Poland – Innovations in Occupational Therapy

The history of occupational therapy as an academic discipline is very short in Poland – teaching at university level started as late as 2012. On the 27th of February 2018, the Laboratory of Occupational Therapy of the Poznan University of Medical Sciences organised the first countrywide scientific conference devoted entirely to OT, with well over 200 participants (the registration was closed prematurely due to overbooking).

The title and topic of the conference was “Innovations in Occupational Therapy.” Among the participants, there were academic teachers and students from all universities offering curricula in OT (besides Poznan, also Cracow, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Warsaw). The presentations covered subjects ranging from general views on the discipline and occupational science, through examples of educational innovations and applications, to the therapeutic processes. A special session was devoted to the possibilities of robotic assistance in care and therapy. OT came out as a truly innovative field, open for cooperation with neighbouring disciplines.

In the evening we met again at the 1st PoSTer: Polish Summit on Occupational Therapy, consisting of three tables: the students, the professionals, and the deans (of all faculties with courses in OT). Several topics were intensely discussed, including the legal situation, the position of occupational therapists in the care system as well as questions of research and interprofessional dialogue. The summit decided to create three Working Groups to develop necessary documents and start dialogues with decision makers at the national level. The students intensely discussed the curricula, professional opportunities and career development. They also created a purpose-built website to share opinions, advice and information among them, which is very lively now.

The demand from OT practitioners, academic staff and students, the atmosphere of the event as well as the overwhelming feedback we received make us consider organising the 2nd conference in 2019.[ezcol_1half]

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Sławomir Tobis, PhD
Laboratory of Occupational Therapy Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland