The only Occupational Therapist Board Certified in Physical Rehabilitation in New Mexico works right here at San Juan Regional Medical Center. Kathleen “Kat” Horn’s board certification from the American Occupational Therapy Association demonstrates a strong level of commitment to ongoing professional development. That development translates into improved outcomes for our patients.
“Overall less than one percent of occupational therapists in the country are certified in this specialty,” Horn said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Horn has been an occupational therapist for 17 years. She recently decided to push her training and knowledge to the next level by achieving her board certification. The process was a little different than what you’d normally envision. Instead of studying for and passing an exam, the Physical Rehabilitation Board Certification is a peer-reviewed process that includes:
- Demonstration of relevant experience
- A reflective portfolio
- Ongoing professional development
To obtain board certification, occupational therapists must be involved in recent projects to promote change, both within their organizations and their profession. In addition, they make a five year commitment to achieving professional goals. Horn is focusing on helping our renal and diabetic patients.
“We have a whole floor dedicated to this population, yet there isn’t much continuing education available to most occupational therapists. One of my goals was to go seek more education to see if I can find better ways for those folks to mobilize sooner, get stronger sooner and get back to their self-care tasks sooner,” Horn said.
Horn is hoping that talking about her Board Certification will help create dialogue to give people have a better understanding of what occupational therapy is.
“It can be very broad because we do cover such a big range of problems that we can help solve,” Horn said. “It’s a huge spectrum from little kids to older adults.”
Occupational therapy rehabilitation helps a patient restore useful function of the body after a disabling accident or illness. Patients work with occupational therapists to improve muscle strength, range of motion, physical endurance, hand-eye coordination and concentration. Occupational therapy can also help patients improve attention span, thought organization, problem solving, memory, daily activities and vocational skills.