A Renewed Sense of Pride and Excitement in Hand Therapy
As an occupational therapist who is fairly new to hand therapy, I didn’t know what to expect going into my first ASHT Annual Meeting. Would I feel left out with all the CHTs about? Would the info be too advanced for me? My worries quickly vanished, and I walked away from the weekend feeling energized and excited about my chosen profession.
At first, I was intimidated at the aspect of being a non-CHT in a convention of hand therapists, but everyone I spoke with provided advice and encouragement. Networking and collaboration were big components of the meeting and I am glad to say I made a few new friends. (Caroline Stegink-Jansen would say I widened my hand therapy circle!). It was refreshing to have such an experienced and supportive group of professionals around! The ASHT Annual Meeting is an excellent experience for any hand therapist, regardless of skill level, and I’m truly fortunate to have attended.
ASHT did a fantastic job hosting informative lectures. Personally, the highlight of the weekend was Dr. Donald Sammut’s in depth look at the intrinsics of the hand. Using his own illustrations, he explained the intricate dance the intrinsics play in hand motion. The way he intertwined art and anatomy together was beautiful and fascinating. Speaking of intrinsics, Judy Colditz presented the therapist’s view and management of intrinsic tightness. Thorough and practical, her lecture provided me with information that I was able to use on Monday morning back at the clinic. Not only were there educational sessions that made me wish I could have been in two places at once, but inspirational talks from some of hand therapy’s leaders. ASHT President (now Immediate Past President) Barbara Winthrop passionately emphasized why advocacy matters in our profession, and the power one person has to make a difference. She exemplified the theme of the meeting: leading the way.
Overall, I was glad I attended the meeting. Not only did I leave with a few tape measures in my bag (because who can have too many tape measures?), but a renewed sense of pride and excitement in hand therapy. I’m looking forward to the meeting next year!
Bobby Blair, OTR/L, ASHT member and attendee of the ASHT 39th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC