EXPLORING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS’ PERCEPTION OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY IN THE AREA OF HAND THERAPY (UK PERSPECTIVE
Background information: The role of a hand therapist is made up of the occupational therapy and physiotherapy profession (BAHT 2017). Yet due to a dominating model of practice, influencing service factors and an uncertain professional identity, it has resulted in occupational therapists informing their practice with service demands and common practice as opposed to with their own paradigm and professions values. Evidence-based research in the last decade has generated findings demonstrating that inclusion of occupation-focused practice has been shown to increase the outcome of patients’ hand injuries (Guzelkucuk et al. 2007; Che Daud et al. 2015). Yet knowing this information, it has been reported that practice has not changed to include occupation-based assessment and intervention (Burley et al. 2018). Aim: The aim of this study is to explore occupational therapists’ perceptions of their professional identity in the area of hand therapy (UK context). Methods: Potential participants for this study are occupational therapists working in a hand therapy service in the United Kingdom. 10-20 participants will be recruited from the British Association of Hand therapists, selected based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. The data will be collected by means of face-to-face, semi-structured style interviews. On the occasion this is not viable, the researcher will interview participant’s online (virtual interviews). Once the data has been analysed, the researcher will return to the participants with main findings/themes to verify the responses/ findings. Expected outcomes: Research will aim to provide the literature with an insight into how occupational therapists perceive their professional identity. In becoming aware of recent evidence-based research involving occupation-based practice, occupational therapists can build a secure professional identity as they use the power of occupation to provide evidence-based effective care to hand therapy patients, improving the outcome of their hand injury.