Outpatient Occupational Therapist
Straub Medical Center
Andrea Muraoka began her career as an outpatient occupational therapist at Straub Medical Center in February 2007. Andrea moved to Hawaii from the small farming community of Winters, California, after graduating from California State University, Northridge, with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies, and receiving her Master of Arts in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California.
As an occupational therapist, Andrea works in an outpatient setting where she performs skilled evaluations for patients with injuries to the upper quadrant. Her team designs customized treatment plans based on the most-current evidence to help patients maximize their potential for independence and lead meaningful lives.
Andrea became interested in a career in health care when she was an undergraduate student working at an afterschool program with young children. There, she met a young girl with Autism, and they instantly connected.
Andrea would watch the girl struggle with many day-to-day activities. Though she wanted to help, Andrea wasn’t sure how, until she observed the student working with an occupational therapist.
“The therapist created calmness and focus so that the young child could be more successful with her relationships at school and with her family. It was such a meaningful way to help someone that I knew I wanted to help others in the same way,” Andrea says.
Andrea’s schedule varies each day and includes a variety of tasks. Her main responsibilities include working with patients on a one-to-one basis and treating general upper extremity conditions such as repetitive strain injuries, degeneration, trauma and neurological disorders.
Andrea’s favorite part about her job is making connections with people and designing a plan tailored to what is important to them.
“I help them get back to the things that are most meaningful in their lives,” she says.
Andrea also enjoys the collaborative environment at Straub, where she works closely with many of the best physicians, physical therapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists.
“With the support of Straub, I have been able to obtain specialized training and certifications to perform hand rehabilitation, burn rehabilitation, lymphedema management and oncology rehabilitation,” Andrea says. “I value the ability to openly exchange ideas and share treatment techniques to help improve patient outcomes.”
When she’s not at work, Andrea enjoys spending time with her family, as well as swimming, practicing Pilates and yoga, cooking and baking.
She also is involved with helping the community through many of Hawaii Pacific Health-sponsored community events such as Kids Fest, Ladies Night Out and Fitness Education for Individuals at Risk for Diabetes.
Andrea would recommend applying to Hawaii Pacific Health because “it is a great place to work and is invested in its employees and the surrounding community.”
“I love that I can collaborate with experts and specialists across a network of hospitals to learn and provide the best possible care to patients,” she says. “It’s a place where I get to do what I love every day.”