“The days are so long, but the years are so short.”Gretchen Rubin.
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of an Occupational Therapist looks like?
Are you considering applying to Occupational Therapy school and want to know what your future can look like?
Are you an occupational therapist considering switching to pediatric or mental health settings?
Well, look no further because I will share with you what a day in the life of an Occupational Therapist looks like!
I work full-time in a school setting and part-time at a behavioral hospital on weekdays. My work days are over nine hours, but I am grateful to have weekends off.
Balancing my roles as an Occupational Therapist, mother, and blogger can be tricky, but it is doable. A single mom working two jobs equals a busy season, but I am learning a lot and don’t intend it to be long-term.
Every day looks different, but this is an average day for me. You have to be flexible and willing to adapt.
This Post Is All About a Day in the Life of an Occupational Therapist
5:15 am – The first alarm goes off, but I will likely fall asleep.
5:30 am – Second alarm goes off, and I start my daily Sudoku challenge
5:45 am – Third alarm goes off, and I get out of bed to head to the bathroom, where I take out my retainer and brush my hair. I start to make coffee in my Keurig. I can’t drink my coffee black, so adding half and half is a must. While I wait for it to brew, I put away the clean dishes in the dishwasher and fill up the cat bowls with water and food.
5:50 am – Lately, my go-to breakfast is the acai bowls from Costco. While I wait for my daughter to wake up, I enjoy my coffee and acai while working on my blog.
6:15 am – My daughter is up by now, so I get her breakfast and turn on her songs. We eat breakfast together at the table.
6:30 am – Now it’s crunch time, which means taking medicine, getting dressed, brushing and styling hair, brushing teeth, filling in my eyebrows, putting on deodorant, filling up my Stanley cup, and cutting up an apple for my snack.
7:15 am – This is the time when I know we need to head out the door. I round up my purse, our jackets, and anything I need to take to work.
7:20 am – We are in the vehicle, ready to head to daycare and work. I find a good podcast or music to listen to on the drive.
7:25 am – We arrive at daycare. My daughter insists on walking now instead of letting me carry her. I check her in and get her settled at the table with her Minky blankie so she can eat her second breakfast with her friends. I give her teacher any updates and say my goodbyes.
7:35 am – I drive to work and resume listening.
7:45 am – I arrive at work and clock in. I get settled at my desk before heading to the teacher’s lounge for my second cup of coffee.
8:00 am – I drink my second cup of coffee and check my Google calendar. I attend Child Study Team (CST) meetings with administration and related servers on Thursdays from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. I use this time for paperwork for IEPs especially writing OT evaluation reports and for treatment planning. I am really into making interactive PP based on one emotion.
9:00 am – Take the second dose of my ADHD medication.
9:35 am – This is when I see students using the “pushing in” model in the classroom. Research has shown this to be the most effective method for generalization as opposed to “pulling out.” (I still use this if a student does better one-on-one).
10:10 am – I return to my office to write the note(s) and update our caseload tracker. I forget if I don’t document immediately and want the most accurate data.
10:30 am – Now I am off to see the next round of students and consult with their teachers.
11:00 am – I heat my frozen lunch and work on notes. I’m not too fond of this habit, but it saves me a lot of time and money and allows me to walk during my lunch break.
11:20 am – Go on a mile-and-a-half walk while listening to podcasts or audiobooks. Walking has done wonders for my attention and frustration management skills.
11:50 am – This time is probably my busiest because of the two advisory periods, and it’s typically when IEP meetings are held, so I use this time to prep accordingly. There are some days when I have three IEP meetings, but it’s usually one a day with how many students are on the OT caseload. If I run a group, I ensure I have all the materials, like printed worksheets, and the teachers have a copy of the PP to present.
12:15 am – This is the middle school advisory time, so I constantly see students.
12:50 am – This is the high school advisory time, so I constantly see students.
1:20 pm – I catch up on the notes from seeing students back to back.
1:50 pm – After finishing my daily notes (they are my top priority), I take this time to score evaluations for evaluations or continue treatment planning. Then, if I feel tired of sitting at my desk, I clean and organize my desk or the OT room.
3:15 pm – Clock out of work at my first job and drive to my second job.
3:30 pm – Clock in at my second job
3:35 pm – Get settled in the office and check the new patient admitted to my two units. My second job is transitioning to an electronic documentation system, but the evaluations are on paper. I write the new names on the evaluation paper and sign off on the computer.
3:40 pm – I head upstairs to deliver evaluations to my two units. I added their chart stickers to stay organized and know who needs to complete their evaluations. I explain it to each patient, and they fill it out.
4:30 pm – I collect all completed evaluations and assign goals based on their responses. I sign and file it in their patient charts. If I don’t receive an evaluation back or if the patient is asleep, off the unit, etc. I document that and try again tomorrow.
4:45 pm – I clock out of my second job and grab dinner from the cafeteria. One free meal is such a huge perk of working at a hospital! I love not having to cook; it saved me so much on my grocery bill.
5:00 pm – I leave my second job to pick up my daughter from daycare.
5:20 pm – I arrive at the daycare and pick up my daughter to head home.
5:30 pm – We make it home after a long day. I check my mail or pick up packages if I need to. Then, my daughter and I eat dinner together.
6:00 pm – I bathe my daughter, brush her teeth, put on pajamas and lotion, heat her snuggle sloth, Facetime family, and read her bedtime books.
7:00 pm – I tuck my daughter into bed. I clean up the kitchen and work on my blog for a bit.
7:30 pm – I take a shower and get ready for bed.
8:00 pm – I play on my phone until I drift asleep. I go to bed super early because I wake up early and require a lot of sleep to function.
That’s a wrap on the day in the life of a School-Based Occupational Therapist. Thanks for checking out the blog!
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