Looking forward to 2011

Goodbye 2010. I don't have the energy for a LONG year in review, but...
I will touch on a few ups and downs of the year.

Firstly, let me thank all readers. I really appreciate the comments (that aren't plugging fake universities or spam in other languages) because I like to see that there has been an effect from my efforts. I don't look at the stats often, but glancing today, I see that since I started tracking in 2008, pageloads have increased by 20,000- more than 300%! WOW! And the cross-posts in the sister blog on OT Connections have brought in an extra 50-350 viewers each time, with one anomaly (thank you 1-minute update). It's really exciting to see how this blog has grown and spread, and gets me thinking about some plans for the future (more on that later). So a BIG THANK YOU to each of you, and please always feel free to comment or email me with suggestions.

Most popular pages on this site continue to be Writing Goals and a Case Study With Goals, which is understandable since this is one of the more difficult skills in OT that is not hands-on. I do intend to spend some time getting back to the 'roots' of this blog and posting about decision making, goal writing, and treatment plans. Perplexingly, a rather random What a Week post is the most read on the mirror site, with the exception of my post about Glee that got picked up by 1-minute update. Ironically, some of the posts I spent the MOST time on (e.g. Metacognition and Serial Casting Case Study) don't seem to be as popular, but I don't have tracking to that degree so I can't be positive. I did get several thoughtful comments on my most emotional post (Struggling as an OT for my Family) so I appreciate that deeply.

2010 was the first AOTA Conference I've been to as a practitioner, and even the first I saw after fieldwork. It was great to re-energize and network with other therapists. I think that as you are in the profession longer, you become more aware of others in the field, so I spotted dozens of OT Celebrities this year and got to talk with many, which was awesome.

It was interesting to see all the uproar in AOTA this past year with the potential organizational changes. As we are heading into election season again I see the new blogs and OTC memberships cropping up and it's always notable to see who sticks with it. Props to Bill Wong for continuing to post, and also to Florence Clark for taking up the mantle of the President's Blog.

There were some serious downers last year. We lost my husband's grandmother to Alzheimer's Disease in the summer, which was very difficult for the family. Then over the holidays, we had several additional hospitalizations of our family members, which have yet to completely resolve. Health is so very fragile and some families are like a house of cards... I am learning to take pleasure in contentment and tranquility, because it can all be very fleeting.

I struggled on my final rotation of the year on the cardiopulmonary floor, made extra difficult by the chronic nature of those diseases. It is hard to watch others' independence fade as their bodies fail, and I felt like the efforts I made brought about little change. There were some truly tragic stories in the ICUs that even made attending rounds difficult. I did my best for them, but I am so thankful to be back with a more stable patient base.

As the year ended, I realized that I am no longer really a "new practitioner." Granted, most of my experience is consolidated in one practice area, and I certainly don't know all there is to know about the acute care setting, but I now have a valuable level of skill. I feel like I could go to any adult hospital confidently and be a skilled member of their team. I caught multiple strokes and other medical problems, which makes me feel bad at the time (I hate to see people doing poorly) but it makes me feel that I am a competent professional doing my best to look out for my patients. I progressed with treating pediatrics by taking on outpatients for a few months and doing some feeding interventions for the infants. I was really proud to recognize self-soothing in the baby I evaluated my last day, because even though it's simple, it shows that I am retaining what I've learned though my time to practice is sporadic. I also had my first true fieldwork student, and I don't think I screwed up too badly or she would not have sent beignets. :)

I have a lot to look forward to for 2011. My goal is to spend less time typing notes at home (which is awful!) and more time being able to participate in my "OT extracurriculars"- this blog, OTC, twitter, association stuff. I am now the VP of Advocacy Relations for the Maryland OT Association and things are already in full swing. We are planning for Lobby Night in Annapolis, and would certainly love your company if you're able to attend. I am looking forward to the AOTA Conference in Philly (a mere 2 hours away) and the MOTA Conference (a mere 15 minutes away). I really enjoy how close Baltimore is to fun and excitement, so I know there will be more trips to DC and NY this year too.

Happy, healthy, awesome new year to all.

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