10 Ways To Celebrate OT Month
The following post comes courtesy of our amazing OT Travel Mentor: Kayla Layner. You can keep in touch with Kayla through her blog!
April is Occupational Therapy Month! It is a perfect time to celebrate what it means to be an OT, to raise awareness for the profession, to show appreciation, and also grow as a clinician. Occupational Therapy practitioners are a vital part of the healthcare team whose hard work and dedication should not go unnoticed. Below you can find a list of easy ways to celebrate OT month. By no means is it an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will help you while you plan your own celebration!
1. Show Appreciation
This one really goes out to the rest of the rehab team as well as OTs. Life in any healthcare field can be stressful and at times we can become complacent and experience signs of burn out. There is nothing quite like having someone acknowledge the hard work that you have been doing by a small sign of appreciation. Give your OTs and COTAs a thank you card, order a cake, give them a gift. It really does not matter how much money you spend or what you do, I am positive that anything will be appreciated!
2. Throw A Party!
I suppose this one could definitely be addressed under #1 but felt as though it should have its own number! Pick a theme, play a game, but most importantly RELAX! In college we used to have something we liked to call “Pinterest Parties”. We would each make and bring a dish that we had pinned (that we likely would never make otherwise) then share our yummy new recipes! It was a lot of fun! We all know too well how easy it is to get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle that we forget to interact with one another on a personal level. Get together in an interruption-free environment, have a little fun, and celebrate being and working with OTs!
Without a doubt in my mind, the majority of the population have absolutely no clue what occupational therapy is, the training necessary to become OTs/COTAs, and cannot give you one single reason as to why it is important! Have an in-service for other disciplines within the facility you work in so they have a better understanding of how you help others to achieve a higher quality of life! Not only will this likely increase your referrals (and make them more accurate), but it will also give the interdisciplinary team a better understanding of your goals when working with patients.
4. Community Outreach
Because of the lack of awareness discussed previously, there are so many people who would benefit from hearing from OTs/COTAs. Go to high school career fairs to educate students on job opportunities that they will not hear about otherwise. Volunteer to teach a class, take a fieldwork student, connect with a local college, participate in a health or job fair, just get involved!
5. Continuing Education
Attend a continuing education course to increase the skills in your therapy toolbox! One of the most wonderful characteristics of this profession, in my opinion, is the simple fact that you will never stop learning! Healthcare is rapidly changing and it is important we keep up with the times by educating ourselves as well. After the course, share your new skills with your team! It is a great way to give back and for continued growth.
6. Share Success
Stories Talk with your clients. Ask them how OT has changed their lives and helped them live life to the fullest! This can really give outsiders a great prospective on the importance of our profession, the lives we touch, and the immense progress that can be made through working with OTs! If you are working with the pediatric population you could display projects that the children have been working on and describe the skills needed to complete them! OTs are the queens and kings of activity analysis so it comes easy to us, the majority of individuals do not realize the vast number of skills needed to complete an activity!
7. OT Games
This would be great for those of you with kiddos! Have an ADL (Activities of Daily Living) race or relay, complete tasks using reachers or adaptive equipment, have a wheelchair obstacle course, complete functional assessments, anything OT! A great, fun way to educate and show appreciation for occupational therapy!
8. Have a Fundraiser
OT Month is a great opportunity to raise funds necessary for the little things our companies cannot afford. This could be as simple as getting groceries for your clients to complete a kitchen activity by preparing a meal or buying supplies to complete a behavior rewards program! OR you can use your profits to donate to your favorite charity! Without a doubt, we are all very passionate people with abnormally large hearts, this is the perfect time to give back to causes that are near and dear to us!
9. Create New Apparel
Everyone loves a good t-shirt! OT month presents an awesome reason to have a design contest for a new one! Be creative and have fun with it! Personally, I loved my OT apparel! It is great to wear to work (if dress code is appropriate) and allows the team to really stand out.
10. Social Media
I did not put these in any specific order, however this one is quite simple! Share occupational therapy with your friends and family! Tell everyone why you love your job and what you are passionate about. Share future goals you would like to achieve in your profession so you can keep yourself accountable! Make a fun YouTube video describing what OT is and why it is important!
How do you plan on celebrating OT month? Use the hastag #ProudtobeOT & #advancedmedical to share with us! OT’s are creative in nature so we absolutely cannot wait to see what you come up with! Happy OT Month to all of our past, present, and future travelers!