Throughout the courses in the online Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program, there were many times I had the thought that I should be sharing the valuable knowledge I was gaining with my co-workers in homecare. My knowledge and confidence grew with each course. This led me to want to apply to join the OT practice committee where I work. Applying and being accepted to the OT practice committee provided a place for me to disseminate my new knowledge and help make positive change to implement best practices. My summer applied leadership experience (ALE) provided a starting point for me to actively create change at my work.
In considering what I wanted to do for my ALE I knew I wanted to support the occupational therapists (OTs) where I work, in the homecare setting. The independent nature of working in homecare does not provide many opportunities to collaborate with other OTs. I formulated the idea to create a closed online forum where OTs could go for informational resources, support, and to share evidence-based practice research. As an OT in homecare, I have always wanted a better way of collaborating with other OTs. The creation of the OT forum provides a place for OTs to support, collaborate, and keep current on best practices. My company allowed me to design this forum on the business’ shared Google Drive. This forum is a place where information can continue to be updated and shared. In addition to creating the forum, being a part of the OT practice committee provided me with the opportunity to sustain my ALE project past the duration of the ALE summer course.
I am excited and grateful that my decision to pursue my OTD online has increased my confidence and desire to take on leadership roles to further the profession in the homecare setting. The ALE course gave me the opening to actively create supportive and growing opportunities for the OTs where I work.
By: Erica Arndt, OTD candidate, OTR/L