients, and that is exactly where I ended up. I didn’t want to take physics in high school, so I took anatomy instead and ended up being pretty good at it! That’s how I started toward becoming a physical therapist.

“I mainly work on P9 (a cardiac unit) but I help out on other floors most days of the week. I enjoy meeting and working with all different types of people and personalities; it makes the day fly by and keeps it exciting. I try my hardest to help patients return home as soon as possible, but always keeping their safety in mind, working to achieve their best functional outcome.” – Sara Wiacek, PT, DPT

“I have a lot of experience working in the medical setting and I like to help others. As a unit secretary at Cooper, I schedule appointments, obtain authorizations, order supplies, help patients reach their rooms, listen to patient experiences, call for transport, arrange for interpreter services, and greet patients in a friendly manner so they feel welcome to their appointments and our department.

“You can find me in Physical and Occupational Therapy at 5 Kelemen. I love to help people and make people feel better.” – Joan Kelly

Interview with Amy Kerr, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist

What made you become an SLP?

When I was getting ready to enter into my senior year of high school, the thought of applying to colleges/universities was pretty overwhelming. My parents told me that I needed to declare a major and not go into college “undeclared.” My grandmother, mother and sister are all teachers. I knew I wanted to work with children, but I didn’t want to necessarily run an entire classroom. My mom told me that I should look into rehabilitative services such as PT/OT/SLP. I originally wanted to pursue OT, then last minute changed my mind and got accepted to West Chester University for SLP. I’ve loved learning about the field of SLP and have been a practicing clinician for 9.5 years!

How do you help patients here at Cooper?

I am very passionate about my career. I specialize in feeding and swallowing in the pediatric population. I take time to educate not only my patients and their caregivers/families, but the medical team as well. I take the time to hear the parent/caregiver concerns and problem solve with them to achieve great outcomes for patients. I take the time to thoroughly assess each and every patient and recommend additional consults/studies to determine the etiology of feeding difficulties the patient presents with.

Where can we find you working at Cooper?

On Mondays, you can find me in Suite 511 at Sheridan Pavilion evaluating and treating pediatric outpatients that present with feeding/swallowing difficulties. You can also catch me in the fluoroscopy suite on Monday afternoons completing modified barium swallow studies for the pediatric population. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays you can find me in the NICU. On Thursdays, you can find me in Suite 200 in the Sheridan Pavilion, working alongside Jennifer Niles and other professionals following a multi-disciplinary approach where I evaluate/treat NICU graduates through Cooper’s Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic, Bright Beginnings. On Fridays, you can find me in the main hospital, evaluating and treating adults with dysphagia, aphasia, or cognitive impairments. You may just catch me in the fluoroscopy suite on Friday afternoons, completing modified barium swallow studies for the adult population.

What do you like most about your job?

It’s hard for me to pick one thing that I love most about my job. To be honest, there are several things. I absolutely love being a part of the SLP department. I get to work closely with so many incredible SLPs that specialize in a ton of different areas. I learn from each of my colleagues on a daily basis. It’s so great to be able to collaborate with my colleagues about tough cases and get feedback from them on ways that I can improve myself as a clinician.

I also love the variety in my schedule that allows me to be a well-rounded clinician. I work with both pediatrics and adults, which range in age from prematurity to geriatric. Even though I specialize in pediatric feeding and swallowing, I’m trained/qualified to work with speech disorders, language impairments, cognitive impairments, fluency, and Augmentive and Alternative Communication (AAC). I also work with specialized populations including but not limited to genetic disorders, autism, tracheostomy, and cleft lip and palate.

Another thing I love about my job is being able to see patients make progress and knowing that I was a small part in their successes. It’s very rewarding to not only help the patients to improve, but to help the parents/caregivers.