Iceland National OT News

News from Iceland 2016

The Icelandic Occupational Therapy Association (IOTA) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The association was formed on March 4th 1976 with only ten members. To date, there are approximately 280 occupational therapists (OTs) working in various settings all across Iceland to serve its 330,000 inhabitants. The majority of OTs work in the community (26%) and in hospitals (23%). Other areas of practice include rehabilitation centres, nursing homes and schools. The profession is growing every year and is in constant development.

An assembly was held in October 2015 to discuss the future prospects of the IOTA. 1/3 of all IOTA members attended and a roundtable discussion was lead by supervisors.

The main points of discussion included:

1) What is your favourite part of being an occupational therapist?
2) What should be the role of the association?
3) How can we strengthen the image of the association?
4) How can the association support its members’ professional development and continuing education?

There was plenty of valuable feedback from the members and the final results were published in a special anniversary edition of Iðjuþjálfinn – the Icelandic OT journal. It is our hope that bringing awareness to these results will point the IOTA in the right direction to improve the OT profession in Iceland.

The members want the IOTA to be active in community discussions and in the media to promote the visibility of OT. The members also expressed that they want the association to advocate for the profession, and promote better quality education, research and innovation to expand OT services in Iceland. Members would like to see increased cooperation with universities, other associations in Iceland, and institutions abroad. Finally, the members would like the IOTA to host social events for OTs to connect and network with each other.

This year, the association will be hosting one event per month to promote OT. These events include a family day, a visit to various OT work sites, and various lectures on mindfulness, marketing, leadership behaviour, etc.

The highlight of this year was a two day OT conference held in March. The first day was co-hosted by the Ministry of Welfare in Iceland. The main theme was welfare technology and the keynote speakers were Hanne Tuntland OT from Norway, Magnus Zingmark OT from Sweden, and Åse Brandt OT from Denmark. On the second day, 26 lectures and workshops were held by 36 Icelandic OTs to showcase the breadth of practice areas in Iceland.

It has been a gratifying year so far, and we look forward to advocating and spreading awareness of OT, as well as mentoring new graduates to find a rewarding career in OT.

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