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I have always admired my uncle. Since my childhood, I loved his outgoing personality and the way he communicates with people. My dad was a diplomat, and he loved to travel with my mum, most of those trips were outside the country. They did not like the idea of travelling together with my sister and I, as they thought this would jeopardize our academics. Therefore, every summer holiday, my sister and I would go to stay at my uncle’s place, since our parents attended to their demanding career. I had a good chance to interact with my uncle, who was a pediatrician. I liked much of what I knew about his occupation, and that is how my desire to pursue a medical profession began. As I grew up, I discovered more things related to medicine and all of them became interesting to me, some, however, made me more confused.
A year after graduating from school, I got an acceptance letter from King Abdullah Program in Germany. However, before joining the program, I changed my mind and chose to study health science in the USA. After successfully finishing my language course, I applied for Pre-Med and Health Sciences course at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. My application was successful. The Health Sciences program is designed for the first year after which campus-based students who are interested in healthcare business are transferred to their areas of interest. After the first year, I got more interested in pursuing a specialty in occupational therapy.
Overview of the Profession
People with certain complications that often arise due to illness, severe injuries, developmental delays, and psychological trauma often require help to perform basic tasks that they were able to perform before. Occupational therapy is a form of treatment, aimed at helping such people to live independent, productive and fulfilling lives. It involves helping patients develop:
- personal care skills, such as dressing and undressing, eating and bathing
- Personal management skills, such as signing important personal documents like bank statements
- Physical fitness, for example, maintaining proper posture and joint movements, as well as flexibility
- Skill to protect joints and conserve one’s energy
Such a training involves learning to use such assistive devices as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, crutches, orthotic devices, to help move from one destination to another. It also involves computer software and hardware, for example, programs to recognize voices, screen readers, and enlargement applications, which help people with disabilities in mobility and sensory, use computer technology. There are also high-performance wheelchairs, designed for sporting activities such as athletics, basketball and other indoor games.
According to tertiary institutions in Ohio State, which offer programs in occupational therapy, any person interested to be an occupational therapist must have a minimum qualification of a master’s degree. Occupational therapy assistant programs at associate’s degree level. Practical experiences like clinical and internships are a requirement too. Students are licensed to proceed with the program after passing a state-approved program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Upon the completion of the program, occupational therapists and their assistants must pass their respective certification exams administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.
Occupational therapy, as a career, is projected to rise by 29% between years 2012 and 2022. Such growth is higher than the average of all occupations, hence, an indication that occupational therapy will maintain to be a relevant part of treatment for patients with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, autism, Alzheimmer’s and loss of limbs.
My choice to pursue occupational therapy was inspired by my childhood dream to become a healthcare practitioner. I strongly believed that healthcare was an area I would greatly soar high career-wise, especially after admiring my uncle. I get much fulfillment in helping people discover, develop and achieve their talents to their potential, which would also be of great advantage to my career as an occupational therapist. Through my social skills, I wanted to work in places where I could not only engage my patients in what they consider important, but also involve them in doing things that enhance improvement of their conditions. My desire to work in places that support research and innovation was also a major contribution for me to settle on pursuing occupational therapy. Having learned to be patient with people, is a powerful quality that will help me excel in this career.
However, I also acknowledge the fact, it will not be easy to work with certain personalities, but with time, I will get used to it. Besides all the good things that can be mentioned about occupational therapy, there are also challenges likely to encounter in practice. For instance, occupational therapy being an emerging specialty, there are many misconceptions in society about it. For example, the role of occupational therapists towards full recovery of the patient, is often undermined, as compared to the role of medical doctors.
Occupational therapy is an interesting career I would like to pursue. From the admissions requirements, I am on the right track to becoming an occupational therapist. My grade point average is fine even though I am working to raise it up so that I do not risk losing my chances to pursue the course. Being a student on full scholarship, I believe the cost of pursuing occupational therapy at any institution of my choice will not be a challenge.