Liveblogging at the student conclave

This weekend I am attending the AOTA/NBCOT Student Conclave and was excited to see hundreds of students in attendance! I offered some welcoming remarks to the attendees prior to Dr. Clarke's keynote presentation last night.

This morning Paul Grace, the CEO of NBCOT, offered an excellent presentation on 'Steps Toward Your Essential Credential.' Paul gave students many tips on how to prepare for taking the certification examination, including information on making sure that all college or university requirements are met, how to set up an account with NBCOT, review of examination security, and a call to participate in NBCOT examination development after students achieve their certification. He also encouraged all students to participate on the NBCOT Facebook page. Each week sample exam questions are posted and students engage in conversation using evidence-based practice on how to arrive at the best answer.

As I type, there are two separate sessions for OTR and COTA candidates on "Realities and Myths of the OTR/COTA Examinations." These extremely popular sessions go through critical information about the examinations and are giving students helpful tips on what to expect on the exam.

Later today there are many interesting choices from concurrent sessions on topics ranging from clinical practice specialty areas in pediatrics, work and industry, productive aging, mental health, and rehabilitation. Other sessions focus on OT practice in the Army, transitioning from student to practitioner, how to start your own private practice, health care reform, and many others!

If you weren't able to attend the meeting this year I hope you will consider next year's conclave! It is an excellent kick-start to your professional career as an OTR or COTA!

Comments

aweeks08 said…
I think it is great that OT's have the opportunity to attend conferences such as this. I know at Utica College we are very prepared as OT students to take our certification exam. Our teachers take the curriculum very serious, and our quizzes are even in the exam "language." The school is even paying the graduating class's cost to take the prep course for the exam. Our professors have even mentioned about the facebook question that is posted. I often wish that our curriculum would require, or recommend, that the students are taken to a conference. It would be a great experience, good to meet others in the profession, and I think it would help with the overall morale of the profession. Especially when seeing such positive and influential models in the field and how much the profession means to them. What was the most influential thing you learned at the conference and would you agree that the OT curriculum should include attending a conference?
Danielle said…
I found your post very interesting and I wish that I could have made it to the conclave. As an occupational therapy graduate student, it would be nice if our professors stressed the importance of attending this conclave. I was interested in it because I wanted to check into some travel therapy programs. Were there a lot of venders there offering information on potential jobs?
I do hope that I can make it to the national conference in Philadelphia this year. Our college has offered to help pay for the costs, and I feel that it would be really beneficial for a student like myself who will be done in June.
Chris said…
Hi Danielle,

I encourage you to attend the national conference! There is always a lot to learn and the networking opportunities are always abundant.

There are always many vendors at these conferences, particularly recruiters. It is not a bad place to go and gather information about job opportunities.

Best of luck to you

Chris
Chris said…
Hi aweeks08!

I'm glad to hear that your college has oriented you to the NBCOT Facebook page. The exam questions and discussions that are posted there are really helpful to exam candidates!

It is tough for a curriculum to 'mandate' conference attendance, particularly when there are costs involved like travel, hotel, etc. I remember from my teaching days that there are many students who struggle just to meet tuition fees. I think that students can help each other by driving in groups and sharing hotels, doing some fundraising through their student OT clubs, etc. If you are able to attend the student conclave or the annual conference it is a real positive experience during your college education!

Best of luck to you!

Chris
Amanda said…
As an OT student in my last year of graduate school I truly appreciate conferences that allow us to network with OT employers as well as other OT students. I bet the student conclave was a great experience and wish I could have attended myself! I think it’s so important to be involved in AOTA as a student and as a professional. Because AOTA is the governing body of the profession it makes sense that my college requires me to be a member and it’ hard to believe that this is not a requirement for all OT programs! The AOTA’s assembly of Student Delegates (ASD) has always been intriguing to me and I think it nice to see that many individuals are so active in our profession at the student level.
The AOTA website contains such a wealth of information for OT students. I especially like the link to frequently asked fieldwork questions at http://www.aota.org/Students/Current/Fieldwork/FAQs.aspx. As a student preparing to go out on my last 2 fieldwork placements I find this specific web page a great resource and I’m sure other students would agree. Our professional organization does so much to advance our profession and when I am in the field as a professional I intend to be an active part of this organization.
Amanda said…
As an OT student in my last year of graduate school I truly appreciate conferences that allow us to network with OT employers as well as other OT students. I bet the student conclave was a great experience and wish I could have attended myself! I think it’s so important to be involved in AOTA as a student and as a professional. Because AOTA is the governing body of the profession it makes sense that my college requires me to be a member and it’ hard to believe that this is not a requirement for all OT programs! The AOTA’s assembly of Student Delegates (ASD) has always been intriguing to me and I think it nice to see that many individuals are so active in our profession at the student level.
The AOTA website contains such a wealth of information for OT students. I especially like the link to frequently asked fieldwork questions at http://www.aota.org/Students/Current/Fieldwork/FAQs.aspx. As a student preparing to go out on my last 2 fieldwork placements I find this specific web page a great resource and I’m sure other students would agree. Our professional organization does so much to advance our profession and when I am in the field as a professional I intend to be an active part of this organization.
heather020404 said…
I have also really enjoyed attending conferences in the past. One of the things that I do struggle with is ensuring the information that I hear at conferences is accurate. Although you hope it all is there are ways that information can be presented to represent it as being the latest and greatest. Does anyone have any suggestions or tips that they use when they are at conferences to help filter out the selling tactics rather than evidence based information.
Anonymous said…
Hello my name is Angela: in response to Amanda. I have to agree with Amanda that is an extremly important to be a member of AOTA, if not for anything else but to know what is going ion in the profession of OT. Being a COTA and an OTS I was and am required to be a member of AOTA. I have to say I wasn't thrilled at first but it is such an excellent tool. I realize now that I should continue to be a member, so I can keep up to date with conferences, legislation, other OT's and continue to recieve OT Practice and AJOT.
Chris said…
Hi Heather,

Many conference proposals are peer-reviewed, and presenters are asked to divulge any conflicts of interest that they may have re: the information they are presenting. It is a perfectly legitimate question to ask a presenter, "Are your opinions fully independent or do you have any relationship whatsoever with the product you are discussing."

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