“Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience” – Repper & Carter, 2011, pp.394
As discussed earlier, new graduates express feelings of loss of role identity and value within their first year of practice as they transition from novice to expert. The first years of practice as a new graduate OT can be stressful with constant professional development and learning (Tryssenaar & Perkins, 1999). Being in a peer support group, an individual is able to identify their role through comparison and contrast to others (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010). Through respect, value and responsibility a peer support group can also bring a sense of doing, being, becoming and belonging that may be lost in the midst of angst and stress out in the busy field of practice.
Peer support could be a great way for novice practitioners to align their values and beliefs with those of their colleagues as a means for developing their professional identity (Morley, 2009).
Christiansen, C., & Townsend, A. E. (2010). Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Morley, M. (2009). Contextual factors that have an impact on the transitional experience of newly qualified occupational therapists. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(11), 507-514
Repper, J., Carter, T., (2011). A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services, Journal Of Mental Health 20, no. 4: 392-411. Doi: 10.3109