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The Heart- Mind- and Soul of Professionalism in Occupational Therapy. Wendy Wood Essay (Critical Writing)

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Table of Contents
Introduction
Development of Professionalism
Responsibility within the Field of Occupational Therapy
Reference

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Introduction

In her article “The Heart, Mind and Soul of Professionalism in Occupational Therapy”, Wendy Wood presents the notion that one of the current concerns in OT (Occupational Therapy) is the endemic proliferation of the disheartened within the profession resulting in a reduction of the number of applicants to OT courses, the disheartening views of current OT practitioners and a distinct lack of overall conviction within the profession (Wood, 2004). As Wood notes, this “heartsickness” is not caused by external but rather internal forces within the profession wherein through her own experiences she realized that when her own conviction to OT was tested her heartsickness was actually caused by practicing her chosen profession. Based on her experiences she realized one of the potential problems an OT practitioner may run into was to be disconnected from the larger scholarly conversations that were moving the field forward. This resulted in her adopting practices based on duplication and selective education with the immediacy of her current type of job in mind. Such practices speak volumes of a degree of unprofessionalism within the field of OT which Wood states is an endemic trend that has induced the spread of heartsickness within the profession

Development of Professionalism

It is based on this that Wood advocates the creation of a distinct mindset within the field wherein a certain degree of professionalism and adherence to set of standards is done in order to prevent the endemic proliferation of heartsickness. As Wood explains those engaged in the practice of OT who are the least prone to conditions of heartsickness are those who have embraced “the mind of professionalism” and as a result have developed a sense of empowerment and inspiration (Wood, 2004). The concept of professionalism can actually be considered a balance between the “heart, mind and soul of professionalism” wherein an individual balances such aspects into a whole so as to feel inspired, connected and care for one’s patients and profession. A balance between the heart and mind creates an individual that levies established professional practices with a caring heart, when such a balance is connected to the concept of the soul of professionalism which connects individuals to the greater whole of the profession through collegiality and professional unity these combined factors in effect help to prevent an OT practitioner from developing heartsickness and find a true passion for what they do.

Responsibility within the Field of Occupational Therapy

Wood explains that each occupational therapist has an inherent fiduciary responsibility to contribute to the body of knowledge within the field of OT. This, as she explains, acts as a method of inoculation in that through contribution which results in societal recognition this in effect positions an occupational therapist as an indispensable health professional within a community (Wood, 2004). While Wood may not outright say it, it is actually implied that another aspect of the disheartedness of OT practitioners is the sense that they lack societal appreciation for the services they render. While OT provides emotional and psychological support for patients very rarely are OT practitioners praised for their actions. This lack of appreciation, as implied in certain parts of the article of Wood, contributes to the disheartening effect for various members of the profession. In order to resolve this, Wood advocates the use of the soul of professionalism in order to enable OT practitioners to contribute to a greater whole than themselves, to look beyond their self-contained prisons and in effect realize that what they do and what they contribute to not only helps the field of OT gain recognition but actually has the potential to help thousands of patients in the future.

Reference

Wood, W. (2004). The heart, mind and soul of professionalism in occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(3), 249-256.

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