Brittany Essaili is inspired by the versatility of Occupational Therapy
At Bethany Children’s Health Center, our employees truly are the heartbeat that drives the organization. Every day, through the care and service they provide, they live our mission of maximizing the potential of every child and exemplify our core values of compassion, integrity, excellence, service and stewardship. We hope you enjoy getting to know our amazing employees through our Heartbeat profiles.
As a high school student in McAlester, Oklahoma, Occupational Therapist Brittany Essaili thought she might actually fulfill her childhood dream of owning a hotel and living on the top floor. But after investigating OSU’s hotel and restaurant management program, she realized that the requirements of crunching numbers and late nights weren’t appealing to her.
Her parents were both teachers and her older sister is a pediatrician, so finding a career working with children felt right. Brittany liked the idea of working one-on-one with kids and discovered Occupational Therapy.
“I was really drawn to the versatility of Occupational Therapy,” she recalls. “I also loved how OT can focus on helping people participate in everyday tasks. Seeing the smile on a child’s face when they interact with a toy independently, complete a shower for the first time post-injury or calmly participate in a once stressful activity is what inspired me to join this field.”
Brittany came to Bethany Children’s in 2014 and loves working with patients, families and co-workers from diverse backgrounds and life paths.
“I have learned to collaborate and communicate in many ways, and that is such a beautiful part of the job. I love finding a common bond with a patient whose life has been completely different from mine,” she says. “This work has also taught me that communication means so much more than verbal or written language. When I can truly feel trust from a patient who cannot explicitly communicate that with me, that’s when I know I have chosen the right path.”
The wide range of knowledge and techniques used in occupational therapy is something that Brittany values. “OTs have education in development, fine motor skills, general muscle movement patterns, neuro rehab, self-care skills, sensory processing, mental health, adaptive equipment and more. We use all of these different areas to find out what is motivating and meaningful to patients,” she explains.
Brittany is thankful for her fellow OTs at Bethany Children’s. “Our OT team hospital-wide is always willing to help out or step in when needed,” she says. “I enjoy constantly receiving so much support and ingenuity from this team. Keep up the compassionate work!”
Something people might not know: “I spent three spring breaks in college exploring caves in Arkansas.”
First job: “I babysat starting at age 12, and then I worked at the grill/snack shack at the country club. I grilled burgers and such all day in the heat of summer and have never been a big fan of burgers.”
Favorite hobbies/ways to spend free time: “I love running, traveling, and occasionally drawing, but my husband and I currently spend most of our free time helping our 18-month-old safely participate in his beloved cooking activities, navigate his emotions, and convincing him that we just cannot stay outside all day long.”
Favorite TV show: Gilmore Girls or any crime docuseries
Favorite food: Pizza, chips and queso/dips, chocolate
Favorite inspirational saying: “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
From the bucket list: Traveling in general and running a marathon in Europe!