In this months blog I would like to make a plea to all those OT’s who say, ‘OT it’s just common sense.’, and ‘OT its obvious.’ etc.
We are all slightly guilty of this at some point I am sure. If you have never said or thought any of the above statements, well done you. You can stop reading here.
For the rest of us, firstly it’s obviously not true and secondly if it’s just common sense why did you need to take three years, and gain a degree, diploma or a Masters? Did you waste your time and money? I thought not, so don’t let anyone else think you did.
In this era of austerity and cut backs, we as a profession need to all stand together. We need to be out and proud about Occupational Therapy, not going around saying it’s obvious or common sense. This is not great marketing and enough professionals and non professionals say this already, without us confirming it. How many times have you heard, ‘Oh we don’t need an OT the nurse/physio/support worker etc does OT .’
We all need to take responsibility where ever we work to market the profession positively and NEVER talk our skills, abilities or any other area of the profession down.
What we all know through experience is that everyone can’t do OT, or we would not see staff trying to get someone with a tremor to build a ship with tiny matchsticks, so any shred of confidence and self esteem disappears. We would not see staff sending out questionnaires to clients who can’t read and so all the clients phone in for 1:1 help.
In terms of cost benefit analysis OT’s save services money.
Take the example of a health professional referring someone for a bladder operation who with a piece of Velcro on his trousers and a kettle tipper is not incontinent after all, but struggling with hand function due to OA, so fewer drinks had led to urinary tract infection and an inability to undo the button on his trousers had led to a few accidents. It would be great if you could send in anecdotes of your own, it would help to illustrate the monetary value of occupational therapy.
I know we are all person centred etc etc but unfortunately accountants are not and only think literally with £ signs in their eyes. Without compromising any of our core skills as a therapist we need to start to speak the accountant’s language.
As occupational therapists we need to be able to clearly articulate our core skills, those skills should be applicable to every clinical area in which we work, they should be transparent and transferable. There will be bolt on additional skills as there is in any specialism, but let’s forget about the specialism’s for the moment, think about core skills.
So a few question, all good for supervision, and HCPC evidence, see previous blogs....
What are your core skills, think through the OT process, and like the example given above how do they enable your client/patient/service user so that savings can be made?
Do you currently market occupational therapy?
If not why not, and if you do what hints and tips could you share?
I would love to hear from you, and find out what your issues are, so please get in touch.
Speak soon Margaret
Margaret Spencer MA Consultant Occupational Therapist & Senior Lecturer LinkedIn Profile
My blogs are a culmination of over thirty years experience working in Occupational Therapy, including material from my books and conference presentations.
They answer the real queries and questions that 100's of undergraduate and post graduate students, qualified OT's and managers, that I have had the privilege to work with and supervise continue to asked me.