Since 1980, the month of April has been designated as Occupational Therapy Month to coincide with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference and Expo. Those who have chosen occupational therapy as their career are performing a vitally important role in the lives of their patients by helping them maximize their abilities in the performance of everyday activities. Occupational therapists utilize a holistic approach in evaluating the skills and capabilities of individuals of all ages, then customize an intervention and therapy plan leading them to achieve desired outcomes. Occupational therapists work with individuals with disabilities to help them perform daily living skills, assist the injured in the recovery of their skills, and aid older adults to maintain their independence as long as possible.
What It Means to be an Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapy can be misconstrued because of the word “occupation.” In the most common use, occupation refers to a job or a career. For occupational therapy, the word occupation refers to the everyday activities people do as individuals or with others. Occupations, as in the things people need to, want to, and even are expected to do in their daily life. When referring to occupational therapy in that context, you can understand the full importance of what it means. Occupational therapists help facilitate the living of life! Here are other sentiments about what it means to be an occupational therapist.
Creativity. Occupational therapy is a career with limitations that are only bound by the imagination of the therapist. OTs are well known for developing creative solutions that allow their patient to accomplish everyday tasks. Whether it is modifying a workstation allowing someone with a disability to work in a specific job, or designing a series of activities to help an elderly gentleman maintain his dexterity, different patients require different solutions.
Relationships. Occupational therapists will not always work with their patient for the same duration of time. Some patients will see their OT 2 to 3 times per week for years. Other patients, may only visit their OT for a few weeks during the recovery from an injury. In all scenarios, an occupational therapist will have to establish a rapport with the patient in order to clearly understand the desired outcomes of the treatment. Occupational therapists learn how to listen and communicate in ways that put the patient at ease and keep them motivated.
Satisfaction. If it were for nothing else, occupational therapists derive great satisfaction from their ability to positively impact every patient they work with. As reflected by the theme of OT Month 2019, each day, occupational therapists are helping their patients “live life to its fullest!” Occupational therapists are masters at designing achievable goals and inspiring their patient to do a little more each time.
Patience. One of the most important qualities an occupational therapist will bring to their work is patience. An OT will work with patients of varying abilities and ever-changing dispositions. With patience, an OT teaches their individuals to cope with setbacks and persevere through difficult plateaus and frustrations. Occupational therapists know how to celebrate even the smallest of successes, knowing that each one leads to the next.
We want to hear from you! What does it mean to you to be an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook page! If you are looking for a new career opportunity, Supplemental Health Care has hundreds of opportunities to choose from. Contact one of our recruitment professionals today.