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Occupational Therapist Job Description
After an illness, a fall or an accident, people may have to be retrained in basic body and mind functions that they could do earlier without any effort. An Occupational Therapist helps patients with physical, mental or developmental disability to regain functions and work skills required for daily living. They work with patients to regain lost functions, partially or fully. The ultimate goal of an Occupational Therapist is to overcome disabilities and restore normal functioning in patients to enjoy independent and full lives.
An Occupational Therapist works in rehabilitation centers. They guide patients with movements and help them with the use of various rehabilitation machines and tools. Their duties are to:
1) Study the report of the physician and consult regarding the patientís disability.
2) Design a rehabilitation plan and explain the same to the patient and his family members.
3) Work on patients to develop strength, dexterity, mental abilities and neuro-motor functions.
4) May have to assist patients in regaining memory skills, perceptual abilities, decision making abilities and reasoning ability.
5) Improve movement in serious cases where patients lose total body movement due to spinal cord injury.
6) Patients with serious conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy may need different kind of rehabilitation.
7) May have to visit patients work place to design special rehabilitation program to facilitate movement.
8) Develop computer aided modules to train and improve patientsí mental abilities.
9) Train patients about the uses of various machines and tools to improve body strength and coordination.
10) An Occupational Therapist specially trained in driver rehabilitation will assess the driving ability of a rehabilitated patient in clinical conditions as well as on the roads.
Knowledge and Skills:
1) Occupational therapists must have good design skills.
2) Must have the ability to decide clearly which exercise will be appropriate for a particular loss of function.
3) Good computer skills to design learning and practice modules for mental function rehabilitation training.
4) Power to motivate patients to keep trying.
Educational Qualification and Experience:
1) A masterís degree in occupational therapy and a certificate from the national level certifying body, is essential for this position. Students will be eligible to appear for the licensure certificate only if they have studied in an accredited institution.
2) Students have to major in anatomy, biology, psychology, sociology and anthropology and other related fields.
Salaries and Benefits:
1) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an Occupational Therapist earns a median wage of $66,780 in 2008.
2) They are entitled for benefits as determined by their hospital or clinic, where they are working.