Occupational therapy is not just another health profession to treat the patients suffering from disorders, but it is much deeper than that. Professionals of this client-centered practice emphasize on enabling the clients to engage in their routine activities. They don’t just focus on the specific problem. Instead, they opt for a holistic approach that concentrates on acclimating the patient’s environment, adjusting the tasks, encouraging them to enhance the participation and performance in their daily living. For instance, if a man has his arm injured, a physical therapist will treat his injury with acupuncture or manual therapy whereas an occupational therapist will help the patient to optimize the situation and help him to adapt to the conditions for a quality life in addition to the regular physiotherapy practices. To acquire these techniques, the OT professionals should possess certain extraordinary characteristics and skills. Also, they should know how to accumulate them and use whenever needed.
Before planning to become an occupational therapist , you must be aware of the procedure, occupational therapist duties and necessary skills that are needed to be in this profession. Go through this article to know more about the essential attributes to become a successful occupational therapist.
1. Exceptional Communication Skills
While working with the patients, occupational therapists need to listen and explain them the situations and tasks. If they are working with a child patient, they must be capable of converting the complex terms into simpler ones so that the child can understand it. Besides this, they also need to communicate with other team members and doctors. So, it is necessary for them to be clear, efficient, and confident while listening and speaking at the time of such discussions.
2. Outstanding Personal Skills
These professionals work with the patients of all age groups undergoing any physical, mental or emotional disability. Also, the basic nature of the patients varies a lot. Some may be very calm while others may be rude, frustrated or impatient. Thus, they must know the way to deal with all of them and help them get the desired results faster.
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3. Problem Solving Abilities
Problem solving skills play a vital role in the jobs related to occupational therapy. Different clients may have different problems. For the success of the cases, you must make a strategy on how to solve all these distinctive issues effectively, without any major failure.
4. Physical Strength
Physical strength is quite a major requisite for the occupational therapists and related job titles. They have to serve the clients throughout the day, travel from one area to another and stand by the side of the patients irrespective of the time and duration. Thus, if you want to be an OT, you must have a great physical strength to manage such a busy and hectic schedule.
5. Possess a Helpful Nature
An occupational therapist should be very helpful as this is all that they have to show in their profile. It is one of the most important qualities they must possess otherwise they can’t give their best to the patients. All day long, they should be ready to assist the clients for every type of help they want. From helping them in moving around to guiding them through some money related problems, an occupational therapist has to be the guardian angel to their client.
6. Organization Skills
For being a proficient occupational therapist, one must be a good organizer. Along with their own schedule, they also need to manage the client’s timetable. Also, they have to properly maintain all the documented records, appointments, meetings with other team members and professionals, etc. Only an organized occupational therapist can provide a well-planned treatment and high-quality care to the patients, so its a must that s/he must have management skills.
7. Boast Patience
It is easier to write “Keep Patience” to a patient’s ward, but it is not so easy to implement the same. Patience is believed to be the most important attribute that one must have to be in this profession. Sometimes, occupational therapists might have to face rude, impatient, frustrated, depressed or stubborn patients. So, they must keep their patience to tread through these everyday situations. Some clients may achieve success in their condition in a few months or weeks while some may take years. So, you just need to keep hold of the case to be an efficient occupational therapist.
8. Compassion and Empathy
One should opt occupational therapy as a career only if s/he is empathetic and compassionate. Most of the clients of occupational therapy are not only physically disabled but also, mentally and emotionally sensitive. In that phase of life, they need a genuinely warm-hearted and sympathetic occupational therapist who understands them and treats them accordingly.
9. Acquire Creativity
No one can learn to be creative as it is an inherent characteristic of human beings. Being an occupational therapist, many times you have to modify the tasks and schedule of the patients. For example, you can take a desolate kid to have fun at an amusement park, instead of taking him to a general rehabilitation center. Your creative methods can help the clients come out of the dilemma, and it may result into their active participation in the healthcare programs organized by you.
10. Good Writing Skills
Akin to communication skills, writing qualities are also quite important to became a highly efficient occupational therapist. It is because you need to keep the detailed files and records of all the clients in order to assist them, their family, and your team. You should state the exact condition of the patients on the papers so that it is easier for you and the medical staff to understand what you are doing and exactly how you are doing it. Keeping the details documented will not only help you and the healthcare staff but also the caretakers when you are not around.
11. Cheerleading Skills
Being an occupational therapist, your words must have the power to motivate your patients and ignite the passion in them to make their life normal once again. Motivation is very important for such depressed, frustrated and troubled people. An enthusiastic OT with great cheerleading skills can make the patients do the things that seem impossible.
12. A Good Observer
Besides being a good listener, a successful occupational therapist must also be a good observer and analytical. S/he should have the ability to analyze the situation and needs of the patients along with handling their complaints. An OT must observe and evaluate the things and procedures that are suitable for their clients and must act accordingly. For example, if a patient moves abnormally, a good OT would recognize the reason for it and would plan the course of the patient accordingly.
You never know what kind of client you are going to deal with, as disorders can happen to anyone and they may need your assistance. Thus, being an occupational therapist, you should be flexible enough to work with a wide variety of people. You must have the ability to establish a good inter-relationship bond with them, irrespective of their religion, race or nationality.