Flaherty gains valuable experience | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

May 20, 2022
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Shannon Flaherty, a graduate of St. Edmond, recently completed her doctoral capstone experience at A Horse Connection, located in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Shannon Flaherty has found her calling.
Flaherty, a St. Edmond High School graduate, recently completed her doctoral capstone experience at A Horse Connection in Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is in the Drake University Occupational Therapy Doctorate program.
“I first became interested in the profession of OT in high school after talking to my aunt, who is a recreational therapist, more about the different professions in health care as well as receiving OT myself following a hand injury,” Flaherty said. “I got my bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy and just knew I wanted to do more when it came to helping people and that’s when I started applying to OT schools.
“I applied to a few schools within and close to Iowa and chose Drake for a few reasons. I loved how close it was to home as I am a very family-oriented person and I loved all the professors I got to meet during the interview process.”
Flaherty nailed down her capstone project with A Horse Connection as a way to develop her skills as an occupational therapist while utilizing hippotherapy.
-Submitted photo
Shannon Flaherty, a graduate of St. Edmond, recently completed her doctoral capstone experience at A Horse Connection, located in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
“Nancy King, my site mentor at A Horse Connection, has been an OT utilizing hippotherapy for over 22 years,” Flaherty said. “I just knew she would be able to teach me so much and she definitely did.”
During her time in North Carolina, Flaherty took in office work and personal objectives twice a week while working the five other days with clients of varying ages and diagnoses utilizing equine movement during OT sessions. She also had to help care for the horses.
Flaherty took the journey as a way to improve her own mental health.
“As most people know, I have been through a lot this year with the passing of my father in September,” she said. “Nancy was a great role model and friend both in a professional and personal aspect. Being around horses helped me grow as a professional, but also as a person in the way of addressing my mental health needs.”
Up next for Flaherty will be a return to Fort Dodge after passing her licensure exam as an OT at Friendship Haven.
“A long-term goal of mine within the next five-to-10 years would be to open my own practice,” she said, “incorporating hippotherapy as a tool as an occupational therapist.”
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