April is Occupational Therapy Month and we’re getting to know Danielle Sharpstene, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist at OCI Therapy.

Where did you get your degree(s)?
I received my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.

Any career highlights you’d like to share?
I decided to pursue occupational therapy after I was injured and going through physical therapy myself. I watched the occupational therapists work with a patient who had Guillain Barre syndrome, and took him from barely being able to move his head and hands, to cotreating with physical therapy to take his very first steps with a walker, and decided that I wanted to help people to that extent. Well, my first occupational therapy job was at a nursing home where I was able to work with a man who had GBS, and we took him from being immobile, dependent on a ventilator and NPO, requiring tube feedings, to walking out of the building with a walker. He was completely independent with his ADLs when we were done with therapy, and I could not have been more proud of him for making so much progress, but it was truly an honor to be a part of the team that got him there. In regards to orthopedics, I would say that some career highlights include being able to help a patient who suffered a very severe dog bite injury, requiring multiple surgeries, get back to full functional use of her arm and being able to do CPR as required by her job again. Getting to work with Drs. Maender and Lalonde have been such a blessing, as well, and I am grateful for both of them teaching me new things to improve  my practice and better help my patients.

What is your hometown?
Rochester, NY – home of Xerox, Susan B. Anthony and the Garbage Plate

Do you have family and/or pets?
I am happily married to my husband, Tyler, and we have 4 pets. We have 2 cats – Bethel and Marguerite – and 2 dogs – Cooper and Sven. Sven is our newest addition and is a 4 month old German Shepherd mix rescue. He is certainly keeping us on our toes for now but has seamlessly meshed into our family like the missing puzzle piece we didn’t know we needed.

Do you have any hobbies?
I am an avid long distance runner. I am training for a 10k PR this year, but have also been working my way through running a half marathon through all 50 states; 27 states down, 23 to go. Other hobbies include gardening, knitting, spending time with my family, and reading historical biographies about our founding fathers. My patients come for hand therapy, but they stay for the history lessons. 😊

Do you have any special interests in Occupational Therapy?
I really enjoy working in orthopedics, especially with wrist conditions. I do also find mental health occupational therapy interventions fascinating and feel that I tend to incorporate these techniques into very early post surgical patients when they are still processing the new functional status of their upper extremity. There is a grief process, if you will, and often traumatic incidents that need processed to fully move past the injury that has occurred; using these mental health techniques often helps patients to go through this process feeling more supported and understood. I find that this helps to maximize functional outcomes, as well.

How long have you been at OCI?
I’ve been here for almost 4.5 years.

Any fun fact(s) you can share?
I am a die hard Xavier basketball fan and could probably talk your ear off about Big East basketball in general.