Written By: Dr. Robyn Otty, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR, FAOTA
Feeling burnt out (or due to the pandemic, ‘Zoomed’ out)? With the celebration of Occupational Therapy month, now is the perfect time to reset your professional future with reflection and plans for your professional development. With this blog, you will find ways to pivot and reshape your overall professional plan whether you are a new or seasoned practitioner.
A crucial element to professional development includes the ability to self-assess how your scope of practice and/or work environment changes with the populations you serve. What new information or literature supports your intervention and assessment approaches? What changes in the profession are emerging? How can you close the gap on today’s evidence and what you do each day as a practitioner? What specific steps or goals will you need to develop to take action and shape your professional future? These questions can help direct and plot your professional development plan over the course of five or 10 years.
Professional development is a personal journey. Depending on the results of your reflective practice, you may consider management level work as an end goal, or perhaps advanced certification as a seasoned professional. Action steps may include returning to school to acquire an additional degree or a certificate. Whichever way your road leads, the activities completed should lead to an eventual outcome. For example, the continuing education courses you select must be intentional, and most importantly, reflect your overall professional plan. Continuing education courses should not only be fulfilled due to the requirements of your particular license, rather tell a story and be reflective of your professional development plan.
As a practitioner, we can often become swamped by the daily pragmatics of clinical life. In a blink of an eye, you may find yourself losing touch or unfamiliar with trends within the profession. One solution is to become a fieldwork educator. According to the Accreditation Council on Occupational Therapy Education in order to supervise a fieldwork level II student, you must have a year of clinical experience. Another idea is to become a mentor to an entry-level practitioner. These direct experiences with new or emerging practitioners will provide you with direct access to the most up-to-date approaches and trends within the profession.
Lastly, your professional development efforts should be reflective of your individual direction. Reflection and formulating a systematic professional development plan requires time and introspection. The consideration of other factors such as personal commitments will, and most likely can influence the overall trajectory. With that being said, the professional plan can revitalize your practice and become the road map to your overall professional fulfillment.
American Occupational Therapy Association provides extensive resources to review and help support your professional plan. www.aota.org
National Board for Certification for Occupational Therapy Education has a professional tool to assist you with your professional plan. www.nbcot.org
About Dr. Robyn Otty:
Robyn Otty, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR, FAOTA has been a licensed occupational therapist for over 25 years with 15 years specifically working with the pediatric population in varied settings including home, hospital, and outpatient environments. Dr. Otty was recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association with the Fellow Award for her contribution to the profession. Dr. Otty also has been awarded the advanced practice certifications in Physical Rehabilitation since 2012.
She has lectured extensively on self-regulation strategies for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and current scholarly work related to supporting transitioning adolescents with ASD. Dr. Otty graduated with a Bachelor of Science of Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University, Master of Education from Touro University Nevada, and post-professional doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Loma Linda University.
Dr. Robyn Otty’s List of Summit Courses: