Challenges of Being an Occupational Therapist

Few disadvantages are associated with being employed as an occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy (OT) jobs are constantly in demand around the globe, and OT workers
serve an important role in improving the quality of life for patients and their family members
alike. However, amongst the many benefits, there are a couple of challenges that occupational
therapists and occupational therapy assistants face on the job every day.


1. The Medical Field is Emotionally Stressful

As with many occupations in the medical field, being employed as an occupational therapist
occasionally entails directly dealing with disturbing and difficult cases. These cases can leave
even the toughest individuals stressed out and unable to divide professional lives from personal

Emotional stress as an OT can also come from indirect sources, such as patient’s family
members, and other members of the medical team. Due to time constraints involving a
therapist’s time with the patient, effectively implementing a seamless plan for a patient can be
near impossible. As with all forms of therapy, developing perfect plans from the first draft is often
unachievable without issues along the way. Dealing with negative comments from patients,
family members, and medical professionals about scheduling appointments can add to the
stress level.

2. Occupational Therapy is a Physically Demanding Job

The average day for an occupational therapist involves plenty of bending, walking, stretching,
and lifting when working alongside patients and their environments. From pushing
wheelchair-bound patients to demonstrating to individuals how to use certain assistance
providing devices, an occupational therapist is almost always in constant motion when not
documenting their work.

3. Institutional Barriers May Prevent Desired Results

External factors such as funding and policies may create a dissonance between a patient and
the quality of life they deserve. For example, a wheelchair-bound patient should have access to
a chair that boasts ease of use, and that provides effective assistance is living in their desired
environment. Sadly, wheelchairs are expensive and highly technical devices which are
unaffordable, and therefore unattainable, for many patients.

Depending on the medical environment and location a therapist is working in, occupational
therapists may not have access to a large budget to work with when purchasing items for
patient’s education and development.

4. Long Work Hours Are Common

Occupational therapists are rehabilitation professionals who work directly with the public. Even
once a patient is no longer in the care of a medical facility, an occupational therapist continues
to be directly involved with patient care. Some patients will require extra care, and therapy
sessions can run longer than expected.

Individuals who want to work in occupational therapy jobs should expect to have their schedules
stretched out from time to time.

Although there are some disadvantages of being an occupational therapist, the advantages far
outweigh the sacrifices involved. Occupational therapists assist patients not only with
rehabilitation but also in monitoring their mental and emotional states. These professionals are
compassionate, empathetic, and work tirelessly to ensure the best possible quality of life for all

To learn more about staffing professional and qualified individuals in a healthcare setting, visit
Theraex Staffing today.