100 Years of OT

Kim McVeigh
Posted by Kim McVeigh MBA, OTR/L, CHT on 04/05/2017

Greetings fellow hand therapists,

I would like to take a moment to blog about occupational therapy reaching its 100-year anniversary and some of the benefits and support provided by AOTA. Not that I’m competitive, but as a fun fact for our amazing physical therapy colleagues out there, I am proud to say (this is a first) that occupational therapy is older! Physical therapy was established in 1921, and we look forward to celebrating your 100th birthday with our 104th birthday in the near future!

Let’s be honest, as a hand therapist, I threw all of my efforts into ASHT for the last 15+ years and have spent little time advocating and supporting my parent organization, AOTA. I did re-join AOTA about 8-10 years ago as my guilt got the better of me, knowing they fight many of our legislative and regulatory battles. My re-joining of AOTA happened to coincide with my decision to progress toward leadership within ASHT and the organization I work for, Mayo Clinic.

I had the great fortune to visit AOTA’s headquarters in Bethesda, MD at the end of January 2017 for a leadership development program for middle managers. The program was inspirational and motivating to say the least. To apply, I had to submit an application in the fall, along with a letter of intent, my CV and a letter of recommendation. AOTA accepted 16 OT leaders across the country to attend, and paid all of our travel fees to participate. AOTA has set a strategic initiative to develop more OT leaders, and the organization has developed a formal pathway and recruiting method to achieve that goal through this program, as well as an emerging leaders program. Ginny Stoffel, past AOTA president, has the vision of “Everyone a Leader,” which is what started this program and a phrase I take with me to many discussions I have with clinical colleagues, students and fellow leaders in the field of rehabilitation.

I came home from this program with not only a new group of mentors and colleagues, but also my top three values in life, my personal mission statement and personal vision statement, which I have written in my new office. I am now more intentional in my leadership, my decision making, my mentorship of others and my advocacy for physical therapy, occupational therapy and hand therapy (saving the best for last!).

The AOTA leadership program improved my ability to articulate my vision for the importance of what we do as rehab professionals through interviews the two weeks after I returned. I truly believe the skills I acquired through AOTA’s leadership development program provided me with a unique edge for a competitive job application process. On February 14th, 2017, after a six-month, grueling (10) interview process, I accepted the offer of Director of Rehabilitation for Mayo Clinic Florida.

Thank you to AOTA and the 100-year profession of occupational therapy that have provided me with the foundation to excel in both hand therapy and leadership.

AOTA headquarters in Bethesda, MA; Kim McVeigh with current and past AOTA presidents (Sean Phipps, Amy Lamb, Ginny Stoeffel); AOTA 2017 leadership development group