Cadillac OT versus Reality OT
A wonderful occupational therapist/educator wrote the following forum post on our OTD forum (we are getting our post-professional clinical doctorates in OT). I asked her permission to post it because it resonated. What we learn in OT school and what we discover in the real world are two different things – but we have to remember in the real world that what we learned in OT school is still a valid and burning flame within us we must nurture and allow to grow.
“I remember something that one of my professors once said: “What you get in OT school is the ‘Cadillac version of OT.” I didn’t really understand it at the time, but the idea has stuck with me and I have certainly seen it in my own career. A lot of what we learned in school is how it should be, but not necessarily how it is currently. But we needed to learn it that way if there is any hope of changing things going forward. Each of us are then charged with holding on to pieces of the “Cadillac version” that fit within our practice, working to change things in practice to fit more of that in, and adapting to what we cannot change.
I try to make my teaching fit that approach. We emphasize occupation-based practice a lot in our curriculum, and we do teach preventative care and wellness, which aren’t necessarily reimbursed or even being practiced where our students complete their fieldwork. But some of our students have been able to fit these things into the otherwise very limited medical model at their sites, and others have the desire to find practice settings in the future that will allow them to use these skills.” – J.D.