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Video:Day in the Life: Occupational Therapist

with Emily Sloane

A good way to decide whether to pursue a career in occupational therapy is to look at a day in the life of a real occupational therapist. This About.com video will show you a typical day's work for an occupational therapist.See Transcript

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Transcript:Day in the Life: Occupational Therapist

Hi, my name is Emily Sloane for About.com, and today I'm going to tell you about a day in the life of an occupational therapist.

Meaning of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy helps people fully participate in daily activities so that they're able to lead a more productive life. It can be anything from increasing their participation in daily self-care activities, from dressing to bathing, to grooming activities, to eating, to drinking, to even thinking about what they're eating or drinking.

Daily Routine for an Occupational Therapist

A normal day for an occupational therapist can vary depending on the type of setting that you are working in. For example, I work in a more physical disabilities type of clinic, typically working with upper extremity injuries. I usually see around, in a normal eight-hour day, 12 to 15 people. Treatment sessions run between 30 and 45 minutes. We use a lot of therapeutic exercises to facilitate a means to an end, or working towards our clinical goals.

Methods of Occupational Therapy

Often we use modalities, heat, ice, cold, sometimes a nerve stimulator type of thing. We do a lot of activities functional activities, putting the person in activities that they're interested in participating in. Sometimes they are brand-new patients, so we have to do an assessment or an evaluation, so we ask them a lot of questions on their background, what type of injuries that we're going to be dealing with, and we make a treatment plan based on the assessment information.

Preparing Patients to Rehabilitate at Home

From there, I typically will teach the patient home exercise programs, something that they can do it home, because they're only able to come to therapy typically 1 to 2 times, maybe 3 times a week. A lot of the time their rehabilitation is going to be going on when they're not in the clinic, so it's important to make sure that patient education is a big part of your treatment plan.

When the patients are nearing the end of their treatment, we do a discharge plan and make sure that the patient is set for the future, and that most of the clinical goals that we've set for them have been reached.

Overall, I love being an occupational therapist; every day brings its challenges but also brings its rewards.

Thanks for watching. If you want to know more about a day in the life of an occupational therapist, visit About.com.

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