Celebrating World OT Day
Coined as the can-do professionals, Occupational Therapists are revolutionising and changing the lives of people around the world, by offering practical support to aid recovery, and empowering people to overcome personal obstacles which prevent them from engaging in meaningful occupations – the day-to-day activities which make them come alive.
World Occupational Therapy Day, spearheaded by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), takes place on the 27th October 2017, and is celebrated globally. This year’s theme is Inform, Inspire and Influence. I may be a little bias, as a budding Occupational Therapy student, but this article sets out why I truly believe Occupational Therapists really do inform, inspire and influence.
To give or impart knowledge of a fact or circumstance;
To supply (oneself) with knowlegde of a matter or subject;
To give evident substance, character, or distinction to; pervade or permeate with minafest effect;
To animate or inspire.
Yes – Occupational Therapists inform and teach individuals about mobility aids and adaptations, help with rehabilitative exercises, offer alternative ways of thinking, but more than reeling off instructions and rules, they allow individuals to be both the expert of their journey, and the most significant agent of change in their lives. Unlike, any other health professional, they empower and equip individuals to take ownership, guiding their own life story. That’s because Occupational Therapists adopt a holistic approach, making them great at informing individuals how different aspects of their lives may affect their occupational performance (the way we do things), because they see the whole picture – the physical, mental and social components of a person’s life.
To fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence;
To produce or arouse;
To fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought;
To influence or impel;
To communicate or suggest;
To guide or control;
I am constantly inspired by the creative and innovative approaches within Occupational Therapy. Occupational Therapists are not impairment or illness focused, they are YOU-focused. They help individuals achieve the things that matter to them.
Occupational Therapists are also not just found in hospital wards, in green trousers and tunics. They are diverse and dynamic. There are very few professions who will be working with disabled war veterans, victims of domestic abuse, or helping a child improve their confidence in a school setting. Also, because of the profession’s strong links with America, Canada, Australia to name a few, many Occupational Therapists find themselves venturing off, even to unheard of tropical countries to make a difference, because where there is a need – there is an OT! Occupational Therapy is for the curious minded; individuals who love finding out about how others work, how they think, why they do things in certain ways. No day is really the same for an OT!
to exercise influence on; affect; sway:
to move or impel (a person) to some action:
Occupational Therapists are taking more ground and having more influence within health and social care systems. The NHS and social care is facing some critical challeges: our ageing population, our mental health crisis, shortage of beds and longer waiting times. They may only be a tiny percentage of the health and care workforce (2%), yet they’re responding to 40% of social care referrals! They are significantly reducing the strain on our NHS and saving the tax payer billions, by: reducing inpatient admission to A & E, stopping revolving door patients in mental health units and providing practical long term solutions for people in need.
I am incredibly proud to be working towards an incredibly rewarding profession, and as an ambassador for a movement which is dramatically changing the lives of people.
To coincide with World OT Day, four current OT students are launching the first Occupational Therapy society at the University of Derby. Occupational Therapy has had a rich heritage and history at the university – it’s been taught at the university for many years, yet no society has ever existed! Based on the values of being fun, inclusive, respectful, supportive and trustworthy, the society will offer lots of fun and educational events for OT and non-OT students.