Welcome to Baker College’s Spotlight feature, a series of brief interviews with notable BC students, faculty and alumni who are making news and reaching new heights in their educational and professional pursuits.
This edition of Spotlight features Christine Nazareth-Haupt, who earned a Master of Occupational Therapy in 2012 from Baker College Center for Graduate Studies. Nazareth-Haupt, who works for the Beaumont Health System, was recently recognized by the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association in the organization’s Member Spotlight. Here we learn more about Christine and her professional path and passions.
BC: What is your current job title/professional role?
CNH: I am an Occupational Therapist, as well as the Coordinator of Clinical Education at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Mich. As a coordinator of clinical education, I have a variety of administrative responsibilities, including:
- Coordination of students coming to our facility for fieldwork placements
- Onboarding and orienting new staff members to our department
- Providing mentorship to students, colleagues and those interested in the field of occupational therapy
- Working in multidisciplinary teams for safety initiatives and program development within the Beaumont system
- Educating the occupational therapy and physical therapy department about new processes, updates within our OT practice and the OT specific scope of practice.
- Guiding and mentoring our certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs).
BC: What drove you to pursue a career in OT?
CNH: I was working as an occupational therapy tech at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. when I realized how important function is, and how the role of an OT can have lasting impacts on people’s lives. My mind works in a way that understands a need for appropriate interventions or adaptations for a person’s deficit or disability.
BC: What were your career goals when you enrolled at BC? How do they compare to where you are today?
CNH: When I first started at Baker, I thought I wanted to stay working in the hospital setting, or even work specifically in the pediatric field. Instead, in my OT hours, I currently work primarily with a geriatric population of patients.
About half of my time, though, I have administrative duties as the coordinator of clinical education. I work with a range of people (students, new employees, colleagues) in this role, who have diverse occupational therapy backgrounds. It is really rewarding to share my knowledge of the hospital setting and medical background, as well as learn from others and their unique skill sets and diverse backgrounds.
BC: What do you like best about your job/career path? What do you find most challenging?
CNH: What I like best about my work is that my days never look the same. I am constantly thinking and adapting approaches to treatments based on my client’s (and/or patient’s, student’s, colleague’s, multidisciplinary team member’s, etc.) needs. I also love the initiative for Aging in Place, for those clients who are able to do so. It is fulfilling to see my elderly patients able to return home after therapeutic interventions and home safety recommendations.
My role is not without its challenges, though. At times I find it difficult to be an expert in all areas of occupational therapy. I always want to do what is best for my clients, and this can be difficult when I don’t always have the best answer or intervention for them. That is when I typically reach out to my colleagues from graduate school, or colleagues who have become experts in certain areas, to assist with figuring out what may work best.
BC: How do you feel your time at/degree from Baker College has contributed to your professional successes?
CNH: I learned a sense of time management and professionalism from Baker. The professors guided us well…they gave us independence to think outside of the box, while also teaching us the importance and understanding of the scope of the occupational therapy practice.
BC: You were recently profiled by the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association for its Member Spotlight feature. What accomplishment in your career to-date are you most proud of?
CNH: I am most proud of consistently serving as a mentor to students and other staff members. Teaching our colleagues and future colleagues helps us all to advance occupational therapy as an evidence-based and forward-thinking profession.
BC: What best piece of advice would you share with current college students?
CNH: One of my favorite quotes is, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better," by the amazing Maya Angelou. Never, ever stop learning. There is so much to learn through life. Use all of what you learn in school (and out of school!) in your day-to-day work. Growth, personally and professionally, can be one of the most rewarding things you will experience.
Also, collaboration and teamwork build a foundation for diversity. Consistently partnering with my colleagues, students, patients and their families helps me to solidify my understanding and respect for how others think and live. Embracing others’ uniqueness is how diversity facilitates creativity.
BC: What would you want others to know about Baker College?
CNH: Baker has great programs, and the professors all want you to succeed. I enjoyed the smaller classes…it was nice that my professors knew my name. The Baker College Center for Graduate Studies is very effective in cultivating leadership skills. Their approach to teamwork for classwork teaches the importance of breaking down silos and creating a more collaborative approach, which is significantly helpful in the real-world work environment.
BC: Anything else you’d like to add?
CNH: Many of the leadership skills I learned at Baker have assisted me in balancing my personal and professional life. I love spending time with my family, which includes my husband, Bob, and my three kids (Bobby, 3; Cora, 5 and Cayden, 14), who keep life exciting. We are expecting another baby boy this January, so this is a very exciting time for our family! My kids are at an age where they are constantly learning with every experience they have. I love to teach them through my day-to-day experiences of teamwork and patient care stories. As a family, we enjoy playing games, playing outside and traveling. Work and the little ones keep me pretty busy these days, but the skills I have gained from Baker have added to my flexibility of a healthy work/life balance!
To learn more about Baker College’s Master of Occupational Therapy Program, visit the Graduate Studies School of Occupational Therapy page.