<img style="float: right; margin-left: 3px;" src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2010-08_11\/08-11_01.jpg" alt="" \/>\r\n\r\nLike so many others before him, Paul Barker became familiar with the O&P profession for personal reasons. His original intent was to learn more about himself and how his prosthetic limb worked\u2014he has worn a prosthesis since losing most of his right leg to a gunshot wound when he was 14 years old\u2014but he didn't stop there. While his O&P journey began as a consumer, after a few detours, it transformed into a career. Barker is an O&P technician\u2014a career he has enjoyed for the past 20 years, and one he learned solely through on-the-job training. He currently works at Scheck & Siress, Oak Park, Illinois.\r\n\r\nGiven his longevity in the profession, Barker seems to have found the recipe for success\u2014and that recipe includes a healthy dose of humor. He recalls a time when, as a new prosthesis user, he pivoted on his leg, and when he looked down a while later, he noticed his foot was pointing backward.\r\n\r\n"It looked hilarious," he says. "I twisted it back around to the front and politely walked out of the store hoping no one had seen me." Barker's outlook has served him well on those occasions when he is called upon to work directly with patients to aid in prosthetic or orthotic implementation.\r\n<h4>1. What advice would you give to someone just entering the O&P profession?<\/h4>\r\nMy advice to someone just entering the profession is to make sure they enjoy what they are doing. They must really care about this community and be committed. Also, actively listen to the patient's concerns, then try to accommodate the patient as much as possible when considering the device type and design.\r\n<h4>2. What are your top priorities\/goals when working with a patient?<\/h4>\r\nMy priority is to provide a strong limb that is as lightweight as possible and meets the specifications for the patient. While I am more of a behind-the-scenes person, I sometimes assist my manager by meeting patients face-to-face to get a feel for what they need. Another goal is to provide the prosthetic or orthotic device as quickly as possible so that any adjustments can be made in a timely manner, and the client can get about the business of living his or her life.\r\n<h4>3. Who or what has inspired you in your professional pursuits?<\/h4>\r\nEd Iyappa, CP, my supervisor at the former Universal Orthopedic Labs, Broadview, Illinois, was an important mentor at my first on-the-job training experience. My current manager, John Angelico, CP, and co-worker, Julie McKay, CP, have been great sources of knowledge and practical experience.\r\n<h4>4. What emerging trends or exciting advances do you see for the profession?<\/h4>\r\nThrough ever-evolving technological advancements, I see the industry moving more toward bionics due to the need for artificial limbs that function as similarly as possible to the natural limb and even better.\r\n<h4>5. What are your personal and\/or professional goals?<\/h4>\r\nOn a personal level, I love to cook and am currently pursuing my GED so I can explore this passion through the culinary arts. As a P&O technician, my goal is to become the best I can be in this role and to improve and advance in my skill and ability to provide a quality product that meets the structural and aesthetic needs of my clients.