Tips to Incoming MOT Students
I’ve only been in school since January, but based on what I have already learned (or been explicitly told), here is what I would want to tell incoming students so far:
1. LEARN your anatomy. Don’t learn it to pass the test and then forget it, learn it to remember it. Especially the forearm and hands.
2. DON’T WAIT to be taught basic clinical observation skills. Watch everyone. Go people watch in the park. Figure out the dominant hand of your cashier. Observe how people hold their pens. Note odd or unusual characteristics. The more you practice observing people, the easier it will become. Then it won’t be so hard in the clinic. (This is probably my favorite piece of advice, thanks Ashley!)
3. BE OPEN to interdisciplinary learning. You’ll learn a lot from speech therapists, physical therapists, doctors, nurses, parents of children with special needs, etc. Play on youtube.com (type in autism), read blogs, read books by people with disabilities like Temple Grandin. Realize you can apply just about everything to your OT knowledge base.
4. BE FLEXIBLE. You may swear you will never work in peds or geriatrics, but stay open-minded while on fieldwork. You may end up loving it, even though you would not have imagined that in a million years.
5. KEEP COPIES OF EVERYTHING! That includes the application process while getting into school, as well as everything you do in school. This can be important if anything gets lost, and it can also help show your professional development.
6. THE OT WORLD IS SMALL. Don’t burn bridges and don’t gossip about other therapists. Everybody knows each other or WILL know each other. Remember that from Day 1.
7. WATCH OT/PATIENT INTERACTIONS. Sometimes it is too easy to only focus on the physical actions of the OT with the patient. Also try to take note of the psychosocial interactions. How does the OT motivate the client, especially when the client is grumpy or noncompliant? How does the OT decide what tactic to use? It’s all a psychology game.
That’s it for now, hopefully others will chime in with their tips???
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