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What is in a title... OTA/OTR

Last post 06-03-2017, 5:15 AM by App Jetty. 73 replies.
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  •  06-20-2008, 6:04 PM

    Re: Help!!

    Hi J,

    This is a different topic then what has been discussed here.  I am sorry you are going through that right now, but I dont think it will effect you receiving your license, it may effect you with getting a job with having to do CORI checks.  You may want to look into that.

     Good luck!

  •  07-07-2008, 4:50 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    It is disappointing to me to read through these threads.  One might think we are two competing professions rather than one profession working toward the greatest function of our patients/clients.  I CHOSE to be a COTA turning down OT school.  I have no desire to be an OTR or to compete with OTRs.  I believe there is room for both and we both have intrinsic value to our profession and neither one should be questioned.  COTAs are Occupational Therapy Assistants; NOT Occupational Therapists Assistants.  We assist in the provision of OT.  I am not a personal assistant to anyone and I hope I am no one's right hand.  I am simply a co-worker who works diligently to be a part of a team including not only OTRs and other COTAs, but PTs, PTAs and an SLP.  We cannot treat the patients holistically without each of these pieces and if the pieces are constantly jumbled, we cannot promote wholeness and fulfillment for our patients/clients OR OURSELVES. 

    There is too much generalization on both sides.  I took a full pre-med program prior to admitting into COTA school because I was considering becoming a neurologist.  I have a minor in psychology, have studied anatomy and physiology 1 and 2 with cadavers, taken kinesiology and neuroscience courses which were part of the OTA curriculum and did so with a 4.0 and two little kids and a husband at home.  My first career was in accounting so I also have mangement training and experience.  I have been a rehab manager and I own my own business as an Accessibility Consultant.  I hold a master's level certificate in Spiritual Formation credentialling me to provide spiritual direction which I use almost daily in my work in LTC with residents and family members and sometimes even staff when a beloved resident passes.  (I do sometimes question the claim of OT to address spirituality in light of this credential)  I am currently awaiting news of a position on my state's OT Committee.  A position for which I was asked to apply by persons on our state board.  I don't say these things to boast, but only in the hope that none of us would be quite so quick to judge the educational level of either the OT or the COTA. 

     It is not that being an assistant "bothers" us.  It is disappointing when we are judged unfairly or thought of as though we could not cut it as an OTR so we settled to be COTAs and we secretly hope someday to grow up and become OTRs.  I have worked with some pretty horrendous OTRs, but I do not believe that makes all OTRs poorly trained or inconsiderate.  I also know some brilliant practitioners and I seek to learn from them and their work...OTRs and COTAs in kind.

    Please...focus on collaboration and professionalism and forego the bickering.  It is degrading to the entire profession and to the ones who participate.  Blessings for a peaceful and productive profession.

  •  07-08-2008, 5:42 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    I have worked with both excellent and less than excellent COTAs in a variety of settings.   I have also had the opportunity to be the CI for COTAs who had decided to return to school and become OTRs.  I do understand that there are COTAs out there that have gone beyond their basic instruction and excel at what they do, but that does not mean that all COTAs are doing that.  You, I imagine are one of those COTAs that have gone beyond what you learned in school and I commend you for that. 

    There is definitely a difference between the training that you receive as a COTA and what I recieved as an OTR.  That difference comes in the form of theory and how that theory relates to practice. This training prepares you to move and change with the daily needs of each individual client.  

    While I was a CI, it became very clear to me the differences in training.  While I had some students that easily related theory to practice, I had others who chose good activities but could not tell me the basis for their choice.  There is more to OT than just choosing an activity that is appropriate for that diagnosis, being a good OT means that you adopt a plan that is good for the individual patient that addresses their needs and their goals.

     SNF facilities, hmmmmm.....what can I say.  If what you say is true, then I wonder about the ethics of that situation. 

     Yous say, "I find being titled as an 'assistant' to be demeaning and insulting"  Hmmmmm.... I find it demeaning and insulting for you to say that the only difference between COTAs and OTRs is that OTRs can write evals and monthly notes.  I really don't think you understand what the additional 2 years of education entails, experience is not equivalent. If it were we would do two years of hands on clinicals instead of learning the basic concepts and foundations of our profession during those two years.  Whether you beleive it or not, I use my clinical reasoning skills based on the education I received in theory  and practice every day in my practice.  OT is more, much much more than doing activities.  I am sure that when you go back to school you will understand where I am coming from.

  •  01-23-2009, 8:32 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    Its not about understanding where each other is coming from and how much more education you have had then the other.. we are all OTs  and work under the same and we perform the same.  This IS about the title, OTAs are NOT your assistants and as you would like respect and recognition, we do as well.  I like the comments in the blog regarding having it as Certified Occupational Therapy Practitioners/Licens.  How about you??
  •  02-17-2009, 3:56 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    I too was a COTA who went on to get my OTR degree. I have to agree the "assistant" title is misleading. I don't think it is misleading within the profession, as much as it is in the community.

    Has anyone contacted AOTA to discuss this?

     

  •  02-19-2009, 12:02 AM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    Welcome to the discussion!!  OTRs with your perspective seem to be far and few between.  This debate is a little more current on the COTA thoughts- What's in a name on the Advance E-Newsletters.  It's also getting pretty heated, just to warn you.  We have been debating on possibly starting a petition with AOTA, but who knows. I think your statement hit the nail on the head- I don't think it is misleading within the profession, as much as it is in the community.  I just don't think most OTRs have come across this issue, having to spend the first part of a treatment or care plan expaining their title, and ensuring a patient and/or family they are not being short changed by the system or the facility.
  •  02-20-2009, 8:42 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    I would support a petition, absolutley!!  I dont understand... OTRs should not feel threatened by this at all, it is a title name change only, nothing else.  We know what they do and I hope the know what it is we do, so now lets pull it together and show the rest of the world what we do together.  We are NOT assistants to anyone, we are co-workers with different levels of degrees.  Support the Name Change! 
  •  03-05-2009, 10:44 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    What about those who have a bachelors degree in another field and decided to go back to school to be a OTA?  Student Loans from their undergraduate degree that didn't really allow for graduate school so they choose the become licensed to be an OTA?  What do you say about their education level in comparison to an OTR/L from years ago when it wasn't required to have a masters?  It appears that many have gone this route and seem to be quite educated not only in OT but in other fields! sad...very sad
  •  03-19-2009, 8:56 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    Here is our chance COTAs... the AOTA is planning on holding a meeting next week... one of the discussions will be to change the name of OTAs... we need your support, send in your voices and be heard.  There is a blog about it to read for more info but from what I have read, we can complete a survey to the AOTA that will be submitted and reviewed.   Lets get the recognition we deserve.

    http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB228TL3FKMQY  

    Support the name change!!

  •  03-31-2009, 10:08 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    I'm wondering what you think a COTA should be called??? I don't understand why you find the term :assistant" to be demeaning.

    It actually takes more that two years more education to become an OTR now -it takes a graduate degree. Not to mention the additional prerquisites that are required. I have huge respect for COTAs and their contribution to the profession.  IN my experience, when I ask a COTA "why" they are doing a particular treatment or modality, they cannot tell me "why". That's where the extra education and theoretical/scientific knowledge comes into play. It also why experience can't do everything.

  •  08-18-2009, 12:12 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    THen I think you need to find a new COTA to work with, because you apparantley have not had many good ones.  I could also say the same for many OTRs....  education is very important, but experience is just as important if not more.
  •  02-27-2010, 6:50 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    I was a COTA/L for 13 years before returning to school to become an OTR. having been through both programs I can tell you there is a significant difference in education. I was a "Super COTA/L". I attended a great deal of continuing education classes and seminars, I read many, many books on the different aspects of OT and I had such as hunger for more knowlegde. I would ask my OTR's questions beyond belief and wanted to shadow them during evals etc.... As a COTA/L, I was the best I could be. I got to a point where I started to get frustrated. It was apparent that I needed to return to school. I soon discovered, that I had to be flexible to learn more. I knew alot but my knowledge was not cohesive, it was splintered. In OT school, I still had so much more to learn to be a good and effective OTR. Even now, I find my self observing orthopedic surgeries in the OR and reading medical books to fully understand the different surgical approaches and procedures so I can better understand  the physiological changes of the surgical sites and understand precautions as every patient is different, and effectively communicate with nurses and the surgeons etc... understanding pharmacology and patient's reactions etc...

    My point is this; As a COTA/L, I was a technician. I was trained to treat. I was great at it. I was better than some of the OTR's. However, I did not have a well rounded understanding of the underlying theory, and approach that was customized for that patient. I did not have sufficient understanding of kinesiology, neuroscience, etc....I didn't have to. That's the difference in education with the OTR's. At the same time, I looked at the field of nnursing which called their Associate Degree Nurses, RN's and they get respect from their peers, patients, and family members. I Believe the word Assistant should be removed from the COTA's title by As a Rehab Director, I have been told by patients that they do not want to be treated by An  Assistant and that they want a real therapist. Even LPN's with a certificate and half the education of the COTA gets to be called a Nurse.

    COTA/L should be changed to Occupational Therapist Certifed versus OTR's which is Occupational Therapist Registered so it's OTR versus OTC so our counterparts can receive the respect they are entitled to.

     

  •  02-27-2010, 7:01 PM

    Re: What is in a title... OTA/OTR

    I was a COTA/L for 13 years before returning to school to become an OTR. having been through both programs I can tell you there is a significant difference in education. I was a "Super COTA/L". I attended a great deal of continuing education classes and seminars, I read many, many books on the different aspects of OT and I had such as hunger for more knowlegde. I would ask my OTR's questions beyond belief and wanted to shadow them during evals etc.... As a COTA/L, I was the best I could be. I got to a point where I started to get frustrated. It was apparent that I needed to return to school. I soon discovered, that I had to be flexible to learn more. I knew alot but my knowledge was not cohesive, it was splintered. In OT school, I still had so much more to learn to be a good and effective OTR. Even now, I find my self observing orthopedic surgeries in the OR and reading medical books to fully understand the different surgical approaches and procedures so I can better understand  the physiological changes of the surgical sites and understand precautions as every patient is different, and effectively communicate with nurses and the surgeons etc... understanding pharmacology and patient's reactions etc...

    My point is this; As a COTA/L, I was a technician. I was trained to treat. I was great at it. I was better than some of the OTR's. However, I did not have a well rounded understanding of the underlying theory, and approach that was customized for that patient. I did not have sufficient understanding of kinesiology, neuroscience, etc....I didn't have to. That's the difference in education with the OTR's. At the same time, I looked at the field of nnursing which called their Associate Degree Nurses, RN's and they get respect from their peers, patients, and family members. I Believe the word Assistant should be removed from the COTA's title As a Rehab Director, I have been told by patients that they do not want to be treated by An  Assistant and that they want a real therapist. Even LPN's with a certificate and half the education of the COTA gets to be called a Nurse.

    COTA/L should be changed to Occupational Therapist Certifed versus OTR's which is Occupational Therapist Registered so it's OTR versus OTC so our counterparts can receive the respect they are entitled to. The more education the COTA has, the better they will be able to serve their patients in offering the latest and most current proven treatment approaches.

     

  •  03-23-2010, 7:56 PM

    • Wade Frecker is not online. Last active: 03-26-2010, 6:31 AM Wade Frecker
    • Joined on 02-15-2010
    • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
    • Bayview PT
    • Stockton Springs, ME
    • 1 Posts

    Re: I must disagree with this premise

    Hello, Tim

     There is much about your post that I agree with.  As a new COTA, I have come to realize that the two year education of the OTA program does not adequately prepare new grads.  Much of the knowledge we needs comes from experience after graduation.

    As for the COTAs that you have had experience with, it sounds like bad examples of the profession and at least not the quality of the COTAs coming from the program available in Maine. 

    Then there is the use of COTAs in long-term care.  I couldn't agree more that what is expected for treatment is far from occupation-based OT.  The reasoning for that has everything to do with the way of the system--not the COTAs.  Having just started my first travel position in a long-term care facility, I am very disappointed in the expectations for productivity.  The first day, I was given no orientation--just here's you're caseload, here's a nearly useless eval lacking in detail, given 'em ther. ex. and maybe a few ADLS.  Oh, and you need to be seeing two or three patients at a time.  After the first couple days, I could see that the patients responded much better to individual treatment, even if they were doing the same ol' ther. ex.  Individual treatment meant lower productivity an thus I have been repeatedly reminded that I need to do concurrent treatments to get in 600-800 minutes of treatment in an eight hour day.  That is what interferes with a COTA's ability to provide worthwhile OT services.

    All that being said, reducing the use of COTA's will not improve the quality of therapy provided (given that the COTAs are experienced).  The reduced use of COTAs will only mean that OTRs will be expected to perform the same pathetic treatment in order to meet the billing expectations.  We have OTRs at the facility that do a limited number of treatments and they are doing the same boring ther. ex and meaningless activities as the COTAs.

     So. . . yes, new COTAs need further training (ie. experience).  I know that education regarding the holistic approach of OT was a daily event in the program I attended.  This grilling of holistic therapy is made completely meaningless in long-term care due to the nature of the system.  Trying to maintain an occupation-based approach gets you lectured on the need to increase productivity.  If this is the type of therapy that you would like to be forced to provide, limiting the use of COTAs will get you there.

    Thus concludes my rant.  Thanks for following along if you actually read this through to the end.

     

    Wade

  •  03-26-2010, 7:19 AM

    Re: I must disagree with this premise

    Hi Tim, Yep I'm a COTA responding to your post. I appreciate your extra 2yrs learning evaluation methods, really. However, not all OTRs are created equal. Its personality, integrity, and commitment that makes an OT practitioner worth their salt. 14 yrs has taught me alot. Especially enough to know the patient I am working with and what it is they need from me. When I intro myself initially, I tell them I'm from the OT dept and explain what "we" will try to accomplish. Most pts don't want to hear I'm an assistant, what does that me, the real OT is too busy? I have had OTRs evaluate without even so much as a transfer involved. The goals are so far from reality I question whether they've even seen the pt. Or maybe their just so busy and they know I'll "get it" once I've begun the process. I do "get it". The idea that its the OTRs license under fire is not I believe, taken into consideration on an every evaluation process when they eval. Only when an incident occurs. So please OTRs, do your homework. Evaluate thoroughly, put out realistic goals, handwriting counts, and give "your " COTA the respect he/she deserves.

    IsabellaRolandini COTA
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