Occupational Therapy Assistant Reqs.
Do you like helping others? If the answer is yes, you are off to a good start! Becoming a successful Occupational Therapy Assistant requires certain skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. (However, completing a OTA program is still required. Learn more about accredited OTA programs.) Yet, to truly flourish in this healthcare career you should really possess these four Occupational Therapy Assistant requirements:
- Communication Skills
Interacting with patience and Occupational Therapists on a daily basis, being able to appropriately and effectively communicate messages is imperative. Equally as important, COTAs must be able to listen to their patients and understand and process the functional challenges they are experiencing. After all, communication is a two-way street! Thus, before responding, the professional must then critically think about each case and determine how to respond both clearly and effectively. This communication process will vary depending on the patient, especially seeing as COTAs help treat patients of all ages and with an array of functional needs.
- Problem-solving Skills
As a COTA, problem-solving skills are essential because rarely are two cases the same. Across the field, functional challenges vary greatly from one patient to another and COTAs must be able to efficiently assess each patient and work with their supervising Occupational Therapist to determine effective treatments. Sometimes these treatments may even require a COTA to be resourceful or to use their own physical strength to assist in moving or guiding a patient. By responding to each patient’s individual circumstances, OTAs are helping to use their learned strategies to ultimately remedy a patient’s physical difficulties.
- The ability to understand
They say “patience is a virtue”, but we think that really, so is empathy and kindness. All three of these qualities are essential of a COTA. Not being able to function to the fullest can be extremely challenging for occupational therapy patients, so they need their COTA to be able to imagine how they feel in these moments.
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Especially when patients enter a facility or practice as pessimistic or frustrated, they unknowingly rely on COTAs to fill them with support and the courage to continue treatments. Regaining function may take a while, but going through a treatment plan with an understanding healthcare team can make all the difference. If you do not genuinely care about people, a career as a OTA is not a good fit. Oppositely, if you love helping others, this may be the perfect career match.
- Organizational Skills
Dealing with patients and appointments, COTAs must possess organizational skills. These skills deal with both time management and productivity. For example, COTAs need to be able to confirm when a patient is available and match their availability with that of their own. If patients are “double-booked,”, they may become frustrated and upset.
Additionally, OTAs must be aware if some patients will require longer appointments than others, as each patient’s needs do vary. This is why keeping time allotment extremely well organized and planned out is helpful. Patient assessment/reassessment should also be kept track of in an orderly fashion to ensure that each appointment has the appropriate focus and with the end goal in mind. Overall, a COTAs organization is an important measure to help ensure that all patients are receiving the highest quality of care, without any elements of their health or wellness being overlooked.
Possess all four of these characteristics? The next step is applying to a Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Learn more about these programs and how to apply.
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