As we welcome April – the month to celebrate all things occupational therapy – I gave some thought to those reasons that I am still in love with my wonderful career as an occupational therapist after all these years.
Patient-Centered: I have always found it a little magical to learn about another human being. I love people, all kinds of people, old or young, like me or unlike me. I love to talk to people, share with people and learn what makes a person tick. So when I found a job that focused on the wonder and uniqueness of each patient, I was all in! The rigor of occupational therapy produces clinicians uniquely qualified to assess physical, environmental and emotional barriers and construct modifications and supports that are patient-centered.
Life Changing: The focus on ADLs and IADLs place occupational therapy squarely in the middle of a patient’s journey to independence. Accomplishments increase self-worth, pride and purpose and bring joy to a person’s life. Whether addressing walking, feeding, dressing/grooming, toileting, bathing, transferring or more complex tasks, OTs help patients help themselves. I love being part of a profession that, by focusing on the person and understanding their special set of circumstances, changes lives. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a person master even the smallest gain.
Creative: Each person’s goals, condition and environment come together to pose a multifaceted problem that OTs are tasked with solving. Providing solutions that center on the unique characteristics of each patient is a challenge and allows an OT to be a constant creator. My artist’s heart loves being continually tested to create one-of-a-kind solutions for my patients. Restoring function and independence in this environment satifies my desire to be creative. I also love listening to other OTs describe the solutions they have crafted for patients. Learning from fellow OTs inspires me to look a little differently at each patient and sparks my creativity.
I would love to hear if these reasons reflect why you love occupational therapy! Hope to hear from you soon.
Cheryl Hall, OT
Author and Illustrator, Occupational Therapy Toolkit