Occupational Therapists play a pivotal role in the lives of their patients. They help patients recover from injuries or learn to live with disabilities so that they can live as normal of a life as possible. Their busy day consists of treating these patients and, since each case is unique, the job never gets boring.
Preparing for Patients
Like many other medical professionals, Occupational Therapists begin their day by preparing for their incoming patients. This may involve several different steps, including:
- Checking the daily schedule
- Reviewing any notes for new/current patients
- Speaking with other staff members about any questions they have about incoming patients
- Ensuring that their office is clean and fully-stocked for incoming patients
Most offices are open during the daytime hours, so a typical schedule for an Occupational Therapist may run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the possibility of arriving early or staying late if the need arises.
Once the office opens, patients will start filtering in. Most visits will run between 15-30 minutes long, with new patients taking a bit longer.
New patient visits take longer because they are more in-depth. An Occupational Therapist will:
- Review the patient’s medical history
- Examine the patient and any specific areas that require treatment
- Creating a patient chart which includes all relevant contact information
- Coming up with an action plan for treatment
- Beginning to introduce therapy exercises
Established patient visits don’t require as much time because an Occupational Therapist can go right into treating the patient. All visits should end with exercises that the patient should perform at home to help them progress in therapy.
Building a Successful Career
With hard work and determination, an Occupational Therapist can build a very successful career for themselves. The first step is to be very detailed with note taking to ensure nothing is missed. Finding a mentor to help guide you through the initial months on the job can make things a little easier.
Staying up-to-date on all the latest news in the field will make an Occupational Therapist more successful. This can be done by attending continuing education classes and reading materials related to the profession. The job of an Occupational Therapist is ever-evolving which makes it an exciting career.