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The Quality of our Work: Part 2

So, my last post raised a bit of ire regarding quality and “I did my best”. That difference between “high quality” and “I did my best” made some feel uncomfortable…Certainly that was not my intent. But as a mentor and professional developer through Sequoia School-based Therapy Solutions, I encourage therapists to reflect critically on their work and decision-making processes, reinforcing during our one-on-one sessions that reflection is important for professional growth as well as achieving child/family/student outcomes.

Given that, I’d like to explain what I think are subtle differences that exist between those 2 ideas and rely on my friend Seth Godin(, a presentation I listened to on LinkedIn and the October 2020 APTA Magazine article written my Zack Walston, PT, DPT (which is excellent). Dr. Walston’s article challenges us to think about whether or not we are providing “High Quality Care”. Seth Godin challenges us to think if we are providing “Quality Services” or doing “the best I can”. The LinkedIn presentation asks us to think about our approach to problem solving with “thinking strategies”: critical thinking, creative thinking and strategic thinking”. I see these three as being interwoven. I’d like to apply these concepts to school based therapy practices and services to our students, families and teams. You may or may not agree with my thoughts on this given our current state of virtual practice which I know has presented untold challenges. But how we approach our students and teams even virtually and apply our clinical reasoning and thinking to services should not absolve us from the idea of “high quality” services.

What is meant by “high quality” – a few thoughts: practice without bias, using information objectively, reflection using data, meeting client expectations and waiting to make decisions on services and interventions until we have all the necessary relevant data. High quality services mean we have been good listeners so we can meet the needs of our students, teams and families. It means we see each child and student individually and without judgement despite their profile and or diagnosis. It means we are willing participants in feedback – from our clients, peers and teams. It means we can be strategic in our thinking, applying fresh insights so we can see new opportunities to overcome barriers and achieve outcomes. It means being creative in our thinking- applying new and fresh perspectives and ideas instead of defaulting to the “status quo”. And it means thinking critically – assessing evidence and applying the evidence, along with your beliefs and experiences, not being afraid to change your mind or intervention once all is evaluated and considered.

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