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Ultimate helping profession
Monday October 15, 2012

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It’s fall, and a new class of OTs and OTAs are midway through their first semester of occupational therapy school. Having made the choice to join an important helping profession, this is the first step in the course of your career. This is an exciting time to enter the health professions, and occupational therapists, assistants and students are ready to be part of the solution for the future of healthcare.

The Institute of Medicine, the health branch of the National Academy of Sciences, just released a new report in September titled "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America." You may view a great visual summary of this report at this website: http://tinyurl.com/cl3h4fh. The report highlights the importance of teamwork, communication and partnering with patients.

As OTs and OTAs, we are experts in enhancing functional independence and quality of life in patients of all ages and in all stages of life. Also, we are a client-centered profession: Before we embark on our therapy objectives, we always consult with our patients about their expectations and provide as much information as we can to help them in their decision-making processes.

Our patients’ goals and values about independence and quality of life may not match our goals and values. Therefore, clear expectations and communication are always a priority throughout the course of care. As we begin to see the rest of healthcare shifting to incorporate the patient’s needs and preferences into the medical decision-making process, we can be confident that, as OTs and OTAs, we already possess this skill.

Speaking of values, I hope you have registered and will exercise your right to vote this November. It is important, and as professional members of the healthcare community, your voice should be heard.

New students, welcome to the world of occupational therapy and healthcare; you have chosen an excellent profession. •


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Monday October 15, 2012
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