Lauren Nale

I am in my second year of completing an MS in occupational therapy at Colorado State University. As part of my MS degree requirements, I am obtaining mentored research training in CPERL and applying this learning in order to complete a thesis project. For my thesis, I am conducting secondary data analysis in order to examine links between family, child, and environmental factors as they relate to differences in parental satisfaction with their young child’s participation in the home environment. I am also investigating whether these relationships are similar or different for young children with and without disabilities and delays.

As part of my involvement in CPERL, I have learned a lot about team science. I have been given hands-on and funded opportunities to help collect, manage, and analyze data for ongoing research projects, as well as apply my critical appraisal skills to help our team disseminate the results of our ongoing work to multiple audiences. One of the highlights of my experience to date has been helping to represent our research team at the annual American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Conference (ACRM) last month! We presented a poster on formative research that we undertook to examine the utility of a care plan development process when it is combined with the caregiver’s results Young Children’s Participation and Environment Measure (YC-PEM). This year, I have stepped into a study coordinator role for one part of a new CCTSI pilot project. Together with my colleague and friend, Kristen Arestad, we have trained providers at the ENRICH early intervention program in Denver Metro to leverage technology (iPads, computers) in order to collect functional outcomes data so that we can begin to examine how EI service use is related to functional outcomes.

After I have finished my second year of school, my last fieldwork, and passed my board exam, I hope to combine my curiosity for research with my love for practice. My ideal work environment would be in a hospital setting working with adults, either acute care or inpatient rehabilitation, where there was a focus on education, research, multidisciplinary collaborations, client-centered care, and where I could have the resources needed to be an occupation and evidence based practitioner.

Outside of schoolwork and research, some of my favorite occupations would include biking, reading, cooking, and crafting. Some occupations I’d like to include more on that list are fishing, hiking, and practicing yoga.