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Career Connections: Occupational Therapist

4 minutes

Sometimes I move better than I--

(woman) I work at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in an acute inpatient rehab facility called Dodd Hall. We use assessments and treatments to improve someone's independence and their daily living skills. So, this can be anyone with a mental, cognitive, physical impairment. And it can be simple things like getting dressed and grooming and bathing to higher level things like being in the kitchen and cooking or medicine management, money management. Anything that you have to do in your daily life, we get you back to doing as independently as possible. I've been at the medical center for about three years. I've been an occupational therapist for over five years. The difference between an occupational therapist and a physical therapist would be, we look more at functional activities and include upper body strengthening, fine motor skills-- anything that you need to complete those tasks of your daily living skills. Physical therapy will look more at your ambulation-- your walking, your lower body exercises, endurance, things like that.

(patient) Ativan makes me have-- In the morning, when we get here, the occupational therapist will start a little earlier, and we will meet patients in their rooms, and we practice their morning routines with them. This can be using compensatory strategies or adaptive equipment to get them independent and getting dressed and brushing their teeth and bathing and toileting.

(Albrechta) As the day progresses, we bring them downstairs to the therapy gyms, where we may work on strengthening and conditioning-- anything that would help them get back to being independent. To be an occupational therapist, you need a master's degree. There is a licensing and certification requirement. When you finish your master's degree, you will take a board-certified exam. This is a national exam. And then you're licensed per state. There are many prospects in advancement as an occupational therapist. There's different routes you can take. You can get your doctorate degree in occupational therapy, your O.T.D. Then you could be a professor of occupational therapy. You could do research, if that interests you. I thought of a new neighborhood activity.

(Albrechta) To make yourself a more desirable prospect as a high school student, you can do what I did, where I started out shadowing occupational therapists, to make sure that that's what I wanted to do. Then you can start volunteer work as soon as you get to college or even before. And then the more hours, the better it looks on your application. The thing I like best about being an occupational therapist is how rewarding it is.

(Albrechta) You get to see patients come in at their lowest point, and before they leave, they're so thankful for you. They're improved, they're independent now, they can go home to their lives. It's just a really rewarding job.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

PH:1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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Occupational therapists are critical in helping patients regain, develop, and strengthen essential skills to function in everyday life. Cheryl Albrechta works at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and helps patients improve their daily life skills and increase their independence. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 4 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 7
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12