Roots of the recreational therapy profession date back to the Crimean War of the 1850s, when recreation was used to improve the counterproductive impact military hospital settings played on the recovery process.
The concept of wars and epidemics resulted in continued need for the expansion of health care and likewise, recreation-based personnel over the next 55 years. From 1945 to 1953 undergraduate education programs were developed in recreation to meet the demand of the evolving work force.
By 1956 credentialing of therapeutic recreation personnel began. In 2004 there were around 24,000 reported recreation therapy jobs in the clinical and community setting.
The value of credentialed recreation therapy personnel was identified by Duke Cancer Institute in the early 1970s. By 1976 Duke Oncology Recreation Therapy (ORT) was developed and considered one of the pioneers in the establishment of formal population specific programs.
The ORT department parallels Duke University Health System’s mission to providing the highest caliber of quality patient care, education, and research while respecting the needs of the human spirit.
The program's staff gets at least 100 letters a year from medical institutions and caregivers nationwide wanting to know about the program. A highly structured internship is offered to provide an opportunity for a practical experience matched with the student’s education level, previous experience, and professional goals.
For more information on internship opportunities, please contact the ORT department at 919-681-2928 or by e-mail at email@example.com.