Career outlook for occupational therapist
UK Salary Ranges
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
You would motivate and support people to overcome physical difficulties caused by physical or mental illness, an accident or ageing. You’d help people lead full and independent lives and, where possible, prevent disability.
Working with your patients on a one-to-one basis, you’d create a treatment and activity programme to suit each person.
For example, you could:
- Teach an older patient recovering from a stroke how to dress themselves
- Support someone who has depression to take up a hobby or activity
- Suggest ways to adapt an office so a person injured in an accident can go back to work
- Help someone adjust to permanent disabilities
You would keep notes about their progress. You’d advise and support patients, and their families and carers.
The people who need your help may be angry, disappointed or frustrated because of their circumstances. You’d need to be able to motivate and encourage them. You’d need to understand people’s priorities and lifestyles and devise treatment programmes to suit each person's needs and lifestyle.
Some patients may have conditions such as motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis, which means that they gradually become less mobile and more disabled. You would try to encourage a positive attitude, which can help people stay active for as long as possible.
With experience, you could specialise in an area such as:
- Burns or plastic surgery
- Cardiac or stroke rehabilitation
- Orthopaedics (spinal injury)
- Community disability services
- Mental health
You could work with patients for several months or just for a few sessions. You would often work as part of a team of professionals, including physiotherapists, nurses and social workers.
You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Occupational therapist page on the NHSScotland Careers website.
UK employment status
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- Verbal communication
- Problem solving
- Social conscience
- Developing a plan
- Motivating others
- Taking responsibility
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