Jim Hinojosa; Personal Strategic Plan Development: Getting Ready for Changes in Our Professional and Personal Lives. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(3):e34–e38. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.002360
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
Daily challenges for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are changing work environments and the desire to address the needs of their clients. This article highlights the need for occupational therapy practitioners to create personal strategic plans to prepare for their rapidly changing futures. Although AOTA’s Centennial Vision responds to the profession's future, practitioners must focus on their personal and professional roles and responsibilities. They also must engage in individual strategic planning. Sound individual strategic planning provides a means for practitioners to merge their fantasized views of occupational therapy with the reality of today's practice.
Personal development actions. These strategies should specifically address how we can more effectively apply the principles of person centeredness in dealing with clients, colleagues, and friends; we must identify how to respect the perspectives of others and set priorities with careful consideration of everyone involved. We could plan to arrange our daily activities so that we have more time to talk to people and have real face-to-face conversations. When working with clients, we might focus more on quality of life and each client’s dreams, aspirations, and desires. We could promote practices that give clients more control over their life decisions.
Career actions. We should plan to expand our roles and responsibilities by enhancing our competence or promoting our reputation in our position. We might plan to pursue further education. We might volunteer to serve on a community board. If we own a private practice, we could develop a plan to assess the health needs of our community to ensure that we are serving the needs of our clients. We might also plan to pursue advanced certification to support our practice skills. When developing career actions, we should consider our personal career opportunities and focus on the strengths we have and those we can augment to advance our professional lives.
Actions to promote practice. We advance our professional practice when we disseminate knowledge about the important contributions of occupational therapy. Thus, actions focusing on promoting our professional practice could include a continuum of activities ranging from presenting at one’s institution, to lecturing on a health issue in a community center (e.g., fall prevention, living with arthritis), to lecturing at a university program. We might also design a writing plan to publish an article in the local newspaper or in a professional journal.
Actions to address technology. Today, all plans must include decisions on how to address rapid technological advances. We should decide what technological and computer skills we need to learn, strategically selecting technologies to help us develop effective intervention plans for clients and manage our day-to-day administrative and communication responsibilities.
Review strategies. Finally, no plan is complete without specific strategies to address future changes in our planning. We must explicitly state how we will review our progress and our planning needs. We must also design specific plans for how we will continue to be informed about changes in our practice areas and about transformations in health care and education policies that will influence our professional lives.
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