Jan 31, 2022 / Prosthetics & Orthotics

Get to Know our Staff: Rhae Kiessling, Orthotics & Prosthetics

What is your job title/your role at Scottish Rite for Children?  
I work directly with patients to assess their musculoskeletal needs and design prosthetic and orthotic devices that will enhance a sector of their lives. An orthosis acts upon a bone or joint that is existent on the patient, whereas a prosthesis substitutes for a bone or joint that is missing. A majority of orthotic and prosthetic devices assist with ambulation, but we also correct flexible bony deformities, provide function in upper extremities and protect sites of injury as well. 

What do you do on a daily basis or what sort of duties do you have at work? 
Our weeks vary, day to day. Some days I am in the O&P department all day, completing patient assessments, designing and fabricating devices and delivering the devices to the patient. Other days, I spend time with the physicians and their teams in clinic as a support staff member. It’s nice for them to have a dedicated O&P clinician to ensure the flow of clinic goes smoothly, and all orthotic and prosthetic questions are addressed immediately as they may come up. 

What was your first job? What path did you take to get here or what led you to Scottish Rite? How long have you worked here? 
It’s such a small world, and the world works in mysterious ways. My first job was in teaching. I was teaching biology and chemistry at a high school in Richardson, Texas, and attended a seminar titled “Women in Science,” with a group of students. The seminar was intended as motivation for female students to major in science disciplines and to explore the many careers that can come out of a science degree. We learned about the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics and I, as the teacher in charge, was actually so moved to learn more about this field that this seminar changed MY life. I still remember turning to my colleague that day at lunch and saying “I think I’m actually going to change everything and become one of these people…” I googled “kids” and “orthotics and prosthetics” and Scottish Rite came up. That summer while I wasn’t teaching, I volunteered over 200 hours at Scottish Rite. Completely coincidentally, the O&P director’s daughter was a student at my school in Richardson and taking chemistry classes that year. I applied to one O&P school – UT Southwestern School of Health Professions in Dallas, was accepted and my life changed. Working with kids is something I enjoyed long before my time here at Scottish Rite. What a wonderful blending of my O&P career and my passion for kids this institution allows me. I have been on staff here for two years now.

What do you enjoy most about Scottish Rite?
The population. I worked in a small, adult, private sector before coming to Scottish Rite. While serving the community is my number one motivation in any regard, I have always had a passion for changing the life of a child. Having a job in this institution lights me up every day. I see the resilience of the kids, but I also form relationships with the parents, who are so humbled and appreciative of every aspect of this organization. The people around me are the best part of my job. My favorite O&P projects are scoliosis braces and lower limb prostheses. 

What do you wish you knew more about?
A lot! I don’t know, maybe Paralympic Sports? I haven’t broken into that yet. That would be where the orthopedic patient becomes the athlete. This is where my skills in orthotics/prosthetics and my side interest of elite athletes would blend. I am excited to take the first step in participating in the Endeavor Games this year, which I have never done before. These games are a wonderful platform for our O&P patients to compete in a three-day sporting event. 

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Germany. I have visited many times because my grandparents, aunts and uncles are German. They have a beautiful home in a small German village, it’s everything you would think of straight out of a book. I have been trying to get back with my husband and two kids to show them what it’s like to live in Europe, but the pandemic has made this very difficult. Hopefully we will be able to go this year! 

What would you rate 10/10?
God is 10/10. “Trust in the Lord with all your Heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Is there anything that are you looking forward to in 2022?
I look forward to growing as a clinician in our O&P department. I am working to get better at what I do and be more involved. I look forward to my two boys growing and learning, as they are about to start elementary school. I am excited for my husband and the journey he is on. And I look forward to the coronavirus being a virus that is easily managed and a threat of the past. 

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