Today we are honored to feature another Filipino therapist on our website. Below is an article written and submitted to us by Iris Luanne De La Calzada, OTR/L who is based in Texas, USA.
COMPANY ASSETS: HOME-GROWN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS WITH CLINICAL DOCTORATE DEGREES
By: Iris Luanne De La Calzada, OTR/L
Reviewing the literature of health professions related to workforce and market forces identified three key themes: changing demographics, cultural diversity, and a shrinking workforce whose members are not representative of the U.S. society. The changing U.S demographics predict an increasingly multicultural population that is aging, with a shrinking workforce, whose members will likely benefit from occupational therapy services (Coppard, Berthelette, Gaffney, Muir, Reitz, & Slater, 2009). The projected demand for an increased number of occupational therapists “who are more representative of the diverse global population who has a variety of skill levels” supports continuing the option to advance education to a doctorate level (Coppard, et al., 2009). The doctoral degree offers additional curricular content focusing on research skills, leadership, program and policy development, and advocacy, as well as “the doctoral experiential component with developing occupational therapists with advanced skills (those that are beyond a generalist level). There is also an increasing need for qualified occupational therapists as clinicians, faculty members, researchers, policy advocates, scientists, and innovative developers of services in urban and rural areas. However, research into the current U.S. workforce in occupational therapy reveals that the areas in dire need of education about the benefits of occupational therapy are in the healthcare facilities where the majority of the workforce is employed. A large percentage of this workforce is internationally trained therapists whose education levels are baccalaureate degrees that are deemed equivalent to an entry-level master’s degree. U.S. schools are not graduating enough occupational therapy students to address the need and this country will continue to recruit foreign-trained therapists internationally until this need is satisfied.
The key here is to educate the new recruits, especially internationally trained therapists, and new occupational therapy graduates about existing policies, the societal needs of this community, the current trends of practice, and to work together, growing professionally together while bringing in the special skills of both local and international training to advance the level of care for our communities through the creation of innovative programs and researching new possibilities of addressing our society’s needs.
Enhancing the education of working and practicing occupational therapists will better allow employers to recruit the practitioners of tomorrow who will serve our clients and profession well, ethically and professionally, and thus assist this country in addressing the severe shortage in the skilled workforce in this field.
Coppard, B., Berthelette, M., Gaffney, D., Muir, S., Reitz, S.M., and Slater, D.Y. (2009). Why Continue Two Points of Entry Education for Occupational Therapists? OT Practice. March 9, 2009 Issue. 10-14.
About the Author
Iris Luanne De La Calzada is a Staff Occupational Therapist at Valley Regional Medical Center, a 200-bed acute medical hospital in Brownsville, TX. She was recently promoted to the position of Clinical Manager of the Therapeutic Services Department. She received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Cebu Velez College, Cebu City, Philippines in 2000.
Iris is a licensed OT in the Philippines. In 2004, she immigrated to the US, where she is an OTR in the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Jersey. She has wide and varied experience in adult and pediatric physical dysfunction both in the Philippines and in the United States. Her chosen areas of specialty is in upper extremity adult physical dysfunction and occupational rehabilitation. Her occupational balance are long drives in the country, travelling, networking, blogging and shopping.