Various Unique Things Occupational Therapists Love about Their Jobs


An assorted view of the uniqueness of being an occupational therapist

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Ask any occupational therapist and they’ll tell you that their job is unique. Most occupational therapists are excited that they are able to choose their environment, clientele, and specialty throughout their career. Occupational therapy helps various people, ranging from infants to the elderly, with mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. Because OTs and OTAs can work with such a variety of patients, this field offers several unique qualities. We’ve spoken to several occupational therapists and some of their assistants to get their perspectives on the uniqueness of the job. Here’s what they had to say:

Emily Jo Kyburz, MS, OTR, a pediatric occupational therapist for Motor Milestones, Inc. in Boulder, CO said, “I work with kids, and since play is one of the main occupations of childhood, I get to play with kids all day long!” She goes on to say about the uniqueness of her job, “working in home health, I love being able to see children in their natural environment, and I love getting to know parents and families. I get to meet so many amazing people!” Cindy Clark MS, OTR, BCP, CIMI/L with the Amaryllis Therapy Network in Denver, CO agrees, stating, “I play every day and learn something new every day.”

Sarah Tucker, MS, OTR/L, the OTA Program Director at Brown Mackie College – Birmingham and member of the Alabama State Licensing Board, had a hard time boiling down the unique aspects of the job. She tells us, “It is one of the only professions that truly looks at a person in a holistic way. We, as OTs, have the skills to help the person in all aspects of his or her life—emotionally, spiritually—as we address all the roles that are affected by whatever their areas of difficulty may be.”

She also says about the broadness of the profession, “OTs are part of a team from the NICU to Hospice and everywhere in between. We can effectively work in hospitals, school systems, clinics, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, the clients’ homes, in prisons, mental health facilities, community centers, any organization that needs assistance with being more successful in achieving their goals. There are so many aspects of occupational therapy that it is a career choice that can open so many doors for any one that has the desire to help other people and impact the world. Right now, as a Program Director and Educator, I enjoy that I am now able to pass on my knowledge to help prospective OTs succeed in achieving their dreams of helping other people. Being the director of a new, upcoming OTA program is very unique in that I have much responsibility, I have much to learn, but I am able to do it in a flexible and independent way. I am free to use my strengths and my creativity to impact the profession in a broad way. Another unique aspect of my job is that I am still able to use my “OT skills” to help students be successful. I am able to assess where they are at, what their challenges are, and how to help them to become a successful student/graduate/professional.”

Dave Bockhorn, COTA, an occupational therapist assistant at Mountainview Care Center in Las Vegas, believes the most unique thing about being an OTA is “working directly with patients,” while Mindy Wolff MA, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in Denver, CO says, “I love flexibility and uniqueness. I am able to make my own schedule and be a contract employee. I am able to see clients for whom I am a good fit. I love that each case is like a puzzle to solve. No two kids are the same.”

Jennifer Olenwine MOT, OTR/L, the clinical coordinator and clinician at Amaryllis Therapy Network in Denver, says “working in pediatric, I love being able to see children across a variety of settings (school, home, clinic, park). I love working with the children and the parents, really making a difference in their families’ life. I find OT to be a career, not a job. I am able to give back to humanity every day of the week.”

Angie K DeLost, MOT,OTR/L, ATP from Easter Seals Peoria-Bloomington, feels the most unique things about her job include, “knowing that I have affected children’s and their families’ lives in a positive way. I enjoy working with other therapists and counselors who share my passion to help others, and I enjoy the flexibility of the job.” Angie’s colleague Christina M Toohill, MOT, OTR/L, who is also from Easter Seals Peoria-Bloomington, says she likes “the opportunity to go into a family’s home and work with their child and having a team of disciplines to collaborate with and learn from.”

Some OTs and OTAs love the uniqueness of the clientele, while others love the broad scale of the job itself. One thing to take away from what our experts had to say is that being an occupational therapist is rewarding to everyone involved. Occupational therapists are more qualified than other types of therapists in the rehabilitation field to help their clients live their lives to the fullest.