Whether you’re at a bar or visiting your relatives, you’ll probably have to explain your career as an occupational therapist more than once. As you know, occupational therapy is far from simple. In fact, the term often misleads people who don’t know much about it. Read on for our list of popular occupational therapy myths you may hear when talking about your profession. Knowing what to expect should help you debunk some common misconceptions and help people realize how important your hard work truly is.
Occupational Therapy Myths
Occupational Therapy is Job Therapy
Let’s start with a fun one. Believe it or not, some people take the term “occupation therapy” literally. They think that occupational therapists assist people with their careers and help them find job opportunities. If someone comes to you with their resume, you can kindly explain to them that you actually work in health care and help patients become more independent in their day to day lives. Once you’ve explained that, you can direct them to a career counselor.
Occupational Therapy is Physical Therapy
Another common misconception is that occupational therapy is the same as physical therapy. While both seek to improve a patient’s quality of life, occupational therapy focuses on the needs of a patient to help them to live a more independent life. You can give examples of tasks such as helping patients dress and complete daily household tasks. It’s also important to note that physical therapists focus on improving individuals gross motor skills and mobility while OTs focus on fine motor skills.
Occupational Therapists only help certain people
One of the most popular occupational therapy myths is that therapists only assist elderly or disabled people. As you probably know, this is not correct. When faced with this notion, you can explain that you work with patients of all ages and abilities. You can share stories about newborn babies showing abnormal development patterns, children struggling to tie their shoes, a 29-year-old with a broken hand, and stroke victims learning to get dressed again. This will give others a better idea of how many people you help as an occupational therapist.
Occupational Therapy is repetitive
Despite some people’s beliefs, occupational therapists work with a large variety of people and environments. Each person and place comes with its own challenges, and it’s very possible that you’ll learn something new about yourself every time you complete an assignment. To help others understand how complex occupational therapy can be, walk them through your experiences with three different patients. They’re sure to understand that there’s never a dull moment while working as an occupational therapist.
Occupational Therapists only work in hospitals
Some people think that occupational therapists only work at hospitals. This is not true. Whether or not you’ve worked elsewhere, I’m sure you know that occupational therapists are able to work in many different health care settings throughout their careers. Some places you may work as an occupational therapist are outpatient clinics, nursing facilities, schools, or private patient homes. This means that there will always be a favorable job market for occupational therapists. Plus, working in a variety of facilities helps you gain valuable skills and expand your impact on more patients.
Occupational therapy may not be simple, but it can be incredibly rewarding. You encourage growth in your patients and get to watch them improve with each day. So, who better to debunk some common occupational therapy myths than you? Sharing your stories and experiences can help other people understand just how important occupational therapy is.
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