Caring in the Health Care Professions -- a Moral or a Professional Stand: Perceptions of Caring of Female Occupational Therapists
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1993; 12(3-4-5): 241-247
This article presents research that explores how female occupational therapists define and experience their professional caring role. The research analyses the relation between female occupational therapists' self-perception, their moral stand and their professional behaviour as patients' advocates. Caring for others, helping people in need, being responsible for the good of others; these and other calls of duty have been a major theme in defining the roles of occupational therapists as well as of other health care professionals. In the present study, seven female occupational therapists from the New York metropolitan area participated. For the collection of the data the researcher interviewed each of the participant, using in-depth ethnographic interviews. From the research main theme named 'self- perception as a caring person', four sub-themes were identified: (a) the perception of being a caring person; (b) being a caring person leads to becoming an occupational therapist; (c) being available to patients; and (d) protecting and helping patients. In this article the first three sub-themes are briefly described. The focus is on the fourth one. It analyses how the interviewees' self- perceptions as caring individuals are central to their moral decision-making process and to their involvement in patients' advocacy as part of their role and functions in occupational therapy.
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