Singaporeans Study: The 5 FAQs About Occupational Therapy
In this week’s Singaporeans Study, let’s take a look at Occupational Therapy (allied health) – something unknown to a lot of people… sad truth 🙁 But we’re here to tell you what OT is!
1. What is Occupational Therapy?
OT is an Allied Health Profession. Its purpose is to take a therapeutic approach to daily activities (occupations) throughout an individual’s lifespan. Occupational Therapists work towards promoting their patients’ health and help people with injuries, illnesses and disabilities to make them live a better life. They are responsible for reviewing their patients’ medical history, evaluate their health condition, and identify specific goals for their welfare. While some therapists work at hospitals, there are also independent occupational therapists who offer OT services.
They work with a range of patients from children to elderly people.
- Children: Help improve children’s motor skills, balance and coordination and thereby assist them to perform well at school and their daily activities in general. They aid children to develop their functional skills, life skills and sensory processing skills.
- Adults: Assist those suffering/recovering from major injuries (usually work-related) to readapt themselves to their job again. They cater to all of the patient’s needs including, physical, psychological, social and environmental.
- Elderly people: Assist them to carry out their daily tasks like dressing, eating, bathing and toileting. In addition to these, they also assist them to stimulate their senses and keep them alive.
2. What are the essential skills to become proficient in this field?
- Imagination: Oftentimes, patients might not understand the need for OT services and hence, it becomes imperative to make the process creative and engaging. Eg: They’d have to come up with creative ways to make the children want to interact with them throughout the whole session.
- Effective Communication: A major part of an occupational therapist’s job involves communicating with the patients, doctors, clinics and other team members. (No communication = no point)
- Nurturing: They’d always have to be caring and supportive while offering the right kind of assistance to their patients. (Do you think the patient can do it if you quit first?)
- Patience: It is for sure that you are going to work with patients who might sometimes be rude, impatient, frustrated and stubborn. Without high level of patience, you might (most likely will) feel demotivated and just want to be away from all the negative vibes. Just be patient, good things take time.
3. Where can you study to specialize in Occupational Therapy?
University of Plymouth (United Kingdom)
Ranked #5 out of all Occupational Therapy courses in the UK, Plymouth University offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this field of study. Courses under this subject are accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. Moreover, the programme is delivered by a group of internationally recognized, research-active Occupational Therapists. Therefore, students can be guaranteed to benefit from the best.
Curtin University (Australia)
This university offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Occupational Therapy. The department has invested around $9 million over facilities and has laboratories, learning spaces, resource rooms to help students practice the essential skills for person-centered, client-centered and family-centered care. These courses are recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.
University of South Australia (Australia)
This university has over 50 years of experience in offering courses in Occupational Therapy. This is also the No.1 university in South Australia for graduate careers in Occupational Therapy. The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) course provided here is the only accredited four-year undergraduate occupational therapy degree in South Australia. Students pursuing Occupational Therapy courses from this university will learn from award-winning teaching staff, academics, researchers and practicing health professionals.
The University of Queensland (Australia)
UQ is one of the leading schools for health and rehabilitation sciences in Australia. Their Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) is accredited by the Occupational Therapy Council, World Federation of Occupational Therapy. Students learning Occupational Therapy at UQ will learn through lectures, tutorials, online study and fieldwork. Students will also undertake more than 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice in hospitals, educational facilities, healthcare organizations and occupational therapy clinics.
Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand)
The Occupation Science and Therapy department at the Auckland University of Technology is part of their Health Sciences branch. AUT is the only university in New Zealand to offer courses in Occupational Therapy. The department works toward increasing health professionals’ knowledge of humans as occupational beings and the various complexities and connotations of occupations. AUT offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this field of study. Students can benefit from the North Campus clinic and get practical training with cutting-edge technology at the AUT Integrated Health.
4. What does the future of occupational therapy look like?
Today, occupational therapy is considered a significant aspect of contemporary healthcare services. Between the years 2014 and 2019, there has been a drastic increase in the number of people working as Occupational Therapists. The number increased from 11,300 to 16,300 in just these five years. Currently, occupational therapists’ job requirements are predicted to increase by 16 percent between 2019 and 2029. In the upcoming years, this number is also expected to grow further as this field will continue to play an important role in the treatment of people with various illnesses and disabilities.
5. What is the status of occupational therapy in Singapore?
To enable a future-ready healthcare system, the Ministry of Health announced a range of new study programmes. They are also looking to reduce the amount of time mid-career individuals spend in training. As part of this initiative, the Singapore Institute of Technology has opened applications for an accelerated PCP in occupational therapy. This will allow those who already have a degree in any science-related field to finish the professional conversion programme in around 3 years instead of 4 years.