Year 2021
October 2021


Abstract Title
How do Occupational Therapists develop future-oriented thinking skill in the workplace? An exploratory qualitative study.



Tan Tock Seng Hospital1

Background & Hypothesis

“The Professional for Tomorrow’s Healthcare” is a framework developed by NHG, encapsulating attributes needed by healthcare professionals to navigate the complex healthcare system. TTSH, Occupational Therapy department’s current training program encompasses professional knowledge and skills, teamwork, system thinking, professionalism and communication skills. Ethics and healthcare ethos are assumed to be maintained. However, future-oriented thinking (FOT) is not included. This study aims to gather insights from Occupational Therapists (OTs) on FOT and ways to incorporate into the training.


Using an exploratory qualitative study design, OTs with at least 1 year working experience in TTSH were invited by purposive sampling. Data were gathered via focus groups, transcribed and analysed using Grounded Theory-like approach and Transformative Learning Theory (TLT). The 3 researchers coded, analysed and transcript the data independently, triangulated to identify emergent themes, before comparing with TLT.


6 focus groups were conducted with 29 participants. They shared that FOT include being visionary, resourceful, adaptable, resilient, reflective, goals-setting, team-player and good communicator. Suggestions to develop FOT included continuous professional development, exposure to different situations, reflection, understanding local and global trends, adequate resources, clarity on expectations, open communication and providing options.

Discussion & Conclusion

The findings are congruent to the TLT, which acknowledged the importance of developing a future workforce capable of reflecting critically, collaborating with others and adapting to changing situations.  FOT may help OTs to cope in the complex healthcare system and provide better patient care. Future implementations may include exposure to different levels of projects, grading the level of support and reflections after projects.