Andrew Finfrock is well prepared for the next phase in his career development – all thanks to his UToledo classes and internship experience at The University of Toledo Medical Center.
Raised in Perrysburg, Finfrock was familiar with the opportunities the University provides to its students and to the Toledo area. He was also familiar with UTMC, thanks to his mother’s role as a radiology technician at the hospital.
And that’s why Finfrock chose UToledo.
“Choosing UToledo was always an easy choice,” Finfrock said. “It also financially made sense for my family.”
Finfrock’s success as a recreational therapy major is much like many students at UToledo. The journey began somewhere other than where it will end.
Originally an exercise science major, he changed to recreational therapy after a friend, who was already in the program, told him about the collaboration and interactivity involved with recreational therapy.
“I thought the classes would develop me as a person in the same way my fraternity did,” Finfrock said.
As a member of Phi Gamma Delta, a once-shy Finfrock honed his social skills and developed the confidence he has today.
“My fraternity helped me because, with patients, it is very social. Before joining my fraternity, I was quiet,” Finfrock said. “I think that being around the guys and being involved with our charity work helped broaden my horizons.”
Completing an internship in UTMC’s Senior Behavioral Health Program, Finfrock works alongside fellow students and recreational therapy professionals to mediate groups for patients in the program. Each day, he works with patients to plan out their daily meals, teaches them coping skills, guides them through dealing with anxiety and depression and even improves their physical well-being.
“The biggest skill I have learned is how to work with the geriatric and psychiatric population,” Finfrock said. “With this population, you have to know what to say in a split second to have a good response and to make sure they feel welcomed and motivated to feel better.”
Finfrock credits his clinical instructor, Stephanie Morrill, for allowing him to be creative with his patients and providing positive but constructive feedback throughout his internship.
“Andrew has come into this internship and taken ownership and has treated it as if it is his full-time job,” Morrill said. “His patience with the population we work with is awesome. He is so laid back and kind and calming for our patients and they really respond to him well. He has been an impressive intern since day one. He jumped right in, working with patients and conducting groups like a veteran recreation specialist.”
Finfrock’s UToledo classes prepared him with the information necessary to practice as a recreational therapist. Recreation Programming, one of the first classes recreational therapy students take, teaches the fundamentals of implementing group activities. At his internship, Finfrock has benefitted from classroom learning regarding different diagnoses, as he works first-hand with individuals living with those diagnoses.
“Having that prior knowledge has been really helpful with knowing certain things that may trigger someone, different things people might struggle with and even knowing not to do a certain activity with that population,” Finfrock said.
As his internship comes to completion, Finfrock continues to call on his classroom and experiential learning as he prepares to take the examination to become a certified therapeutic recreation specialist this fall.
“During my time at UToledo, I learned that I love helping others and that a job in the healthcare field is right for me,” Finfrock said. “I will be helping others get better and reach their goals every day in my profession.”