Should I be an OT?
Should I be an OT or an OTA?
Are there enough OT jobs?
Is OT a good career choice?
I see this type of question from students all over social media and thought the beginning of the academic year was a good time to share some advice John F. Kennedy gave to a young Leonard Nimoy.
Leonard Nimoy was driving a cab while trying to launch his acting career when he picked up John F. Kennedy. At the time, Kennedy was also at the beginning of his career and serving as a Massachusetts state senator. The two had a conversation about life and careers and Kennedy gave this advice to Nimoy.
“There’s lots of competition in your business, much like mine.
Just remember, there is always room for one more good one.”
This simple piece of advice really resonated with me: there is always room for one more good one!
So, if you are passionate about helping people live their fullest life and working collaboratively to eliminate barriers in a clinical setting, then go for a career in occupational therapy and commit to being a good one.
Part of that will take time. I never would have guessed when I picked OT that I would write a book that would be used by thousands of OTs and their patients. But here are 10 actions that helped me be a good OT and then a good author of OT resources:
- I remained curious and never let anything or anyone stop me from asking questions.
- I honed my listening skills and genuinely enjoyed hearing my patients’ stories.
- I sought out a mentor and always welcomed assistance – even from other disciples like PT.
- I researched solutions for patients and their challenges long after their appointment ended.
- I committed to lifelong learning and continued to study conditions, interventions and evidenced-based strategies on my own and selected CEUs that would best support my growth as an OT.
- I went to conferences to talk to other OTs and vendors about their experiences and successes.
- I recognized a gap in patient education resources and started to write my own. Early in this journey, I shared those resources with other OTs and incorporated their feedback.
- I listened to criticism from peers, patients and supervisors and learned from what was shared.
- I worked in a wide variety of settings with a wide variety of patients.
- I was never afraid to walk away from a job that I knew wasn’t supporting my growth as an OT.
So as you start this academic year remember there will always be room in the world for another good occupational therapist!