Credentials Display

Vicki Mason, DHSc
Kathleen Mathieson, PhD, CIP


Background: The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction survey, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, and the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are affecting expectations of professionalism in health care. These initiatives and shifts in expectations are especially concerning for occupational therapists whose services historically have not been well understood.

Method: Eighteen supervisory and managerial occupational therapy practitioners were interviewed regarding perceptions of professionalism in occupational therapy employees. The semi-structured interview guide explored professionalism in occupational therapists’ interactions with patients and co-workers and in an employer’s organization.

Results: The participants identified three categories: patient or client-centeredness; collaboration and teamwork; and respect for the profession, department, and company.

Conclusion: Data indicate that occupational therapy employers desire therapists who can effectively explain and demonstrate the value of OT, advocate for a patient, and understand the importance of communication and respect in interactions with patients, families, and co-workers. Investigating employers’ perceptions can yield a more complete picture of the specific behaviors associated with professionalism; enhance the process and product of professional development education; and contribute to the goals of patient-centered care, quality, patient safety, and improved reimbursement under the ACA’s value-based purchasing.