Teach ill or disabled patients how to tackle daily tasks.
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Sometimes an accident, illness, or disability prevents someone from being able to cook meals, complete schoolwork, or run errands—“easy” tasks that most people take for granted. As an occupational therapist, you can help people improve their performance on everyday activities and regain their independence.
Occupational therapists usually work within the patient’s home, workplace, school, or wherever they spend their days. For children, this might mean coaching them to relearn to grip a pencil so they can do homework, or improving their motor skills so they can play at recess. For adults, you might provide therapy that increases their ability to prepare and eat meals, get dressed, get in and out of the bath, work in the garden, or type on the computer.
To be an occupational therapist, you have to be caring, patient, optimistic, and practical. When a patient feels frustrated or depressed from not being able to perform basic tasks, you need to be the one to encourage them to keep trying. When someone seems to have reached their physical limit, maybe a simple mechanical device could help them extend their reach or ease their pain.
This career offers a really concrete way to help people. And the best part is that rather than doing everything for your patients, you’re helping them increase their strength, dexterity, and confidence every day so they can do these tasks on their own. The goal is that, after a while, they won’t even need you anymore.