What is an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapists assess and treat patients with physical or psychiatric ailments, to reduce the risk of disability and to help them live their lives as normally as possible. Working with clients of all ages and backgrounds, occupational therapy jobs are some of the most rewarding within the health sector, as you work closely with patients to return them to an independent lifestyle.

Whether the disability stems from a recent accident, a psychological or physical illness or is due to ageing, occupational therapists can help clients overcome the effects using a variety of techniques, exercises and equipment. The role requires the healthcare professional to work with their clients to ensure their end goal is achieved, and there is scope to develop your skillset and move into different specialised positions.

As well as working within the hospital, the role can extend to the wider community – including patients’ homes and local GP surgeries, prisons, schools and nursing homes – wherever therapy is required. The treatment for each client will differ, and may involve:

  • Paediatrics
  • Mental health services
  • Learning and disability

Responsibilities can also include:

  • Research papers
  • Care management
  • Organising equipment for patients’ homes

To qualify for occupational therapy jobs, you must pass an accredited degree at university. Here, you will learn both the theoretical aspect of the profession and gain first-hand experience through placements. Completing the degree will also give you registration to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) – a must for any occupational therapist.