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

  •  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.


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