Background: Every profession is based on certain values. Professionalism refers to once ability to apply these values and demonstrate the same to others. For an individual to develop into a professional, it is necessary that the professional values are integrated into his personal value system. This usually happens in healthcare, through the experiences, interactions, work environment, challenges and dilemmas faced during once student life or clinical practice. These values are important for a professional, as they govern his decision and judgement while practicing. A profession is recognized by the public, for the values it represents or stands for. At the core of all professional values of mutual trust and the interest of the general public. When mutual trust between the professional and the client is breached, the profession loses its self-regulations, and slowly the clarity in its values becomes dim. Professionalism is expressed in a person’s behavior and attitude. Thus, efforts to develop and sustain professionalism must work on these two attributes. (Aguilar, Stupans, Scutter & King, 2012)
The perception of professional behavior often varies with the context in which it is applied. Nevertheless, researchers identified three important contexts to define professional behavior: practice skill, client -professional relationship, professional presentation. Collecting the individuals perceptive on these behaviors would help study the idea that exist among professionals on this topic. A validated Delpi protocol that was developed by Hasson, Keeney & McKenna, are used to study the perception on the individual’s behavior. (Hasson, Keeney & McKenna, 2000)
Professional attitude matters as much as professional behavior. Attitude is a metal inclination of a person, and it governs his way of thinking and living. A positive mental attitude helps a person cope up with the challenges and stress of day to day practice. Positive mental attitude in medical professionals is perceived as the ability to engage in lifelong learning; being skilled in the current technology, possessing self-management skill; participating in activities related to professional development and contribution to the profession. (Murray & Lawry, 2011)
In this study, I intend to measure professional behavior and attitude using well validated tools among occupational therapists. The study will explore perceptions in these two domains and arrive at an understanding of the extent of professionalism that is presently existing among the therapist.
An understanding about the level of professionalism is important to implementing programs that will take into consideration the prevailing deficiencies, and enable developing strategies that will enhance professionalism. This study is important as legal and ethical obligations are associated with professionalism. Professionals are defined by their behavior and attitude. There is a growing demand for professional accountability in all fields of public service, and medical profession is not exempt from this. The study will also help identify factors that hinder professional development.
The three main objectives of this study are as follows:
Explore the perception of professional behavior with respect to practice skill, client -professional relationship and professional presentation, among occupational therapist.
Explore the perception of professional attitude with respect to lifelong learning, participation in professional activities and contribution to professional development.
Aguilar, A., Stupans, I., Scutter, S., & King, S. (2012). Towards a definition of professionalism in Australian occupational therapy: Using the Delphi technique to obtain consensus on essential values and behaviours. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60(3), 206-216. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12017
Hasson, F., Keeney, S., & McKenna, H. (2000). Research guidelines for the Delphi survey technique. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 32(4), 1008-1015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.t01-1-01567.x
Murray, C., & Lawry, J. (2011). Maintenance of professional currency: Perceptions of occupational therapists. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(4), 261-269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1630.2011.00927.x