In this guide find out exactly what an occupational therapist is as well as the exciting job opportunities this career can lead to.
Navigate through the guide by clicking on a topic below:
- What does an occupational therapist do?
- Their roles and responsibilities
- What other jobs can an occupational therapist do?
- How the unique skills of an occupational therapist can be used in case management
- Tips for finding new career opportunities.
But first, let’s start with a brief introduction…
What does an occupational therapist do?
‘If you think about what occupies your time as a human, occupational therapists can work with any of those performance areas.’
This is a great introduction into what an occupational therapist does, as Lani tells us in the video below:
In this video she does use the terms occupational therapy and paediatric physical therapy interchangeably, which isn’t correct as the two careers are completely separate. If you’d like to know the difference between these two terms, take a look at this Occupational Therapy vs Physical Therapy article.
The job of an occupational therapist is to aid their clients in being as independent as possible in their everyday lives.
They focus on what is important to the client and work on supporting them and guiding them through these tasks. These tasks can range in difficulty or subject area.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that this role involves a lot of creativity when teaching the client a skill or guiding them through a task. It is also a flexible role as they are usually never placed in one single location, it may involve working across many different environments.
To find examples of the kind of responsibilities and tasks that are involved, keep reading…
The roles and responsibilities of an occupational therapist…
The role of an occupational therapist is so varied that there is no set list of tasks that everyone in the industry takes part in.
Depending on the environment they work in and the client they are working with will determine the type of responsibilities they manage.
Here are a few task examples to show you just how varied the role can be:
- Helping a child in school to grip the pencil
- Working with a child to improve their hand eye coordination when playing sport
- Working in a hospital to aid a brain injury patient re-learn how to use a knife and fork
- Supporting an elderly person to get dressed in the morning so they can continue to be independent
- Give advice on home or work place alterations to aid the client in their independent living
- Working with a client that has recovered from a spinal injury to find a new effective way to travel to work
- Teaching anxiety management techniques
- Improving the client’s confidence and self-esteem.
If you think some of these responsibilities are included in other industries and careers, keep reading to find out what other jobs an occupational therapist can do…
What other jobs can an occupational therapist do?
The great thing about a degree in occupational therapy is the windows of opportunity it opens up for your career.
Many of our case managers at AJCM started off as occupational therapists before progressing into the case management roles they have today.
First off, if you’re wondering ‘what exactly is case management?’ Here’s a brief introduction…
Case management is a collaborative process that aids clients through recovery, rehabilitation and gaining independence if they suffer with an injury that prevents them from performing certain kinds of tasks.
It involves assessing potential risks, planning rehabilitation, managing care co-ordination, providing mental health support, researching therapy or new recovery methods and so much more.
It is an incredibly rewarding job that many occupational therapists go into to receive job satisfaction and to make a difference in the lives of those who have suffered a serious injury.
If you want to work closely with clients, go through an inspiring rehabilitation journey with them and make a real difference in your role, case management might be the career for you. For more insight into exactly what the role involves, take a look at our Day in the Life of a Case Manager article.
To find out which unique skills of an occupational therapist can be applied to other industries, keep reading…
How the unique skills of an occupational therapist can be used for other jobs…
Here are just a few of the unique skills an occupational therapist has that can be used for a career in case management…
- Exceptional communication – When teaching clients a new skill or guiding them through a new task, clear communication is key. This is also vital for case management when communicating with clients, medical professionals, family members and colleagues.
- Impressive multi-tasking – With such a wide variety of tasks and a wide range of clients, multi-tasking is key in both of these industries. From managing phone calls, emails, therapy sessions, training, care plan reviews, creating reports (the list goes on!), being able to multi-task is a vital skill.
- Personable – Using a kind demeanour as well as displaying a friendly approach is key for getting the most out of the clients in both of these careers.
- Responsible – When working in a job that has such a big impact on someone’s life, there is of course plenty of responsibility that comes with it. An occupational therapist and case manager needs to take responsibility by being organised, having excellent time management skills and the ability to delegate tasks.
- Eagerness to learn – Both industries continue to develop and evolve with new practices, techniques and models. When working in these careers you need a thirst for learning and show a willingness to adapt your approach.
This is just a small insight into the unique skills needed to succeed in occupational therapy or case management. For a full skillset checklist, read these 25 Skills Needed for Case Management.
If this transition into a new career sounds like something you’re interested in, here’s our advice…
Tips for finding new career opportunities as an occupational therapist…
Changing careers may be the most exciting and nerve-wracking thing you can do in your professional life. If you’re starting to have doubts about the career you’re in or want to know what other opportunities are out there, here’s our advice.
Don’t skimp on the research, there’s no such thing as too much! Thoroughly research the industry you are thinking of moving into and listen to professionals and their experience in the field. There are plenty of YouTube videos, forums and testimonials to give you a clear insight.
Question what is missing in your current job role. Is it face to face communication? Too many unsociable hours? Whatever you’re dissatisfied with, factor this into your research and ensure your new chosen career doesn’t have the same pitfalls.
See what’s out there, there’s no harm in looking! There are so many new opportunities for occupational therapists, so don’t be afraid to see what’s available on the job market.
Take every opportunity you can get. If you get the chance for work experience, to job shadow someone, meet professionals in the industry or perhaps even a quick phone call with an expert to give you advice about their career, take everything you can get.
Inspiring careers at AJ Case Management…
We are always eager to meet new people that are interested in a career in case management.
Take a look at our recruitment page of get in touch today to see what opportunities we have available for you. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see what our case managers are up to at the moment.
If you have any questions about occupational therapy or case management, please feel free to leave a comment below.