Mackenzi outside with sports equipement

Aug 12, 2019 / Spotlight

Get to Know our SRH Staff: Mackenzi Summers, Therapeutic Recreation

What is your role at the hospital? What do you do on a daily basis? 
As a certified therapeutic recreation therapist (CTRS), I provide therapeutic interventions for inpatient and outpatients through leisure and play, along with helping patients/families gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in play, recreation and leisure when they are at home or in their community settings. We also assist with adapting activities/equipment, bike for patients to successfully utilize/ride. I also promote physical activity to assist with weight and pain management.
I assist with our community outreach programs which includes:
  • Leading the Chance to Dance program in the spring (adaptive / creative dance program).
  • Directing Camp Freedom and Out on a Limb (patients missing multiple limbs and arthrogryposis) and Camp HD2 (hand differences).
  • Assist with Camp TLC (spina bifida).
  • I help plan the Successful Bridges program that is held quarterly at the hospital. This is a transition program for teens with spina bifida that helps to increase their independence and assists with their transition into adulthood.
What led you to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children? How long have you worked here?
I moved here from the real UT (University of Tennessee), to complete my graduate school internship and worked at Scottish Rite Hospital in the Therapeutic Recreation department. Unfortunately, there was not an open position at the end of my internship, so I continued to volunteer at the hospital, while doing home health care. A year passed and nothing became available. On the day I was supposed to be moving back to TN, I received a call that the department had an open position. I have been here four years.
What do you enjoy most about Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children?
Mostly the patients and the families, but also the community and flexibility we have to better serve our patients. I feel like many of the opportunities we have to provide to our patients would not be available elsewhere. We are a unique setting with brilliant and compassionate staff. Everyone works together and goes out of their way to ensure the patients and families have the best care/treatment possible. As soon as you walk in, you can sense the relaxed feeling.
What was your first job? What path did you take to get here?
Camp counselor for individuals with disabilities in Salt Lake City, UT.
Growing up, I always had an innate desire to help others, plus I knew I wanted an active and on-the-go job. After shadowing various therapist positions at an inpatient rehabilitation center, I fell in love with watching patients progress in a fun and relaxed manner. I enjoyed seeing the rapport that the recreational therapist developed with their patients during these sessions and immediately knew I wanted to be a part of that.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to walk and play with my dog, Harry - we are best friends. I also love to eat really, really, good food (probably my worst quality. I am a food snob) and exercise or run off all of that really good food.
Three words to best describe you:
Weird, compassionate, adventurous
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I love to be on the go and exploring, so either a professional traveler or a ski instructor and outdoor adventure guide.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Probably losing my passport in the Tokyo airport. that was an adventure.

Learn more about the Therapeutic Recreation department. 

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