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Lindsey Ham comes to work each day with her ‘game face’ on

Jan. 17, 2019, 10:24 AM

Lindsey Ham is the Occupational Therapy clinical team leader at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Lindsey Ham is the Occupational Therapy clinical team leader at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Susan Urmy)

by Kelsey Herbers

For Lindsey Ham, Occupational Therapy clinical team lead at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the phrases “work hard” and “play hard” are synonymous.

“I love that I get to come to work every day and make a difference through play,” said Ham. “An integral part of my job is using games and meaningful play activities to overcome obstacles or challenges that a child may be facing.”

Filled with a rock wall, bicycle track, indoor zipline and every toy in between, Ham’s workspace certainly encourages adventure.

Aside from her clinical duties, Ham leads a team of 13 occupational therapists, helping them manage their schedules and assisting with tough clinical cases. While she strives to be a mentor, she is adamant the support flows both ways.

“They’re all willing to jump in and problem solve with each other,” said Ham. “If we have a challenging patient situation, we can all put our heads together to figure out what the research says and what the best interventions are to give the patient the best care possible. I lean on my team a ton.”

Often seeing the same patients once or twice a week for months at a time, the team develops relationships with the children and families they serve, giving them the comfort of knowing someone is on their side who sees the same struggles they do.

“They see us more than they see any other health care professionals, so we are part of their family to a degree. Some of them see us as much as they see their grandparents,” said Ham. “We become close and then teach them that they can do this on their own.”

Ham’s role at Vanderbilt was her first job out of graduate school. She decided occupational therapy was her calling as a junior in high school, though she has always known she was meant to practice in pediatrics and health care.

“We are impacting these children for the rest of their lives. We get to help them change and be who they’re going to be in the future, and we get to show parents a glimpse of that in our sessions — what their future can hold,” said Ham.

Jennifer Pearson, Ham’s supervisor, notes that patients aren’t the only ones who experience a wave of relief when Ham is assigned to their care team.

“As soon as I hear that Lindsey is a patient’s therapist, I know I am looking at another satisfied family,” said Pearson. “Families are often hesitant to travel a long distance for their occupational therapy. However, after one visit with Lindsey, they understand the phenomenal service they will receive from our clinic and team. They are happy to return for continued services.”

“With each patient, I hope they feel a little bit better, more accomplished and have more self-confidence when they’re leaving,” said Ham. “I think if they can leave knowing that we got a step closer today, then I’ve done my job for the day.”

Register for Celebrate 2019 in the Learning Exchange. Search for “Celebrate2019,” and enroll in the specific session you are attending.

Register for Celebrate 2019 in the Learning Exchange. Search for “Celebrate2019,” and enroll in the specific session you are attending.

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