Assignment: Technical Profession

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Assignment: Technical Profession

Assignment: Technical Profession

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Issues in Education

I. Faculty characteristics and responsibilities. Faculty are operating autonomously with minimal involvement with university missions, which undermines efforts to continue association with these institutions. Faculty generally give up patient treatment and remove themselves from the practice of occupational therapy. Faculty engage in repetitive and time-consuming requirements for accreditation that deprive faculty of valuable

time, some of which might be spent in research, scholarly activities and other endeavors, expected of all university faculty members.

II. Faculty shortage. There is a serious shortage of qualified faculty members at every academic level. The Association efforts and resources are focused on baccalaureate and associate degree entry-level preparation and exclude resources to clinical specialization and graduate education.

III. Multiple entry routes leading to certification as an OTR. Our multiple entry points serve to support the thesis that occupational therapy is a semi-profession or a technical profession. The value of our educational preparation is negated by multiple entry routes that do not rely upon a liberal arts base. “The processes of acquiring and assuming the knowledge . . . unique to occupational therapy, are seldom the priorities of our educational programs, . . . .”

IV. Lack of research. “The lack of research related to hypotheses supporting our theoretical foundations, treatment modalities, and modes of intervention seriously impedes all aspects of education and practice.”

V. External influences and forces. “Actions and decisions made by external agencies con tinue to have a negative influence and impact on our development.” Examples cited are the limitation of funding of health programs, especially at the post-baccalaureate level, and the control that the American Medical Association has over our education programs.

VI. AOTA member readiness to decide on semiprofessional or professional status. The committee reported that members do not focus in either education or practice upon those functions and behaviors that are traditionally identified with the status of a profession. The authors state the following behaviors are necessary by the membership to reach professional status. 1. Willingness and responsibility for diagnosing problems; 2. Providing service without referral from physician; 3. Working without physician supervision or members of other disciplines; 4. Conducting one’s own professional assessment; 5. Accepting the necessity for research to substantiate or refute the principles upon which treatment is based (9). This completes the description of the Ad Hoc Committee on Education Report. Thus we have documentation of the pervasiveness of the second idea:

The practitioner is ignoring his or her responsibilities and compromising the field of occupational therapy by collaborating with other professionals and not demonstrating occupational therapy as an independent health profession.

I have now described those six I think are the main characters in the health system and described in depth my perception of the character of occupational therapy. From these descriptions, I perceive that the entire system is in conflict. Each character has its own values, knowledge, structure, and personality. This causes the system, which should be a team of specialists organizing to develop a network of interac-


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