I can’t wait to share this new, awesome resource for occupational therapists that Colleen Beck, from The OT Toolbox has put together! Colleen has generously offered to be my guest blogger and write about this new OT resource below:
As clinicians, occupational therapists strive to ensure best practice strategies while using the most recent evidence-backed information in clinical practice. It can be a challenge however, to enhance professional development. There are many reasons for this difficulty, including time, effort, energy, accessibility, and cost. When OTs struggle to advance as clinicians through traditional means, collaborating with other OT professionals can be a tool for advancing as a clinician.
Below you will find creative ways for occupational therapist practitioners to enhance professional development through collaboration with other Occupational Therapist professionals.
CREATIVE WAYS FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER OTs
- Facebook Groups- Connecting with other therapists can be as easy as logging on to your favorite social media platform. Social media communities like Facebook groups are a popular type of networking area. While online groups are an easy way to network with OTs from all over the world, there are challenges to this type of collaboration strategy. Questions that are asked of one another, may not be answered in a timely manner. Additionally, it can be a challenge to weed through all of the groups and social interactions happening on a platform whose entire intent is to promote “social interaction”. For many therapists, interacting on a social network may not be acceptable on-the-job activity.
- Building groups on the job- Occasionally therapists are able to building and participate in groups on the job. A small group of therapists who meet for a weekly coffee meeting or lunch-time roundtable session can be a useful tool in enhancing professional development. When a group of coworkers meet for personal goal discussion, collaboration works as a team building strategy, too. There are downsides to this strategy, however: Many times, a therapist is the only clinician working in a setting. It can be struggle to find access to on-the-job mentor opportunities in some situations.
- Twitter Parties- There are several occupational therapy Twitter parties that occur on a regular basis using hashtags. The scheduled meet-ups occur based on a hashtag that is used each week. Many times, therapy twitter parties have a set topic and invite therapists to interact with set questions. Collaborating and interacting with OTs from all over the world is possible in these parties. There are downsides to using Twitter parties as a means for collaboration and networking. Comments can move very quickly on Twitter. Questions can be left unanswered and potential connections get lost in the thread. Additionally, the limited number of characters that can be used in a response can interfere with communication in some cases.
- Local OT Associations- Therapists may have access to local occupational therapy associations as a source for professional development through continuing education. When participating in local conferences, therapists have the potential to meet and network with other local OTs. However many therapists are limited geographically or are unable to access resources offered by local occupational therapy associations. Additionally, conferences and memberships have a cost associated with participation that can limit some professionals.
- AOTA Website- Clinical resources and online forums can be found on membership sites like AOTA. Participation in a membership site such as a AOTA’s allows for therapists to receive and be a part of small group forums dedicated to specific areas. However the cost could be an issue for many therapists. There are other challenges that interfere with membership sites as a source for connection and collaboration. It takes time to find and connect with other therapists who are interested in a collaboration connection. A one-stop-shop for locating information would be a valuable resource for clinicians interested in collaboration with others in the profession.
The challenges related to the collaboration of occupational therapy professionals is why The OT Toolbox Community was developed as a professional development resource for OTs and OTAs.
The OT Toolbox Community is a free resource for occupational therapy practitioners who struggle to find valuable resources in a timely and efficient manner. Based from The OT Toolbox website, The OT Toolbox Community promotes clinicians as a valuable “tool” for clients. By connecting and collaborating with other therapists, it is possible to exponentially enhance and promote the profession.
Seeking out and have answers to clinical questions can be a huge limit when it comes to time, energy, cost, and other issues.
The OT Toolbox Community provides a resource for therapist to connect with one another and collaborate on clinical questions. OTs and OTAs have the opportunity to ask questions related to specific their needs. Therapist can draw on clinical expertise to respond and answer other clinician’s questions. Imagine if many therapists joined together in sharing years of clinical expertise and resources and put them into one tool kit. The OT Toolbox Community provides a one-stop location for navigating all of the information out there. It’s a place to access research. It’s a place to find best practice sources. It’s a place to promote collaborate, network, and mentor with one another as therapists.
The OT Toolbox Community is looking for you. Join hundreds of other occupational therapy professionals who have joined the community and are sharing questions, answers, resources, and valuable sources of clinical information.
A few facts about The OT Toolbox Community:
- Members are able to upload links to valuable resources that they have located online. These can be shared with other members and searched for by category. Check out the Resource Center and add one of your own.
- Members are able to ask questions and answer questions. These are sorted by category to enable search queries in order to locate best practice answers in a timely manner. Stop over to the Question Forum and see if there is one that you can answer given your clinical expertise.
- Members can upload their own documents and files to share with other therapists. This is a huge asset for data collection screenings and other sources of information for therapists.
- Members can list job opportunities in the Job Area. Have a position open in your facility? Reach out to our large community of occupational therapy professionals and fill your positions fast!
- Have an activity that you love using in treatment sessions? Snap a picture with your phone and share it as a Blog Post. It doesn’t have to be a fancy blog post…just share your idea with the community members. Members can enhance the profession by sharing practice strategies that work!
- In The OT Toolbox Community, all links, resources, questions, comments, and blog posts can be shared anonymously if you like!
Stop by and join The OT Toolbox Community! It’s a thriving source of information for occupational therapist practitioners.
Colleen Beck has been an Occupational Therapist since 2000, but is currently a stay-at-home mom to four sweet kids. She blogs about ideas and tools for therapists, parents and teachers at The OT Toolbox.