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Transitioning to Academia: From OTA Practitioner to OTA Professor

Transitioning to Academia: From OTA Practitioner to OTA Professor
Krysta Rives, MBA, COTA/L, CKTP
November 19, 2019

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Editor’s note: This text-based course is a transcript of the webinar, Hydroneurolysis: A Non-Invasive Carpal Tunnel Release and Therapeutic Recovery, presented by Krysta Rives, MBA, COTA/L, CKTP.Learning OutcomesAfter this course, participants will be able to identify the degree requirements for an OTA to work in an academic setting.After this course, participants will be able to distinguish between ACOTE standards A, B, and C with relevance to OTA programs.After this course, participants will be able to identify a minimum of 3 ways to begin the transition from practitioner to professor through teaching, leadership, and advocacy.IntroductionThank you so much. Thank you all for being here with me today. I really appreciate it, and I'm happy to be back here presenting on a topic that I hope you all find beneficial. I've been wanting to do something specific to OTA for a while now, and just kind of expand on the options that we have for continuing education that's geared towards the assistant level. So here it is. So I'm gonna start off by just telling you a little story about how I went from an OTA practitioner to an OTA professor and program director in less than six years. So becoming an OTA was really a major accomplishment for me, I'm a first generation college graduate, a minority, and a little bit of an underdog in my story. So I dropped out of high school when I was a teenager to help my mom care for my six younger siblings, and I ended up getting a GED. And if it had not been for my community college's OTA program, I could've very easily been another statistic. I was also a teen mom, and I didn't have a lot of resources available to me. But I just fell in love with the profession like so many of you have as well. And about a year after graduating the rural facility that I worked for went through a major census drop and I was out of options for work. I knew that being an OTA was not only something that I absolutely loved doing, but it was also my ticket to staying out of poverty and providing for my son as a single mom. I'd heard about travel therapy and so I made the leap. I sold just about everything I owned, and my son and I went on this journey together. And this is where my passion for education really took off, because traveling opened my eyes to all of the practice areas, including management and education, that an OTA can work in. So I went back to school, I earned my bachelor's degree in health care management, and I earned my MBA in health care management as well. I started to get involved in education here at occupationaltherapy.com when I put on my first CEU. and let me tell you, I have come a long way from that presentation, but we all have to start someplace, right? But, you know, that presentation really gave me the push to focus my energy on becoming a teacher. I knew that I wanted to continue sharing information. I've always had a passion for research, and I love sharing things that I find out or things that I read with my colleagues. I'm also a certified kinesio tape practitioner, and so I used to make these kinesio taping videos for my OT and PT friends, just demonstrating how to tape for different conditions that they were interested in. I just love to teach, and I wanted to find a way to do it full-time. So, shortly after presenting I saw a faculty position open at the school that I graduated from, and I was like, hey, why not apply and just see what happens? I was really surprised and excited to move through the interview process and been offered the position as a full-time faculty member in the OTA program that I had just been in a few years ago. And as wonderful as it was, this was only a temporary appointment, and after a year, I would've needed to move on. So I did, and I went on to teach at two more institutions before finding my current home as a founding program director at a new OT program. But during this time I recognized the need for more OTA-level educators in this practice area. And so my intent behind this presentation is to spark interest from OTAs and provide sort of a how-to guide for those of you who are interested in giving back as formal educators. All right, let's run through these learning outcomes quickly. So after this presentation, you'll be able to identify the degree requirements for an OTA to work in an academic setting. You'll be able to distinguish between ACOTE standards A, B, and C with relevance to OTA programs. And you'll be able to identify a minimum of three ways to begin to transition from practitioner to professor through teaching, leadership, and advocacy. All right, so let's take a look at our accredited programs. Now, this information is taken directly from the most recent academic program's annual data report of 2017 through 2018. These reports come out annually, and they can be a really great resource for you. So, last reported, there are 20 accredited OTD programs, 162 OT master's, and 215 OTA programs nationwide. So, as you can see, all levels are continuing to grow in order to meet the needs of the consumer. It is a misconception that all geographical areas are oversaturated. Now, certainly there are some, there's quite a few, but market research does show that there are areas such as California and Illinois with patients on waiting lists, specifically in home care and in rural area SNFs because there just aren't enough practitioners in those areas that are available to treat. So this isn't a subject that I'm gonna debate back and forth, but I definitely encourage you to investigate for yourselves and understand that OT is still a...

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krysta rives

Krysta Rives, MBA, COTA/L, CKTP

Krysta has been an Occupational Therapy Assistant since 2013, practicing primarily in Pennsylvania and New York. Through travel therapy opportunities she was able to hone her skill set in creating and implementing therapeutic interventions across the lifespan. Krysta gained experience in both clinical and management roles before finding her passion in the practice area of academic education.

Krysta is now employed as Founding OTA Program Director and Assistant Professor, she serves at the national level on the AOTA Commission on Practice Committee which works to promote, guide and serve as a resource for best practice standards in the profession. At the state level she serves on the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association as the OTA Representative at Large working to identify and communicate the interests of OTA members to the board of directors and promote OTA member engagement.

Krysta spends a great deal of time volunteering at women and children's shelters and utilizing her OT skill set to educate OTA students on relationship abuse, trauma informed care and the clinician's role in recovery. Krysta is the recipient of the 2019 OTA award of recognition by the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association for her outreach. She also develops and presents continuing education courses for occupational therapy practitioners.



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