In the medical field, some positions require a hands-on approach, such as handling blood and urine samples and the like, while others prepare you to work indirectly of the patient, such as in medical coding or hospital administration. Occupational therapy may be considered as an “in-between” position. You work with patients as they regain their strength to do daily activities, although primarily, you are not dealing with bodily fluids. Perhaps the field of occupational therapy is ideal for anyone with aspirations to work in the medical field but who are squeamish at the sight of blood.
To become a successful occupational therapist, you must earn an online Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from an accredited program. After you gain licensure, you’re set to assist others in improving their quality of life. But with your extensive training behind you, do you have the personality to work one-on-one with patients to ensure their recovery? Let’s look at a few attributes that will be helpful.
Are you personable? Do you love people of all ages, from young toddlers to senior citizens? Often, patients with disabilities or those recovering from an illness are discouraged, frustrated and in pain. They will look to you for encouragement and a healing attitude as they overcome their limitations, as well as, their impatience. You must maintain a calming and supportive decorum even if they are rude and verbally abusive. You must be flexible and patient with them, always.
Perhaps related to the point mentioned above is the fact that excellent communication skills will be the key to your success. As you will have the privilege of working with all ages, you will need to talk to the little ones calmly and on a level that they can understand. On the flip side, you may need to talk to seniors with precise pronunciation and an elevated voice, if they are hearing impaired. Also, you will need to communicate well with doctors, as well as, your fellow employees. If you’re in a management position, your communication skills are of utmost importance. Exceptional writing and organizational skills are also required to maintain good recordkeeping.
Are you a good listener? Are you observant? As a patient will look to you for a plan of treatment, you must first listen carefully to their complaint. Please pay attention to how it is affecting their everyday life and to the results they are looking forward to achieving. Ensure them that you are anxious to help them get back to their usual way of life!
Through an online school doctoral program in occupational therapy, you can look forward to instruction on the different ways to assist your patients; however, your problem-solving abilities and critical-thinking skills will help you the most. If these come naturally to you, you are a step ahead of the game. Your doctoral program will instruct you on how to apply these essential qualities to occupational therapy techniques.
As an occupational therapist, you must be creative. Generally, this quality comes naturally; however, it’s through the creative process that you should be able to implement a plan of treatment that is beneficial, as well as, comfortable for your patient. Creativity is most important when working with children if you wish to keep their attention.
Finally, do you have a helpful nature? How are your cheerleading skills? Do you have compassion and empathy for others? Without these qualities, occupational therapy may not be for you. Patients who are disabled, physically ill or mentally challenged are often very emotionally sensitive. You must be helpful, compassionate about your career and an excellent encourager to be successful as an occupational therapist.
If you are interested in this field, be sure to check out our recommendations for the Best Online Schools for Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree programs.