I first heard about Occupational Therapy through my JC’s career fair talk. After my A Levels, I job-shadowed Occupational Therapists (OT) at a few hospitals. I had not known what it was then, but what piqued my interest at the talk and subsequently sealed the deal through my job shadowing, was “patient-centered care”. In my early exposure to the profession, it impressed on me that every patient is part of a complex network of—amongst other things—personal and environmental factors, medical and social factors, which a therapist should always consider when returning patients back to their meaningful activities, or “occupations”. Enabling these occupations allows patients to perform their roles where they could be someone’s mother, teacher, or caregiver. Considering all these factors made the practice both an art and science which sounded fun and convincing to me.
In school, learning about all the holistic frameworks used by OTs and the various intervention strategies helped me concretise “patient-centered care”. I especially enjoyed clinicals because I could practice what was preached and see results. I could see how the time and energy I put in school would translate to real-world benefits i.e., better patient outcomes. I appreciated how interventions were never prescriptive and up to your imagination, based on your clinical interpretation of the problem. You can think way out of the box yet still be deeply grounded in evidence.
Through training and practice, I feel like being an Occupational Therapist has also encouraged me to be a kinder, better, more empathetic person. When I get tired on some days, it’s always very refreshing and motivating to go back to the purpose of an Occupational Therapist: enabling occupation. I’ve thus never regretted becoming an OT because of how meaningful that is!