RA-networking-COPY NYSOTA Hosts NYC Networking and Legislative EventProfessional groups and associations are always great for support, education, networking, and a myriad of resources. With New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) coming to New York City, how can you utilize this event to your professional benefit?

NYC Occupational Therapists Come Together

New York-based occupational therapists—who they are, how and where they practice—are as diverse as the city itself. With a number of academic institutions throughout the city offering professional study in occupational therapy, the same can easily be said for therapy students. Bringing these two groups of individuals together, then, can only create an environment filled with rich experiences, unique perspectives, and inventive ideas.

On December 8, 2017, NYSOTA is hosting a networking and legislative update event at the Mercy College Bronx Campus, providing an opportunity for exactly this type of mingling to occur. Open to occupational therapy students, professionals, and the general public, the event will highlight professional support organizations available to clinicians and students as well as legislative updates impacting our practice.

Traditional Networking for Modern Advances

Well-known benefits of professional networking include:

  • meeting and collaborating with peers on similar interests
  • discovering new job and learning opportunities in the market
  • sharing practice strategies and techniques to better our clinical skills

Such engagement offers support, guidance, mentorship, and a fresh perspective for clinicians at any stage of their career. Students of occupational therapy reap similar benefits through like exchange with student peers and practitioners already in the field. With organizations like the NYSOTA, the added benefit of access to legislative research and advocacy efforts only rounds out the already great benefits of networking basics. But what else can we do to garner even more from our networking experiences? An equally important question is what more we can contribute to our peers during these exchanges?

With this particular NYSOTA event presenting legislative updates it offers active practitioners a chance to discuss how current and future legislation plays out in the workplace in real time; this can inspire collaboration on developing practice strategies to help clinicians work within systems that make sound and adequate service provision difficult.

Sharing experiences with professional and/or ethical dilemmas can likewise start conversations on how to address these obstacles not only on a practical level in places we treat, but in a larger context involving OT educators and students who can bring these issues to light in other spaces that significantly shape the future of our profession. Students can especially take what they’ve learned regarding practice issues, comparatively applying that knowledge to their internship experiences and thinking proactively towards future solutions.

Altogether, collectively exploring such insights could potentially prompt such advances as a reshaping of occupational therapy curriculum to reflect current challenges in everyday practice, or the restructuring of occupational therapy programs in rehab departments for more effective provision of services and greater cohesion within a therapy team.  

Besides sharing personal experiences and insights while networking to guide personal career advancement and that of the profession as a whole, networking events (like NYSOTA’s) can also be powerful tools in developing the field of occupational therapy when featuring an open invitation to the general public. In bringing the rehab community and the community at large together we can certainly promote occupational therapy on a wider scale. However, another notable benefit of an open invitation is the opportunity to reach out to healthcare partners, consumers, and communities as a means of advocating for healthcare rights. Bringing greater awareness to how we all play a role in ensuring fairness in our healthcare system is empowering for both providers and the people whom they serve; and, it can really drive the profession of occupational therapy, and rehab therapy in general, into modern practices that can effectively respond to a changing social and economic landscape.

Finding Your Network

As one progresses through their occupational therapy career as a student to a long time practicing clinician or educator, perhaps one of the most valuable things gained is insight, and sharing it with our fellow occupational therapists may be one of the more significant things we can offer one another through our network. As we reflect on our experiences and grow from them individually, we can also use our collective insights to find solutions to practice challenges and innovate the good in our profession, together.

I encourage local New York City occupational therapists to invite not only peer participation but attendance from everyone outside of occupational therapy as NYSOTA’s networking event nears. The more we share and learn from one another, the greater our movement forward.

Event details can be found here.