AbstractsMedical & Health Science

What influenced and constituted the professional development of occupational therapy in St. Patricks Hospital, Dublin between 1930 and 1960?

by Aisling Doyle

Institution: University of Limerick
Year: 2014
Keywords: history of occupational therapy; Ireland
Record ID: 1179708
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10344/3957


Background: Examining the roots of a profession can achieve a deeper sense of professional identity, confidence and role for that profession (Peters 2006). Despite this, there is no official record of the history of occupational therapy in Ireland. Documenting this history will offer contemporary occupational therapists a new perception on current questions or debates and thus, contribute to scholarly understandings. Objectives: This study aims to document the development of Occupational Therapy in St. Patrick’s hospital by establishing what constituted occupational therapy at that time and what other contextual factors influenced its development. Methods: Historical documentary methods were used. A qualitative approach was employed and results were subject to thematic analysis. Data was sourced from St. Patrick’s archives. Historical documents included board minute meetings, inspector reports, and a documented interview with a pioneering therapist. Results: Results highlighted the appointment of Olga Gale; the first occupational therapist instructor with professional training in the Hospital. This coincided with the changes made by Dr. Norman Moore in 1946. Themes that emerged from the data include medical patronage, changes in treatment of people with mental illness and the development of patient activities. Conclusions: This study is the first to document the professional contributions of Olga Butler to St. Patricks Hospital. It highlights other contextual influences that facilitated its development and in this way it is hoped that this will contribute to the overall history of the profession.