Membership matters! Expressed attitudes of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants regarding their state OT association: a survey
Romero, Rachel Lauren
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Career-specific associations are an integral part of professional life (Walston & Khaliq, 2012). In 1998, state occupational therapy (OT) associations reported that their membership rates reflected 25–50% of all registered OTs for their state (Breeden et al., 2000). Since then, membership rates have been declining throughout all state associations nationwide. This doctoral project is comprised of two nation-wide surveys distributed to OTs, occupational therapy assistants (OTAs), and board members of state associations in an effort to decipher and decode why OTs and OTAs do or do not join their state associations. Surveys inquired about the personal saliency of commonly referenced member benefits often provided by professional associations, and how respondents felt their state association provided for the effective implementation of these benefits. Open ended questions asked why and why not respondents are/are not association members and what their associations can do to change for the future. Significant results include the following: both OT and OTAs found the establishment of professional standards as most salient; board members rated implementation of benefits higher than current association members; and implementation of additional continuing education opportunities was the most popular change that respondents want to see from their association. Associations can most effectively begin to “modernize” their recruitment practices by creating more effective social media and Internet-based practices to disseminate pertinent information to stakeholders.
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