OT in HD: Presidential Address

AOTA President Florence Clark opened the 2011 AOTA Conference with an excellent presidential address describing the need for OTs to compete.

(Photo credit to Cheryl Crow, videographer extraordinaire, from the OT Connections Gallery)

We live in a world of competition. Especially now, in a time of health care reform where decisions are being made about what services are necessary in the future, we as occupational therapy practitioners need to be engaging competition with (not against) others to ensure our role in promoting occupational fulfillment to the public. Competition needs to be acknowledged. It drives innovation and can improve practice. It's not going away, so get comfortable with it. Victories are won often by teamwork, but always by competition. But, as Dr. Clark said, "let's face it- we're nice." OT attracts people who are cooperative and kind. But if you let others take OT for granted, "it's not playing nice, it's playing dead!"

"HD OT" requires power, and we as a profession need to embrace our collective power. We can't stand alone, but together, we have a power that can't be ignored. As a group, we are witnesses to the "transformative power of occupation" and this must be shared with the public! The public mindset is shifting toward wellness and participation, which is a foundation concept to OT. One example is the case of Congresswoman Giffords. Per Dr. Clark, it was not so much of a question of 'would she walk again?' but one of 'would she run again- for Congress?' People are concerned with the ability to fulfill a role- one of the things that makes life worth living!

Dr. Clark drew some analogies to Rocky, who demonstrates caring and competitiveness, sensitivity and toughness. We have to be "in the ring" during the healthcare debates. We have to bring our "playbook." That includes evidence on our effectiveness, increased grants, decreased hospital readmissions and documentation. Our documentation should not over-emphasize motor-based components, but embrace our multifaceted approach dedicated to the whole person, environment, and occupation. We need to be intensely involved in advocacy to make the message heard- that Occupational Therapy helps people LIVE LIFT TO ITS FULLEST!

A recurring theme of President Clark's address was to strive for "arete," an ancient Greek concept referring to excellence, effectiveness, fulfillment. We each need to strive for everyday excellence in our work, with our clients, and how we represent ourselves. Fire up your competitive juices!

Dr. Clark's message goes hand in hand with 2 other excellent sessions I attended and will share at a later date. I hope that the call to "arete" resonates with you.


AOTA Conference 2011

The 2011 AOTA Conference: OT in HD is in full swing!

Wow. This has been a truly awesome experience thus far. I know people want updates, and it's so hard to encapsulate because there are a million wonderful things going on in all facets of OT practice. Deciding where to begin is difficult.

First off, I think it has been great to be able to come with a friend. My best friend (also an OT, how convenient) got to come this year and this is her first conference, so it's been exciting to see things through her eyes and have someone to bounce ideas off of and be interested in similar things. It's also nice to have someone to sit in the big sessions with and go out in the evening together. So her presence has made this conference an improvement over others in that regard.

Another "people power" effect is that since I have become more involved in OTConnections, my state association, and NBCOT, I have met a lot of people and it's very fun to get to meet them in person or see them again. I also have at least a fair memory for names and faces, so I will see someone's name badge or recognize them from a photo and say hello. I've had a couple of people spot my badge and ask about various people at the hospital and life in Baltimore and I enjoy those chance meetings. I have gotten to see several of my former professors and had time to catch up with them, which is great. There are such terrific people in the field that by just talking to others in your sessions you can find out great things and see that there are OT revolutionaries all around.

I have been to some very informative sessions on a wide range of topics thus far. Started with a course on Infant Driven Feeding in the NICU, also got to see some ground breaking research on Contemporary Motor Control with guidelines for practice. Today I had GREAT sessions which have warranted their own posts at a later date- a session on being a Survivor in a tough market which segued well into the presidential address outlining benefits of being competitive. I got to be part of an intensive discussion on telehealth with (dare I say it?) other OT geeks, and then the Slagle lecture was terrific. Tomorrow is very up in the air... I have 3 sessions that are interesting in the morning and 3 in the afternoon that all overlap. I don't have a 3 sided coin. and we are planning on going to the AOTPAC night which judging by last year's pictures should be a lot of fun.

I've got a lot of notes from the various sessions and I'm really glad that I took off Monday to process everything.

Looking at the conference program, I realize I saw several of the "pixel people" at sessions today... I've also been able to match up the color photos with the grayscale on the cover... totally dweeby of me.

The updates on twitter under #AOTA11 have been interesting to follow, but I'm only getting them sporadically given the spotty wifi and cheap cell phone coverage. It's exciting to see so many people posting. I hope that people will also go back and use OTConnections more post-conference to make some dynamic SIS-type interactions.

Sorry this is so random, but that's the way of things during this time of sensory overload and OT-awesomeness. There's a lot of excitement tomorrow and I need my beauty sleep! More updates to come after I get home for sure.


An Introduction

Hello OT Practice Readers!
Thanks for reading Molly's article on Social Media. (You're already ahead of me, since I haven't read the previous issue yet). If you haven't been to my blog before, welcome, and please feel free to see the About Me pages or the manifesto I wrote when starting this blog 3 years ago.

Things you may want to know... I am a real OT, though I don't necessarily know what I want to be "when I grow up" so to speak. I write and rewrite material a lot (and do try to have a social life) so postings can be infrequent. I don't intend to come off as an expert about most OT-related things, I am still learning and plan to keep learning. That being said, I work hard at staying involved in OT on multiple levels. I read a lot of research articles and texts during my commute. I care about our profession and want it to grow, and me to grow with it. This blog helps me share that goal with the OT world at large.

If you're wondering what I'm doing in the upcoming months when I'm not doing something OT-related, it would include going to several concerts and shows, repotting my violets, getting outdoors, playing with my first smart phone, or reading (most current books: Thirteen Days, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Count of Monte Cristo).

Please feel free to comment or email me with your input, questions, encouragement, or suggestions for future posts. You can also find me on Twitter (otnotes) and OTConnections. If you're interested in other things I have written recently outside of the blog, check out the AOTA State Affairs newsletter, the MOTA newsletter, or the legislative section of the MOTA website (not up yet, but forthcoming). I will be at the upcoming AOTA Conference in Philadelphia and would be THRILLED to meet and talk with anyone who will admit to having read any portion of this blog.

Intended upcoming entries: OT-relevant smart phone applications; kitchen reorganization for energy conservation; caregiving tales; and a special shoutout to my twitter followers.

Again, thanks for reading!