Professor Gail Mountain
Of course, we do not work in a vaccum. In 2005 I suggested that policy and globalisation present occupational therapy with both challenges and opportunities. I expressed some frustration that our profession is enduringly reactive to national and international policy rather than being proactive, giving examples of policy concerned with population ageing and health promotion to illustrate the point. Unfortunately, I still perceive us to be largely reactive as a profession. We should be proposing policy rather than merely responding to it, being confident of the knowledge, ideas and contributions that we can made.
Finally, I reflected upon my own career at the time and what I personally was doing to tackle what I saw to be some of our challenges. I proposed that we might improve our professional confidence through research, and there is no doubt that much progress has been made with this over the years. I also identified the importance of working collaboratively with others despite the difficulties that this often presents. At the time I was
spending considerable time working alongside engineers; a very different profession, so this was a very real issue for me. Finally, I pondered upon the significance of working in a meaningful way with future and current users of services. Over the intervening years this topic has risen up both policy and societal agendas so great strides have been made in practice and research, but it is very much work in progress.
As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I am now in the final stages of my career. Now is the time to reflect upon how I, personally, have measured up to the legacy of Dr Elizabeth Casson. I think that I tried to tackle some of our challenges and in particular those involved in increasing our capacity for research and adding to the evidence base for some of our practice. However, I am left thinking that so much more might have been achieved with more time and a greater sense of urgency at times. It is now up to you all to go forward; the renewed emphasis upon clinical academic careers is a real opportunity. I do believe that the enduring messages I identified in 2005 are still relevant in 2021 and will continue to be so going forwards. At the time I implored occupational therapists to remain true to their occupational roots and I think that want to reiterate that in 2021. I am sure that this is some of what Dr Casson envisaged a century ago.