Is it just me (and it really might be) but do you know a lot of doctors? Maybe you are a super good marketing person and know all the local docs, maybe you have lived in the same town and always known the doctors, or maybe you’re like me and realize one day that a startling percentage of your classmates/roommates/friends have decided to go to medical school. These acquaintances can be beneficial, and not just when you want to avoid making a real appointment.
In our current environment, the doctor is often the gateway (direct or indirect) to occupational therapy services. Even when legislation for direct access exists, many practitioners still prefer a prescription for services for safety or insurance reasons. Other times, a person may not realize that occupational therapy could help their ailment and it comes up during a PCP visit. So it is advantageous to make sure that doctors that you know are fully aware of what you do.
This can be difficult since many OTs are not “toot your own horn” kind of people. But a letter to a doctor, and especially one who is a friend, doesn’t need to come off in that way. It can provide information about how your practice can benefit their client population. People (even doctor people) are not always aware of what all an OT can do, and if you can make the information relevant to the person’s life or practice, it will be remembered. (See: Elevator Speech)
The other reason that this can be difficult is because there can be a fear of rejection. I was part of a homeless outreach group organized by community medicine students when I was in college. Medical students (literally occupying the SAME building as the OT/PT programs) said that they had been told the therapies were “soft sciences” and to be avoided if possible. (?!?!) Where did this come from? I still don’t know, but it had to be corrected. No one wants to risk not looking like a fully awesome expert, but you can’t allow a belief like that to go unquestioned.
So take the time to send a short note to some of your doctor friends, tell them about OT month and the greatness you provide. Use some of the great resources of the world- facebook, text, or communicate in whatever method you feel most comfortable. If you know their specialty and want to be supercool, figure out when their special celebratory week or month is so you can send a nice message then too.
This is something that I have put off for a long time but pledged to do as part of the challenge. So Joanna, Justin, Brent, Tom, Aunt Vick- watch your inboxes, the magic of OT is coming. :)