Robynn Stolte, OTR/L, CHT


Expertise: Extensive experience treating chronic & repetitive strain injuries & acute injuries including fractures, wounds & post-operative conditions

Education and Certifications:

  • Fellow, Hand Therapy, The Philadelphia Hand Center
  • Master of Occupational Therapy, University of Puget Sound
  • B.S. Psychology, University of Idaho, Magna Cum Laude

Distinctions: Prior experience includes evaluation of office & computer workstations for ergonomic recommendations

In her own words:

Occupational therapy is a wonderful mix of art and science. Our work is based on scientific principles, but we focus on individual goals. Sometimes you have to be extra creative in devising splints or special programs for patients to use in their homes that have never been created before. Occupational therapy is another form of teaching people to care for themselves physically, to adapt to their environment after surgery or injury, and to use the proper tools to decrease musculoskeletal stress.

 

Even as a young teenager, Robynn Stolte knew she was destined for a profession focused on helping people. “All work is good work,” she says, “but at the end of the day, I want to feel that I’ve done something good for someone.”

As the child of an Air Force officer, Robynn grew up on military bases around the globe before finishing high school in Lewiston, Idaho. For years she imagined she would become a teacher.

However, by the time she had become a student at the University of Idaho, there came a realization about a classroom career: “I recognized that I wanted to focus on dealing with one person at a time rather than a classroom of busy children,” she says with a laugh. “I’d heard that occupational therapy was a helping profession where you spend more time with individuals, so I decided to look into it.”

What she learned was that occupational therapists help people of all ages participate in activities they want and need to do in everyday life. The purpose of occupational therapy (OT) includes helping children with disabilities function fully in school and social life, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. As one specialty area of OT, upper extremity treatments focus on the arm, from the hand to the shoulder.

More than a decade after her initial introduction to the field, Robynn has a master’s degree in OT and a rich history of health care experience behind her, including a fellowship at The Philadelphia Hand Center. Her previous work has ranged from assisting in an anatomy laboratory, to autism training, to serving as an occupational therapist evaluating office workstations.

And the biggest misconception about the field? “That hand therapy is torture and therapists are torturers,” she says.

“People starting OT are often concerned about pain, and sometimes there is discomfort related to overcoming scar tissue and stiffness. The treatments depend on patients doing their part in a supportive and caring environment, with the long-term goal of less pain and more mobility.”

Away from work Robynn is an avid hiker, bicyclist and runner and is also active in her church, having served as a missionary in Brazil for a year and a half while in her early 20s.

“The experience reinforced my need to connect with people,” she says. “I’m a task-oriented person, and my time in Brazil made me realize the importance of taking the time build a personal connection. The lesson remains valuable to me to this day.”