Impress your Occupational Therapy Professors…

I’m writing an article for AOTA’s OT Student Pulse on the “Top Ten Ways to Impress Your Occupational Therapy Professors,” loosely based on this post that I wrote eight! years ago. I asked my OT Facebook friends, especially the OT instructors, to contribute their own thoughts. Since I can’t incorporate them all into the upcoming article, I added them here.

“…My first focus with students, and any novice or expert occupational therapist is not the knowledge, as though that is important, I have always said that one of the most important things in occupational therapy is the ability to develop rapport with the client (client in the broad sense- patient; family; system, etc.)…. as this is imperative for any other part of the occupational therapy process to work. – K.H.

“…Having had numerous relatives and me do OT and PT, .I’d like to say That K.H.’s post is dead on and should be (as Ford used to say) Job Number One for all therapists.” – J.S., Client/Caregiver

“I have students ask me all the time—“how can I be successful on fieldwork as an OT?”. I pause and say… I can teach you balance scales, manual muscle testing, G codes, vision testing, what glioblastomas are, how to identify cognitive issues vs psych issues, how to transfer people safely and how to document… What I can’t teach you is how to care, how to really see your patients, how to value each person and what they can teach you, or that you can learn from EVERY interaction ( good or bad). I cannot teach you to show up on time or early, tuck in your shirt, wear a clean shirt, brush your teeth, and to show up prepared to do your very best each day. You have to want this, you have to want this because there are people who cannot do for themselves and who need a voice. Caring— I cannot teach you to care….. if you care— there is no limit to the goodness one can do!” – S.S.

“Be one of the first to ask a question that shows you’ve done the required reading (reference the page #) and that you truly would appreciate more information. (It helps to clarify your level of understanding for the professor and probably helps at least two other students who are more hesitant to attempt this risky behavior.) Bonus points if you ask a question based on an AJOT article related to that or previous day’s assigned reading.” – L.F.

“…Always assume that your educators have the best intentions in the decisions they make” – and that these decisions are made to help shape you (and your peers) to become occupation-centred, flexible, reflexive, adaptable occupational therapists, who will be our future colleagues… and the future leaders of our profession! Whether you believe this to be true or not – coming from this standpoint when you open a discussion, ask a question or even query a grade means that you come from a position of respect and it will most likely then be responded to with respect.” – A.H.

“Demonstrate that you have an open mind and are willing to see things from different perspectives.

Get involved in your online community of practice …and not just for putting your assignments questions online and expecting someone to give you the answer. Hint. There isn’t usually one answer , it’s about showing you’ve thought about it, read around and made a clinically reasoned decision.

When reflecting. Be honest, and please reflect with purpose, to learn something.” – K.S.


“This was a good set of “ways to impress.” As I move into only my 6th year of teaching OTA students, I think it is important for students to learn to be persuasive — build a rational and compelling case for course of action when advocating for themsel
ves or others. I prefer students to be slightly skeptical about the information that they are learning yet are polite about questioning the status quo of any particular system. I hope to encourage the creation of solutions, not only the identification of problems….”- B.C.

Jul 11, 2015 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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