Life as an OT?
November 24, 2008 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Posting for a friend: What's it like to be an occupational therapist?

I have a friend who is considering going into occupational therapy. However, she's wondering about the day-to-day aspects of the job -- good and bad -- as well as its general outlook and future.

If there are any OTs who'd care to share an inside view, I know she'd be grateful. I would be, too, so thanks in advance.
posted by Work to Live to Work & Money (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
IANAOT, but my mom has been an OT for at least 15 years so I can give you a little bit of second hand experience.

She's worked in a hospital, at a clinic, done home care, and is working directly under a hand surgeon right now, which just shows that there's plenty of different types of settings to practice in and that if one doesn't mesh well with you then there might be another one more to your liking.

I know that she loves being a therapist and the fact that she has first hand experience helping people and seeing them progress through treatment over time. She does get stressed out over patients some times but I think that was more about the environment she was in than the actual patients, though there are always some ornery patients. I want to say when she was working for HealthSouth she could see upwards of 20 patients in a day which could get hectic and meant that she brought a lot of paperwork home to fill out notes and whatnot.

One of the worst experiences she's ever had though was when she was treating a little girl with third degree burns. I'm pretty sure my mom would cry after treating that little girl because she had to put her through so much pain every time they met. Most of the time she says that pain she puts patients through is bearable but there are always going to be a couple of cases where it might seem that you're torturing your patients.

I'm pretty sure that the job market is there since my mom has never been unemployed since being licensed and has never had much of problem finding a job whenever we moved (4 times) and she just got her C.H.T. last year which makes her even more valuable. I'm guessing it shouldn't be too hard to find a job though my mom did have a foot in through my uncle at her first job at a hospital.

If you don't get enough info through this thread, then I can ask my mom if she'd be okay with talking to your friend through email. She's usually busy but I know she's tries to take an intern every year so I'm pretty sure she's used to being asked questions.
posted by woolylambkin at 7:54 PM on November 24, 2008

Like woolylambkin, IANAOT, but my wife is. She has worked in two specific settings, geriatric and day rehab.

When working in geriatric, she was based in a rehabilitation home, which is like a nursing home with therapists working there. She used her training in Neuro-Ifrah to help people re-learn the activities of daily living. She would help her patients learn to dress themselves or cook for themselves again. She would come home with the most triumphant stories of her patients overcoming adversity in simple ways, but there was frustration too. Most of the frustration stemmed from family situations that made it difficult for the patient to recover.

In day rehab, she sees all kinds of patients. She sees a lot of strokes and brain injuries because those are the kinds of patients that need to relearn their activities of daily living. The patients come to her for 1-3 hour therapy sessions, depending on what the patient can tolerate.
posted by bryanzera at 7:33 AM on November 25, 2008

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