Gertrude Robertson Highlights the Benefits of a Profession in Occupational Therapy
A Career in Helping Others
If you consider yourself to be compassionate, patient, supportive, and enjoy being in the company of others, a career in occupational therapy may be a good fit for you. As an occupational therapist (OT), you will positively impact the lives of individuals coping with impairments due to accidents, injuries, illness, disease, and disabilities, by helping them learn and develop skills that can contribute to an improved quality of life. Occupational therapists prepare and implement programs specific to their patient’s needs, including strategies targeted towards improving mental and physical health, rehabilitation, and rehabilitation. For instance, a recovering cancer patient may require the aid of an OT to help them connect with other cancer survivors and design an exercise plan that reduces pain and lymphedema caused by treatment. Depending on the individual, OTs may assist with self-care, leisure activities, or tasks related to productivity. By pursuing a career in occupational therapy, you are helping members of your community achieve a more comfortable and independent lifestyle.
Gertrude Robertson, an experienced occupational therapist, notes five advantages of a career in occupational therapy:
While patients benefit from custom treatment plans, observing patients’ progress can be mutually rewarding for occupational therapists. Many OTs feel valued and fulfilled in their profession, as they play a key role in helping others achieve meaningful milestones as part of their rehabilitation. For instance, consider an individual who has suffered a recent spinal cord injury as a result of an auto accident. This type of injury could lead to paraplegia, which is characterized by the loss of function and sensation in the lower half of one’s body. While impaired motor function can substantially impact a person’s daily life, OTs can make it easier for patients by helping them learn to adapt to their new lifestyle. In this circumstance, occupational therapists may focus on teaching patients how to use assistive devices and equipment, practicing self-care activities, recommending modifications to their home for greater accessibility, providing psycho social support, and more. OTs that work with the same patients over an extended period have the pleasure of participating in their client’s victories, both large and small.
Meet diverse people
Occupational therapists have the opportunity to form relationships with clients from various walks of life. Working one-on-one with patients allows OTs to learn about their clients on a personal level, in addition to focusing on their recovery process. Gertrude Robertson states that patients often view occupational therapists as more than just a health professional, but as companion or confidant. Patients may feel like they cannot share their feelings with family and friends out of fear of burdening them. As a result, it is not uncommon for OTs and their patients to develop a strong bond based on mutual trust and understanding. Also, individuals that are dedicated to their treatment often serve as a source of inspiration for those that get to witness their recovery. Consequently, OTs may feel especially connected to clients with whom they share a friendship, admiration, and respect.
Robertson says one of the greatest benefits of a career in occupational therapy is the vast array of opportunities available to OT graduates. Occupational therapy is made up of nine different specialties, including gerontology, mental health, pediatrics, physical rehabilitation, driving and community mobility, environmental modification, low vision, school systems, as well as feeding, eating and swallowing. As with any line of work, individuals should follow their passion and choose a field they find most interesting. For instance, if you love working with children, you may discover a rewarding career in pediatrics. In this position, you will help children succeed in routine activities like learning, playing, and socializing, which are essential for healthy development. Alternatively, you may prefer to help low vision patients maintain independence by making their homes more accessible and utilizing assistive technology. Or, perhaps you are inclined to work with students that possess learning impairments or behavioral problems. Wherever your passion lies, all areas of occupational therapy play an important role in enhancing the lives of community members.
Recall, there are several OT specialties to choose from, each of which provides you with the opportunity to work in a variety of settings. If you wish to work with the elderly, you may opt for a career in gerontology, which concentrates on developing strategies to ensure seniors remain as functional and independent as possible. In this field, you may be responsible for helping clients improve skills related to self-care, assessing cognitive function, fall prevention, reducing the rate of memory loss, and rehabilitation after major surgeries. Thus, if you are interested in geriatric care, you may find your dream job in a hospital environment, outpatient rehabilitation center, nursing home, or through in-home healthcare. However, Robertson asserts there are many other settings in which you will find occupational therapists, including clinics, health boards, group homes, halfway houses, worker compensation boards, correctional facilities, schools, insurance companies, and more.
Finally, a career in occupational therapy can be financially rewarding. This profession is experiencing a steady increase in demand as a result of the ageing baby boomer population and advancements in healthcare-related technology. Due to the ever-growing demand for OTs, the median salary for full-time occupational therapists was $70,000 in 2014, compared to $48,000 for occupational therapy assistants, according to statistics provided by AOTA. Moreover, OTs that found themselves working in school environments, home health, long-term care, or skilled nursing facilities, were amongst the highest paid in this profession. Therefore, due to the extensive need for these types of healthcare workers, most employers are willing to provide competitive salaries and benefits.
According to Gertrude Robertson, individuals that possess a strong passion for serving others are likely to excel in the field of occupational therapy. So, if you are excited by the prospect of positively impacting the lives of members of your community, and you are intrigued by the benefits listed above, occupational therapy may be the perfect career path for you!