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10 Essential Occupational Therapy Skills You Need to Succeed

An occupational therapist helps their patients to get better from temporary disabilities, depression, stress-related problems, traumatic injuries, eating disorders, etc. and also everlasting problems like spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. The therapists are educated to operate all the things to do for the clients, from working on a computer to catering the fundamental needs of cooking, dressing, eating, etc. Their work may vary with the kind of disability of the client they deal with. If you choose to enter this field, there are a few skills you must have. Want to be aware of the primary skills to end up as an occupational therapist? Go through this article.

1. Patience

When your profession is Occupational Therapy, patience is one of the most important skills you should have. You are meant to meet with different patients with both physical, mental and emotional diseases. Some of them can be rude, depressed, frustrated, stubborn or impatient. Still, you need to treat them the same way as you will to cooperative patients; with equal effort and a smile. Conditions of some clients can improve within weeks or months, others, however, may take a year or more. You need to be patient with all of them. Furthermore, be creative about your work; try to use various therapy methods to different patients. If you have a good sense of humour, sufferers are going to enjoy your therapy.

2. Determination

An OT must always look forward to their day, determined to help any kind of patience. Sometimes, being an Occupational Therapist isn’t going to be pleasant. You’ll have to assist human beings with tough conditions that can be taxing both bodily and mentally, and you’ll come home tired and drained. Even the best OTs experience this way sometimes! The sign of a high-quality Occupational Therapist isn’t that they get worn-out or weary. Even if they do, they keep pushing through.
Know that you’re making your patients’ lives better. Be dedicated to, and passionate about, assisting them, and hold pushing via it, even when it’s tough.

3. Enthusiasm

This is also one of the key skills required to be an Occupational Therapist. You should always have intense & eager enjoyment for helping others. Being enthusiastic, you will always have energy to complete your daily tasks no matter how tiring they can be. When you go home after finishing a day at work, you will look forward to the next day to get back to work. As an occupational therapist, your primary task is to help others every way possible. If you have enough enthusiasm to do your job, your clients will be more motivated to improve their own wellbeing. This way, your patients’ health will get better quickly.

Occupational therapist at work

4. Excellent Interpersonal & communication skills

Occupational therapists work with patients of all age groups undergoing many sorts of physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. It is additionally vital to observe that the nature, composure, and personal capabilities of sufferers will differ dramatically. Some patients may be calm, kind, and collected, while others may be rude, frustrated, or impatient. As a result, it is essential to be capable of responding viably to all kinds of sufferers with all sorts of injuries.

While working with patients, occupational therapists need to pay attention and explain situations and tasks. If they are working with a patient that is a child, they should be capable of changing complicated phrases into simpler ones so that the toddler can understand it, and the same is true when speaking with sufferers of all ages. You need to be capable of approaching the conversation in a variety of methods to a variety of different patients with an array of injuries.

Besides this, occupational therapists additionally need to speak with other team members, doctors, and clinics. OTs often ought to delegate duties to occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) and work as medical supervisors to subordinate staff. So, it is crucial for them to be clear, efficient, and confident while listening and speaking at the time of such discussions. This additionally requires the attention of occupational therapy jargon and standard occupational terms for effective communication. 

5. Problem-solving

It is necessary to think about the fact that even though they aren’t simply taking shots in the dark, there is no template for occupational therapy. To be successful in this role, you ought to make individualized decisions on how to clear up distinct issues effectively, without any major failure or risks. Occupational therapy is similar to an equation, and the reply is a direct end result of intentional problem-solving efforts.
You ought to have enough knowledge on different branches of medical science. With that knowledge and critical thinking, you should be able to tackle any problems you come across.

6. Being warm-hearted

Occupational Therapy would be challenging for any person who lacks compassion or empathy. It is frequent for sufferers to be struggling physically as well as mentally/emotionally.

Said sufferers want an absolutely warm-hearted and sympathetic occupational therapist who is aware of them and treats them accordingly. This attempt should be kept away from judgment or poor remarks, and it should make the affected person feel welcomed and accepted.

Responsibilities of an Occupational Therapist

7. Physical Strength

Occupational therapists have to serve clients during the day, travel from one place to another, and stand beside the sufferers for a long period of time. The physiotherapy methods used in occupational therapy can be difficult, and patients may want to use occupational therapists as a literal crutch in order to be able to perform the technique. If you choose to become an occupational therapist, you must be bodily strong, and work out to keep yourself healthy. After all, if you’re not physically fit as a therapist, then how can you help others get their health improved.

8. Being organized

Occupational therapists have a lot of matters to manage: their schedules, client’s goals, appointments, and conferences with different professionals, just to name a few. On top of that, they ought to make sure that they fulfil all required documentation in a clear, concise and timely manner. Some occupational therapists are even in charge of keeping tabs on insurance authorization expirations and reevaluation deadlines, depending on the setting. Regardless, it’s vital for a good occupational therapist to be organized and thorough in order to make sure that their consumers are getting the absolute best care and that no detail, huge or small, is being overlooked.

9. Flexibility

As an Occupational Therapist, you need to be flexible in varieties of fields. When treating patients, you need to figure out which kind of therapy will work best on different kinds of patients. If there are two patients who have back pain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the cause was the same. In such cases, you have to know which therapy will be effective for each of them & treat accordingly.


You also need flexibility with time. Clients cancel and put off appointments, and your everyday routine can change significantly when you work as an occupational therapist. Additionally, one day you may work with all children, and the following day you may not see or treat a single individual below 50. You never know what type of patients you are going to deal with because the troubles that require occupational therapy can occur to anyone. Be prepared for uncertainty, and stay flexible.

10. Excellent writing skills

Finally, you ought to be good at writing. Occupational Therapists need to keep track of patients’ health to see how they’re going. You want to be capable of using proper language and grammar to record detailed files and information of all your patients. By a quick glance at the reports, you should understand what treatments your patients need next. Patients’ reports are also important to other members of your team. So, you need to write professionally yet in simple language, so they can easily comprehend it. By harnessing good writing and documenting skills, you can properly help your patients, their families and your team.

Closing Notes

These are just a few of the important skills needed to be an Occupational therapist. There are other skills as well that might not always needed, but you are highly encouraged to have them.

All things considered, if you think you have what it takes to be an Occupational Therapist, then you can sign up here to know more about the profession. 

December 22, 2020

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