Monday, October 13, 2008

What’s it like to be an…Occupational Therapist?

My job title is: Occupational Therapist

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If youíve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
A normal day as a staff therapist consists of evaluating and treating patients. This is consistent throughout the year. Things have changed in health care and time spent with each patient has become much less in the clinic. There is a greater focus on home exercise programming and the role of the therapist is as much that of an educator of disease and treatment as it is a therapist.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
This has been my position since I graduated. I am now also a Certified Hand Therapist which is a specialty of therapy.

What kind of training/education did you have? What would you suggest? What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?
I hold a B.S with major in occupational therapy. Currently all Occupational Therapy programs are entry-level masterís degrees. You need a love for the sciences as well as for helping others achieve a quality life.

What are the rewards in your position? Challenges? What makes a good day for you?

Rewards are improvement for my patients in their disability. Understanding someone and making a connection is also very rewarding. Challenges include the limitations that our current health care system places on a therapist, with decreased time for patient care and decreased reimbursement. A good day consists of progress for patients in rehab and a smooth day.

What trends or changes do you foresee in the next 5-10 years?
I believe big changes are coming in health care. What those will be, I am not sure.

How could a person find out more about your field?
Volunteering in an occupational therapy department would prove to be VERY helpful in seeing the day to day activities.

When you were growing up, did you have any interests that you have built into your work?
I grew up in the Chicagoland area and I had an interest in people in general.

What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?
I have been blessed with wonderful mentors who have helped guide my path along the way.

What was your first job like after college?
Excellent! I rotated onto different services in a local hospital and was able to get a wide array of experiences that many of my classmates missed out on.

Are there any web sites you would suggest for more information about your field?
AOTA-American Occupational Therapy Association, also ASHT-American Society of Hand Therapy.

How do your beliefs and values or worldview perspectives impact what you do at work?
I believe that all individuals deserve to be treated equally and deserve basic health care. This philosophy helps me to stay grounded and provide the best service that I can regardless of a personís ability to pay. This also keeps me returning to developing countries to give back.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/13 at 03:34 PM

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