Occupational Therapy OT

| 12 March 2024

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Force for Good: OT alum’s journey from elevator pitch to entrepreneurship

01-Megan Jewell OT

Meet Megan Jewell, OTR/L, USAHS MOT 2012, an occupational therapy (OT) catalyst for change. Jewell’s unwavering dedication to fostering goodness within her field sets her apart.

Jewell is a 2023 University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) Force for Good Alumni Video Contest Winner. The alumni video competition celebrates the incredible impact USAHS alumni make in their communities. When asked what this award means to her, she says that the core goal of OT should always be about doing good things and spreading kindness, not just for clients but for the profession and the community at large.

“Being a force for good means I feel good about the impact I’m making in the community,” Jewell says.

She plans to leverage part of the Force for Good Alumni Video Contest award to grow her business and offer more continuing education opportunities. See her winning video entry below.

A force for pioneering innovation

Jewell is pushing boundaries and sparking advancement in pediatric occupational therapy. She owns Kids on the POINT OT, a mobile occupational therapy practice in San Diego County. Jewell’s approach is rooted in play-based care and sensory and relationship-informed practices that positively impact the daily lives of children and families.

“I’m pushing the envelope and getting back to occupations and what’s meaningful and purposeful in daily lives,” she says.

Jewell meets families at home to offer convenient, personalized care. She says that home-based care is effective because it grants insight into the family dynamic and environment, which in turn helps her determine what’s realistic and what therapies will be successful. “I’m training families to become detectives within their own homes and to develop tools that work in their lives,” Jewell says.

She partners with the whole family to help them navigate routine challenges. Her work is rooted in nervous system regulation and involves child behavioral development and parent coaching. She equips parents with tools to better engage with their children and communicate collaboratively so the child feels seen, heard and understood. “One of the best things I’ve done is to help families quiet the noise and trust their inner compass.”

03-Megan Jewell OT

Megan Jewell with her family

A force for transforming communities

Jewell’s inspiration extends beyond her clinical work. She dedicates time to initiatives like networking groups, mentorship programs for pediatric therapists and educating undergraduate students about OT trajectories.

The mission of the Connect Group, organized by Jewell, is to provide local pediatric occupational therapists (OTs) with a space to network and learn from one another. “It’s important to me to support fellow therapists to find their occupational balance,” she explains.

Jewell participates in the annual Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) Healthcare @ Work Panel to highlight potential OT career paths and promote the profession.

Jewell envisions OT as a constantly evolving positive influence rather than a mundane profession. “We blend art with science and can bring meaning into patient lives in distinct ways. For creatives, it makes it significant for us to show up to work.”

A force for foundational success

Jewell credits her time at USAHS for instilling the confidence to dream big and pursue her passion for OT. The supportive environment and mentorship she received from faculty members empowered her to forge her path.

“My professors at USAHS communicated the importance of nailing my elevator pitch and advocating for OT no matter where my career took me,” Jewell says,

“Thank you, USAHS, for meeting me on the first floor and sending me to the top.”

During her time at USAHS, Jewell participated in a pivotal fieldwork placement with Sheila Frick, OTR/L, in Madison, WI. She says the experience strengthened her decision to pursue a career in pediatrics. “The mentorship I received from her and her staff gave me a better understanding of the depth of learning that I would be embarking on throughout my entire career and ignited a passion in me to keep learning,” Jewell says.

At USAHS, she appreciated the study of the mental health aspect of OT and learned how to look at the whole person, their environment and who they are in the context of where they live and the occupations that they engage in.

Jewell’s journey from student to successful business owner is a testament to the leading education she received at USAHS.

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A force for generosity

Jewell will donate part of the Force for Good Alumni Video Contest financial award to Camp Avanti, a therapeutic outdoor camp for neurodiverse children. Founded by pediatric OT pioneers, Avanti provides a safe and magical outdoor space for children to be themselves while receiving invaluable therapeutic support. Jewell’s involvement showcases her commitment to investing in the community and advocating for the profession of occupational therapy.

02-Megan Jewell OT

A force for a bright future

As Jewell continues to make waves in the field of occupational therapy, her advice to current health sciences students is simple yet profound: Never settle for mediocrity and always strive to do good work in the community. She believes that a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence and professionalism are integral.

Jewell remains steadfast in her commitment to quality care and community impact. She plans to deepen her professional development and widen her toolbox.

“I’m at a place in my career where I’m content with the work that I’m doing. I plan to keep going and focus on raising my family,” Jewell says.

Her story is a testament to the transformative power of occupational therapy and the profound impact it can have on individuals and communities.

Discover Jewell’s journey and current work at Kids on the POINT OT, and view her Force for Good Alumni Video Contest submission. Check out USAHS Alumni Association News and Benefits to learn more about the Force for Good Alumni Video Contest.


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