Career Story: Occupational Therapist For People With Brain Injuries

Occupational Therapist For People With Brain Injuries

Job Title: Occupational Therapist

Type of Company: I work for a community-based (non-medical) day program that helps to improve the lives of adults living with brain injury.

Education: BA, Russian •• MS, Occupational Therapy

Previous Experience: I've worked in a large variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, home health and nursing homes.

Job Tasks: My role as an occupational therapist is to design and implement a program that is beneficial to adults who are coping with brain injuries. We offer many groups each day that help "members" to get emotional support, learn skills to compensate for difficulties they are experiencing following brain injury, and improve their daily lives. I also help people on an individual basis to solve problems and cope with their disabilities. Occupational therapists are generally concerned with helping people to live their lives to the fullest and living as independently as possible. We do this through engaging clients in meaningful activities. Brain injury survivors live with a wide variety of challenges including physical disabilities, cognitive deficits, loss of independence, and psychological trauma and depression.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is helping people in very significant ways. Many of our members talk about our program's impact and how it has been an essential resource for them in figuring out a new life living with brain injury. Because we do not get insurance reimbursements (all members pay privately according to their ability to pay), we can use our own judgment as to what type help (and how much) our clients need. We can be truly responsive to their needs. I work with a strong team of co-workers, which is essential to maintaining balance and getting support.

The worst part of my job is that it does not pay well because I work for a non-profit organization. Many other occupational therapists work for much higher wages.

Job Tips:
1. Get exposure to occupational therapy in a variety of settings and with a variety of populations.

2. Consider whether you would enjoy working with people while they are experiencing difficulties.

Additional Thoughts: Occupational therapy is a very satisfying career. I especially enjoy community-based work, but that is difficult to find. Most jobs are related to health care and schools. This career offers many different options and allows people to utilize and incorporate their life experiences, skills and interests. You must enjoy working with people!

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