Respecting Clinicians: Can’t We All Just Get Along? – Jason M., OTR/L
No matter what setting, city, state, or therapy discipline you have worked in, I’m sure at one point or another you have been part of “clinical discrimination”. This discrimination does not apply to race, creed, etc. The disrespect I speak of stems from how therapy clinicians view each other, simply by the discipline or role that they have chosen to fill.
Let us be honest. The relationship of OT vs. PT, therapist vs. assistant, and clinician vs. aide/tech can sometimes be stressed given the specific duties that are exclusive to one role versus another. Despite this there seems to be some lay lines that naturally develop between those working in the therapy fields. Why? Some possible reasons include the tendency to overlap treatments between separate disciplines; the fact that we often share work with the same patients but for completely different goals and gains; and possibly because, in the public eye, we are all the same, but personally, we know we are very different.
Despite the reason, what I want to encourage you and others who work in therapy or supportive roles to do is respect and recognize one another for the roles we fills, rather than create a predetermined bias. Whether you went to the small, local community college, or attended the hallowed halls of a prestigious medical school, we all came out of college as professionals with the goal to help our patients. We need to recognize the special skills we are given in our respective roles and respect other clinicians for what they have to offer your patients, too. The goal of supervision of a therapist over an assistant is not to overshadow, judge, or be wary of one another. It is to create a free flowing work relationship where the evaluating therapist can assess, create, and follow plans of care knowing that a trusted clinician is carrying out treatments in the best interests of the patient. In regard, the focus for the assistant for treatments to best meet a patient’s needs with the support and guidance of the evaluating therapist.
I hope I have enlightened you to a new way to think about other clinicians, with respect to their profession. In the past I too have made the mistake of drawing lines unjustly around a discipline, but in learning from my mistake, I now view all clinicians on an even plan. When it comes down to it, we are all here to work help our patients, and that common goals make us equals.