This question is similar to 'What is your greatest strength.' Be prepared to hear this question asked in a nontraditional way. If you are unable to pinpoint your best skill or greatest strength, ask friends or a family member what sets you apart. This can also be a skill or training on the job as an Occupational Therapist that doesn't show up on your resume.
"A strength that I would bring to this position is my years of experience working with Geriatric patients. I've worked on a multidiciplinary team treating stroke patients and have seen much success with that patient population."
"If I'm hired, you'll quickly find that I am eager to learn all that I can to become a better Occupational Therapist. I will be willing to put forth the time and effort to see as many patients as I can and work as many hours as I possibly can. I am looking to get as much exposure to wide range of patients early in my career."
"As an experienced Occupational Therapist that has worked in different settings, I would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team here. I truly enjoy mentoring young therapists as they enter the career and, in return, I always find joy in learning new techniques from them as well."
Working to establish the trust of your patients can take some time. Tell the interviewer that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to helping your patients validate their pain and learn to control it. Give a specific example that you have of a patient that was experiencing a high amount of pain and some things you did to help alleviate that pain.
"To help my patients manage their chronic pain, I work on gentle exercises to increase their strength and stamina. I also encourage activities such as as self-hypnosis, meditation, and yoga. Understanding that each persons pain is unique, I always look at the individual as a whole to try and alleviate their pain."
"Knowing that I'll be working with patients that are in pain due to their conditions, I would start by listening to their concerns about their pain and use reflective listening techniques to help build a rapport and trust with them. Once a patient knows that I understand their pain, they will be better able to trust the recommendations for therapy that I have. From there, the course will depend on where the patient is experiencing pain. It is important to make modifications to daily living items that help make the pain as little as possible for the patient."
"Working with patients dealing with chronic pain is something that I have experience with. I begin by assessing the patient's level of pain and look at what aspects of their day to day life the pain effects. One particular patient I worked with had an arm amputated and was experiencing a great deal of pain. On top of the regular modifications in her home that I would work through with an amputee, I worked with her on creating more modifications to alleviate the initial pain she was experiencing."
Openly share how you heard about the job. It may have been online, in the local newspaper, or from a friend. If a current employee told you about the job, be sure to mention their name; it will gain you extra recognition with the interviewer!
"I was recruited from LinkedIn by a Healthcare Recruiter. She reviewed my profile and felt I would be a great match for the position. I wasn't actively looking for a new position at the time, but the duties of this job really convinced me that I was a great fit for this job."
"Getting prepared to graduate from my Master's degree program, my job search was really focused on working in a school setting. My dream in becoming an Occupational Therapist was to work with school aged children. In looking to remain close to my family, this was the first position that I found when searching the internet."
"I learned about this position from a close friend of mine that is a Physical Therapist with this organization. As we were talking at an event, she let me know that the position had just opened and had many great things to say about the job itself and the organization. After hearing her talk, I thought that I would be a perfect fit for the position and the organization would be a perfect fit for my career goals."
Describing your ideal patient gives you an opportunity to also describe your ideal interaction. When a patient is compliant and easy-going, you have a greater ability to do your best work. Without resistance, you can go through your routine smoothly. Your interviewer will be looking to gauge how you interact with patients in a positive manner. For this question, it is important to know the client base that you would potentially be working with.
"A good patient responds to my questions clearly, which helps me to know what's going on and take proper action. When they are relaxed, I can get to know them better, because they feel comfortable sharing information. I am sensitive to every patient's needs, always explaining the exercise before I do it, which helps them feel at ease."
"During my work experience as an occupational therapy student, I really appreciated patients that showed gratitude for the work that I performed with them. These patients were always engaged in their therapy and realized that what we were doing together was important to them. One particular patient sent a nice 'Thank You' card back to our office for my work with her and this was the highlight of my time training there."
"For me personally at this point in my career, I look forward to challenging patients that require my skills to be put to the test. With my current employer, I typically work with the patients that aren't committed to their therapy due to my ability to work closely with them and educate them on the importance of their therapy to their day to day life"
Tell the interviewer how you encourage your clients to participate in their treatment to increase their knowledge about the disease process, show them how to manage pain and related manifestations, and promote their ability to participate in meaningful activities.
"My patients that are suffering from Arthritis benefit from my therapeutic activities and exercises to promote gross and fine motor control, range of motion, endurance, and strength. I've found that together we can improve functional abilities with daily tasks such as self-care, home management, and work and leisure activities."
"Fortunately, I did get the opportunity to work with a couple of patients diagnosed with arthritis during my internship. One particular patient was a manual laborer and was experiencing a high amount of pain in their shoulder due to the diagnosis. The big win with this patient was working with his employer's HR department for workplace accommodations to enable him to keep working on a full-time basis while being pain free."
"When I see a patient diagnosed with arthritis, my main goals are to help them live pain free while still being able to enjoy the things that they love in life. Arthritis can be extremely painful for individuals so I begin by recommendations for adaptive equipment to items around their house. I have worked with patients to get them compression garments to help with their pain while sleeping as well."
The interviewer is looking for a 'YES' from you on this answer. If you have never been part of hiring clinic staff, let the interviewer know but that you would be comfortable doing so. If you have had the opportunity to hire clinic staff, tell the interviewer what your role was. Did you review resumes and determine who would come in for an interview? Did you direct the questions and answers? Where you the one that called candidates for follow-up interviews? Did you conduct phone screenings?
"As an experienced therapist, I was charged in my current role to be a part of interview processes for our clinical staff. I was part of a team that reviewed applications and resumes of candidates and I also participated in the interviews of the candidates. During interviews, I find it important to find out about the candidates both personally and professionally. I also like to focus my line of questioning to candidates on teamwork."
"While not having direct experience with clinical staff, I was a manager of a restaurant during my years in college. While in that position, I screened applicants, conducted phone interviews and coordinated in-person interviews for all positions within the restaurant. I love interviewing candidates and feel I will be great at doing this in a clinical setting as well."
"Not having done this for most of my career, my current manager asked me to start sitting in for interviews for my colleagues moving forward about 5 years ago. Being a small organization, we work very closely as a team of therapists. I had advocated to be a part of the interview process after personal issues with a few hires led to quick turnover."
As an Occupational Therapist, you may treat patients that suffer from the inability to prepare for sleep, stay asleep, fall asleep within an appropriate amount of time, stay asleep for an acceptable number of hours or even struggle with daytime sleepiness. Tell the interviewer how you treat these patients to help them learn healthy sleep habits and routines.
"I currently work with autistic children suffering from disturbed sleep patterns. I've found that weighted blankets, constant praise, and stickers have helped my patients achieve healthy sleep habits."
"If I were to be working with a patient that was having sleep troubles, I would start with environmental factors that influence quality sleep. Things like room temperature, light and noise would need to be evaluated to help the person sleep. Then I would factor in any physical pieces like the mattress or bed modifications for someone with a physical injury. Last, developing good bedtime habits like reduction in caffeine intake, diet and exercise would also need to be considered for the individual."
"To help with a sleep dysfunction in my patients, it's often most important to find the root cause or causes that are causing the sleeping troubles. If all environmental factors can be ruled out, I then turn to personal matters like stress. Stress and anxiety are huge factors in not getting enough sleep. In a recent patient, I found that school was causing major anxiety for the patient and the issue was a lack of confidence in completing assignments on time. In helping them work through simple time management techniques, the sleeping became much easier for the patient."
The interviewer is asking this question to hear more about your passion as an Occupational Therapist. This patient may not necessarily be the one who had the best outcome but might be the person who had the most impact on you. Start off by providing a brief overview of why the patient was seeing you and outline how you were assisting the patient. Next, discuss the successful outcome of the patient defining what made the patient a success in your mind. Finally, mention the positive impact that patient had on you as an OT and how you hope to be able to assist many other patients in the future to achieve the same level of success.
"The most memorable patient from my career was a man that had a leg amputated that I worked with. Upon my first visits with him, he displayed a complete sadness and poor attitude about life due to his new disability. By taking an empathetic approach, I was able to slowly walk him through his therapy to be able to walk with the aide of a prosthetic leg and return to work within a short amount of time. Seeing him walk again and start doing all of the things that he loved about life brought a smile to both of our faces."
"During my internship as an Occupational Therapist in an acute care setting in a large hospital, I was exposed to a wide variety of patients. For one particular stroke patient, my supervising therapist and I developed a home program for the patient to be able to take of themselves in the home environment after the patient was discharged. Based on feedback we received from the home health team in the hospital, the plan was successful right off the bat and this was a huge boost to my confidence as an OT."
"Looking back over my career, I have always been confident in my abilities as an Occupational Therapist. I consider my biggest wins to have come from a mental or emotional perspective with patients while having a great physical outcome as well. One particular patient had come our facility after a bad car accident where she was left with two broken legs. Being a very active person that participate in triathlons, the lady came to us in a very sad state. Upon first talking with her, she feared she would never be able to participate in triathlons or bike races ever again. Knowing that her initial surgeries went well, myself and her physical therapist kept a very positive attitude with her and worked with her during therapies until discharge. Right away, she was able to return to work in full capacity. After rehabbing further, she was back on her bike, running and swimming in no time and she was extremely thankful for the work we had done with her to get her back to her passions in life."
As an Occupational Therapist, you know that stroke survivors face multiple challenges, such as weakness on one side of the body, a decline in cognitive and emotional functioning, social disability, inability to walk and care for themselves, and a decrease in community participation. Tell the interviewer what therapy you would use for a stroke patient to increase their chance of a life of independence.
"I have worked for the last two years with patients that have suffered from a stroke. I understand the importance of emotional well-being, social connections, and healthy life habits for individuals post-stroke. I look forward to bringing my skills to this position to care for stroke patients."
"I haven't directly worked with patients that have suffered a stroke, but I know that an initial assessment is of critical importance to look at their entire life picture. After the initial assessment, I can look at working with them on daily living functions, communication and social well-being. Strokes effect each individual differently so a customized approach is required for each patient that suffers from a stroke."
"In my current home health setting, I have worked with many patients upon coming home after suffering from a stroke. In this situation, it is important to assess the patient's daily living tasks and make arrangements for them to make life as easy and independent as possible. For most patients recovering in their own home, involving the family and caregivers is equally important as well in the recovery of the patient."
For some, administrative duties are the boring part of the job. By completing notes in a timely matter, updating charts and organizing paperwork, your work day will go so much smoother. Let the interviewer know that you are an organized person that excels at administrative duties. An added bonus to this answer would be to mention that you enjoy supporting your administrative staff when they need assistance. Always a great idea to show you're a team player. Here's a sample answer: "Whenever I get some downtime, I like to work with the administrative team at the front desk. I help them answer phones, pull charts and enter notes. I've found that when we all work together the day goes much smoother. I am experienced with several charting systems and know that playing catch-up on charting is not a fun task. Patient notes are key to ensuring that plans are followed and progress is made and I do not take these duties lightly."
"Whenever I get some downtime, I like to work with the administrative team at the front desk. I help them answer phones, pull charts and enter notes. I've found that when we all work together the day goes much smoother. I am experienced with several charting systems and know that playing catch-up on charting is not a fun task. Patient notes are key to ensuring that plans are followed and progress is made and I do not take these duties lightly."
"I pride myself on being a very organized person, both personally and professionally. To be an effective Occupational Therapist, keeping up on administrative tasks is very important. I utilize my Outlook calendar with regularly scheduled patients and use my downtime to stay on top of my administrative tasks. I also make a plan for each day on what items need to be completed outside of regular patient visits."
"Having been in the field for many years, my completion of my administrative tasks has definitely evolved over time. Gone are the days of completing patient notes by hand on paper. I have been very adaptable to changes in technology as the field has moved to electronic record keeping and I'm very computer savvy to roll with these changes. On top of that, I use an online calendar to keep myself organized and on top of things throughout each work day and utilize my down time effectively."
Tell the interviewer about the positive working relationships you and your co-workers developed. The interviewer is not only trying to establish if you have the right skills and knowledge for the job but also how you interact with others. Think about the skills and characteristics your co-workers have that you are grateful for. Keep your answer positive.
"My coworkers would describe me as being kind, helpful, hardworking and good with my patients."
"As I've worked my way through college, my coworkers would describe me as a team player that is willing to help out where needed. I've seen more experience workers not be able to think outside of the box and not willing to help out people outside of their job duties or departments. I see the workplace as many people working towards one main goal and the thoughts and effort of everyone are important."
"If you were to talk to any of my current coworkers, a common theme that you would hear from them is my ability to train and educate my colleagues is above most others. I have mentored many young OT's through my career and in doing so, I have learned many things along the way myself from them. I love being able to help others become as successful as I have in a career as an OT."
Your patients may suffer from sleep dysfunction, stress, be unable to manage their pain or fatigue, experience decreased the range of motion, depression and even anxiety. As an Occupational Therapist, you educate your patients on healthy living and exercises to improve their quality of life. Tell the interviewer about a patient suffering from stress and what tools you gave them to become healthier.
" As a Therapist, I encourage health management behaviors such as smoking cessation, reduced caffeine intake, a balanced diet, and adequate exercise. When my patients apply these changes in their life they will notice their stress level will decrease."
"To help patients that are struggling with stress, I look back on a great seminar I attended during my Master's program and think about how these techniques help me in my personal life. The seminar talked about how studies have shown that artistic endeavors like music, painting, drawing or even cooking help people dealing with a lot of stress ease that burden. These are techniques I would look to use with my patients."
As an Occupational Therapist you may see your patients in the home, community clinics, rehab facilities, schools or physicians' offices. It is important to know the job that you are interviewing for and what the expectations are for seeing patients. Stress to your interviewer that you are comfortable in any situation and talk about the settings that they'll be looking for you to see patients in. Avoid any negative comments about any type of location as you may be expected to see patients there at some point.
"I prefer seeing patients in the clinic setting but am happy to see patients wherever is most comfortable for them. I have worked with patients in their home and at rehab facilities as well."
"During my internship time, I saw patients exclusively in the hospital setting. Moving forward, I am a very flexible person and would love to experience seeing patients in other settings as well. No matter where I am working with a patient, the nuts and bolts of the job at hand are the same. "
"Throughout my career, I've had the opportunity to work in many settings. I started out working in a clinic and hospital setting and then started working in rehab facilities. But my most rewarding times working as an Occupational Therapist have been in a home health setting and that is what makes this position so attractive to me. In the home, I feel that I am the best I can be for patients by being able to assess their home living arrangements and make living life to the fullest easiest for them."
Driver rehabilitation is specialized training that you may have as an Occupational Therapist. Tell the interviewer what experience you have recommending adaptive equipment and encouraging your patients to plan trips to drive only during daylight hours, on well-known routes, during off-peak hours. If you don't have direct experience, let the interviewer know and keep an open option to receiving additional training if the job requires it.
"I'm currently working with an elderly gentleman to help him keep mobile by continuing to drive. Recently we've worked out a plan to identify alternative transportation options to continue community participation because his eyesight and eye-hand coordination has gotten worse."
"As a new graduate, I don't have direct experience with driver rehabilitation. But, in taking a systematic approach to assessment of skills and needs, I feel confident in my abilities to work with patients that have the need."
"Two years ago, I completed a six hour CEU course on driver rehabilitation. The course was great in focusing on the importance driver rehabilitation plays in the lives of elderly citizens and great delivery methods for training. While I haven't been able to put the education into direct use, my skills as an Occupational Therapist will serve great should I need to in this position."
The interviewer wants to know something personal about you that isn't necessarily listed on your resume. Share a hobby or something personal during this interview question. Don't make it too personal, you don't want things to get awkward. It's important for you to stress why this is important to you and how it potentially helps in you in your career as an
"I spend my extra time volunteering with my family. My family and I volunteer with a Veterans home in town. I think it's important to give back to the community and have my kids help as well."
"Outside of work, I am a very active person that works out on a regular basis. I run every day and participate in 10k races whenever I have the opportunity. I have found that staying fit and in shape keeps both my mind and my body refreshed and this keeps me at the top of my game when on the job."
"I grew up in the outdoors running around the woods with my father and grandfather. I spend most hours outside of work hiking, hunting and fishing. My greatest passion in life in trout fishing and I love walking the streams in this area. I find that any time spent outdoors helps keep my mind sharp, focused and refreshed."
When answering this question, you will want to consider qualities that are relevant to this position. Good communication skills, attention to detail, and patient sensitivity are all important characteristics for an Occupational Therapist. Show off your strengths, like having a good attitude when faced with difficulty or being willing to go above and beyond expectations to help someone out. Don't be afraid to brag a little, but keep it relevant.
"My supervisor would describe me as an energetic, hardworking, knowledgeable Occupational Therapist. He would say that I'm always willing to help others and that I love my job."
"My most recent supervisor while I was employed through my Master's degree program would say that I come to work with a positive attitude each and every day, no matter the circumstances. I am a firm believer that the work day goes so much smoother and more productive with a positive attitude and I have found that remaining positive on the job is infectious for all my colleagues."
"I've worked under my current supervisor for over five years and I'm consistently told that my ability to work in a very detailed manner is very much appreciated. In the field of occupational therapy, it is very easy to overlook minute details about a patient that could make or break the effectiveness of their therapy and I pride myself by being able to spot these things by being detail oriented on the job."
Describe some of the aspects of a job and a facility that you enjoy most and why. Are you motivated by the positive attitudes of others? Do you thrive when your boss empowers you by giving you autonomy over decisions? It's important to know what you need and what you want out of a work situation. Share some qualities and attributes of the people and environment that you thrive in. Sometimes it's hard to know if the past places you've been employed were not the best for you. Think about an environment where you feel you will learn and grow best and describe that to the interviewer.
"My ideal work environment is one that inspires and motivates their employees. I thrive on the company of others and having the ability to learn from the experiences of others."
"As a new Occupational Therapist, the environment that I am looking to start in is one where I am given the freedom to learn on the job while also working for an organization that has resources available for me to learn. I feel that I am bringing a lot of knowledge on the career into my first job and now it is important for me to apply that knowledge to a life-long career in the field."
"Having worked for a few different organizations through my career, I have found that I perform my best work in a progressive setting where employees are given the ability to help make decisions on work processes. I am a firm believer that front line employees bring firsthand experience to important decisions and leaders that have empowered me to help in decision making processes have been greatly appreciated."
Be open and honest with your experience on this question. If you have had experience here, talk about how you worked with that particular patient and how you effectively communicated. If you haven't had direct experience working with a non-verbal patient, talk about how you would work with them.
"In my current role, I worked with a patient suffering from aphasia. The patient had a stroke and was unable to verbal communicate upon being admitted. Working with our speech language pathologist, I was able to use a communication board with the patient and they were very receptive to doing to. The arrangement worked out very well and I was in a good place working with a great SLP."
"I haven't had the opportunity to work directly with a patient that was non-verbal due to a physical condition. But, I have received extensive training on the use of technology like communication boards and hand gesturing with patients. If it came down to it, simple pen and paper would work as well as long as the patient was capable to do this."
"In my current role, I have worked with a couple of patients that were diagnosed with ALS that lost their ability to communicate verbally. With these patients, it was vital that I consult with our Speech Language Pathologist to assess the patients needs first. After that, in both cases, the patients were given the ability to communicate with computer aided devices. As their Occupational Therapist, it was important for me to be trained on the device that each patient was using so I could effectively communicate with them moving forward."
As an occupational therapist, you have utilized a wide-range of assessments to help treat your patients. While it isn't necessary for you to dig back through your memory and list ever assessment you have used, try to focus on particular assessments that you've used that will apply to the position that you are applying for. Give your interviewer a broad overview of your history with working with assessments and give some specifics on those that are relevant to the job that you are applying for.
"Throughout my career, I have hands on experience working with a very wide range of patient assessments. Some have been great to work with and others have not. In my current position, I utilize several community living assessments like the 'Community Integration Questionnaire' to help assess a patients ability to participate in their community. I've also used several social interaction assessments like the ESI. I think my experience with these types of assessments make me a great candidate for this position."
"During my Master's degree program, I was exposed to all of the different types of patient assessments and I had hands on experience with many of the assessments that are used in an educational setting during my internship. I feel very comfortable researching and learning new assessments and working with children on any type of assessment."
"Having worked in a school setting for many years, I have experience with many of the different types of assessments for school aged learners. I've performed assessments on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, visual perception, sensory processing, reading, speech, behavior and many others as well. Having worked in a high school setting for many years, I have spoken at conferences about the different vocational interest assessments for students with disabilities."
The field of occupational therapy is a highly sub-specialized field. Your interviewer will be able to find out a bit about you by looking at your resume and hopefully the job that you are interviewing for matches your career interests in the field. Talk in-depth about any specialization that you've done in the field or hope to do so in the future and ensure that your goals match to the job that you are interviewing for.
"As you can see from my past experience, I've been focused for most of my career working with children in a hospital and school setting. As a young Occupational Therapist, I found that I work very well with school age children, making me a perfect candidate for this position."
"As a new graduate, I'm looking to get a broad experience from the start. Through my school program and my internship, I have found that I work well with all populations. I have an interest in potentially pursuing more experience in environmental modification and I believe this position will help me experience that first hand."
"For most of my career, my work as an Occupational Therapist has been very broad. I have found that my best work has occurred working with the geriatric population and that is the specialty area I would like to focus on the remainder of my career. Being that this position works solely with elderly patients in your facility, I am very excited about this opportunity."
Setting goals for patients is an essential function of an occupational therapist. While the interview probably knows that you are efficient and effective at setting goals, here they are trying to determine how you most effectively communicate the goals to the patient and/or their family. Talk about how each patient needs to be evaluated individually and how your communication to them is tailored to their ability to receive and retain the information.
"As an experienced Occupational Therapist that is able to create customized plans and goals for patient, how that plan is communicated is equally important. A patient needs to understand and be on board with the plan and if the patient is unable to comprehend, their family or caregivers need to be the people that understand. If I'm able to communicate directly with the patient, I walk step by step through their goals and explain the importance of each step of the plan. This helps them better understand why we are working on the things that we are. If I need to work with family or caregivers, I use this same approach."
"Communicating the goals of my patient plan and goals is extremely important to help them have an understanding of what their therapy will entail. During my internship, my supervising therapist stressed the importance of putting things in layman's terms for patients to help them understand the process the entire way through."
"As an experienced Occupational Therapist, I've learned that tailoring my communication to each individual patient or their loved ones is important. When I'm working with someone who is of sound mind, I relate to them on their level to help them know and understand the work that we will do together. For patient families that I need to communicate with, I find that educating them on why I do what I do is important to help them understand how their loved one will improve because of my therapy."
Most occupational therapists love their career as it enables them to provide innovative, individualized care to each patient. Think of a single patient that you've worked with where you had to think outside the box to provide a great outcome for that patient. Thinking outside the box can happen in many directions and your interviewer is looking to see what resources and creative problem solving skills you used in one particular situation.
"In working in a home health setting with an older man that recovering from a stroke, I learned from his family that he had been an avid golfer his entire life and was the reigning senior level champion at his golf course. Knowing that he'd be inspired by the sport, I made sure that each session with him ended with us practicing putting strokes in his living room. As well, for aids in the bathroom, the family allowed us to install a modified golf club grab bar in his bathroom for him to utilize."
"During my internship working in a school setting, I was working with an autistic child that was having emotional outbursts while we were working on her fine motor skills in the classroom. In having her family involved in all processes, I learned that music was her favorite getaway for her during her outbursts. In trying to coordinate music and fine motor skills, I began working with her using musical items like a simple xylophone and a guitar. Hearing herself make her own music with own hands and incorporating this into each session really helped her progress to the point where she writing more clearly in the classroom."
"Working with an older man that had recently had a double leg amputation due to diabetes, I quickly found out that he had a lifelong career driving truck. Knowing that life behind the wheel was still important to him according to his children, I worked with his family on helping pay for vehicle modifications like a lift and steering wheel controls and I was very happy to find out that he passed his driving evaluation with the modifications."
With the field of occupational therapy being very sub-specialized, talk about any unique patient groups you've worked with or training that you've had that make your skills to the organization a necessity. It is very important for you to have researched the position you are interviewing and what the patient population looks like. While the interviewer will be able to get some sort of broad sense from your resume, expanding on any specialty areas you are an expert in will go a long way on your answer here.
"As you can see from my resume, I have worked in a hospital setting and home health setting with a high number of geriatric patients. Throughout my career, this has been my favorite patient population to work with because I work so well with them and helping them to meet their needs."
"As a new graduate, my fresh approach to the field and my training in different technologies to help patients in need will be of great use to the team here. I have attended conferences on the use of new technology in the field where things like Nintendo Wii and Virtual Reality are helping OT patients greatly."
"While probably not visible on my resume, I'm glad I'm getting to talk about my experience working with mental health patients. In both the school setting and hospital setting that I've worked in, I had the opportunity to work a lot with patients struggling with mental health issues. I thrived working with these individuals on daily living skills and believe that I could bring a lot of great information and resources to your team for working with this population."
Change is inevitable in any work setting and it is only human nature for a person to disagree with some changes and/or decisions that are made. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to see that while you may not be in agreement with some things, you are adaptable and receptive to changes. Talk about a specific example that has happened in your work career. Let the interviewer know why you initially disagreed and then came to be receptive of the situation.
"In a previous job working in a home health setting, our department had an office setting where we could work out of and call our home base. The decision was made that home health staff, including the therapists, would need to telework from home and have an available internet connection from there. The decision was made because of an expansion of another department and our space was needed without having the initial budget to add more space. My initial disagreement with this decision was based solely on the loss of a team atmosphere. But, in rolling with the punches, the situation made our sense of team even stronger as we remained in constant contact through email and instant messaging and all gathered twice a week for coffee and breakfast in the morning."
"Having not experienced anything directly as an Occupational Therapist, I can speak about the time I was a waitress as I worked my way through my undergraduate program. I had an upset customer at a table I was waiting on that became very rude and disruptive to the staff around them. I was hopeful that my manager would remove them from the premises for being so rude to me and others around them, but she simply went over to the table, apologized and comped his meal for that time. In explaining her decision to me, she thought a better example was provided to the other guests by doing this rather than kicking the customer out. I definitely grew a thicker skin in this situation that I'll be able to use moving forward in my career."
"Having worked in the field of occupational therapy for many years, the biggest change I've personally ever had to deal with the switch from paper records to an electronic records system. Upon the announcement of my organization to go to an electronic health records system, I was mostly scared for the changes it would bring to my workday. I was young in my career and had developed a pretty efficient method to my work madness. As the date drew nearer for us to begin using the new system, I became more receptive to it based on the training we were receiving. Then, upon first using the new system, I quickly realized that my fear of the change was completely unwarranted. Seeing how much more efficient that I could be with my administrative time made me a better all-around OT and for that I am thankful now looking back on things."
Working as an Occupational Therapist requires the ability to stay organized and self-sufficient throughout each work day and work week. Your interviewer is trying to get a perspective on how you handle a large workload and how you react when you become overwhelmed. Point out any specific tools that you use to keep yourself organized and try to bring up a specific example of a time where you were working under a huge workload.
"In my current job working in a home health setting, work days and weeks can be extremely busy. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were facing very inclement weather and my home visits still needed to be made. By keeping my calendar up to date and utilizing it on my smartphone, I was able to contact the patients that I would be running behind on to ensure that they knew I was coming. Without my organized calendar, I would have been lost that week."
"I am a planner by nature and I utilize an organized plan at the beginning of each day. By charting out my regularly scheduled patients each day, I am able to see my downtime ahead of time and make plans to work on any administrative tasks. Being organized like this also enables me to work through any firefighting situations that come upeach day."
"Working in an acute care setting, my work day duties can change on a moments notice. I have an organized system to help manage my regularly scheduled patients that allows me to flexibility to work with the urgent, last minute patients that come to every day. By continuously working my regular patients when I can, I am able to handle any curve balls that are thrown my way throughout the work day."
As an Occupational Therapist, there will be times that you have to work with a difficult patient. The difficulty can happen for many reasons and the interview is looking to see how you handle situations with difficult patients by remaining composed and making sound decisions. The interviewer is also looking to get an idea for what types of patients may be frustrating for you to work with.
"During my time working with patients in a skilled nursing facility, I was working with a particular gentleman that wasn't receptive to any of the treatments that I tried. In taking a step back to get the know the man a bit more, I knew he had a love for the outdoors. After a brief conversation with the nursing staff, I was able to take him outside where he was much more willing to my treatment."
"During my internship working at a large acute care hospital, I worked with an older lady following open heart surgery. Having just lost her husband a year prior and not having much family around, she was in a lost and depressed state of my mind. Her situation brought up many personal feelings in my mind of my grandmother and how I would feel if she were in this ladies position. Taking a more loving approach to this patient and making as much small talk as I could with the patient, she slowly warmed up to me and our therapy time together. Upon her discharge, she hugged me and thanked me for all that I did for her."
"Working with children for many years, the most difficult patient I had to work with really stemmed from his family life around him. The young man was having some serious trouble with fine motor skills and when we worked together alone, it was apparent that he was very receptive. After trying to involve his family, it became quite apparent that they were very disengaged in the life of their child and when a situation like this comes up, it breaks my heart. Knowing I would be his only shot to improve, my administrator allowed me to have extra sessions with him over time and I saw great improvement."
For this question, the interviewer is looking to get an insight to your inner workings and what really drives you to love and be successful in your career as an Occupational Therapist. There is no right or wrong answer to this question so just be sure to be genuine in your response to the interviewer.
"During my high school years, I knew that I wanted a career where I could work with children who were struggling with basic life skills. In researching careers in a college career fair, I learned about occupational therapy and all of the different paths that a career in the field could lead me. In my time working with school aged children, I've never regretted my career path one bit."
"In wanting to work closely with individuals that needed help, I originally thought that Psychology was my true passion. But after entering college and learning more about OT and getting to piece together the mind with the body functions, I knew that occupational therapy was the career path for me. I am so excited to get started in my first real position in the field."
"I grew up in a tight knit family and after my father had experienced a head injury late in his working career, our family was involved throughout his rehabilitation process. Watching the progress that he was able to make with the help of his Occupational Therapist inspired me to bring the same care and treatment to others in the future."
As an Occupational Therapist, you may help identify and implement healthy habits, rituals, and routines to support a wellness lifestyle by addressing barriers and building on existing abilities. Tell the interviewer how you provide information on how to monitor physical health concerns such as diabetes management, smoking cessation, develop strategies to control chronic symptoms, and recognize and respond to acute changes in your patients' mental health status.
"Often times when treating a patient that has had mobility in the past, they suffer from Mental Health Issues such as depression because of the new limitations. I work closely with their mental health provider to support and help them work through their challenges."
"In my Master's degree program, I received extensive training on working with patients who are suffering from mental illnesses. While not having direct hands on experience at this point, I know that promoting good self care and participation in activities are important to helping this population of patients."
"I have had the opportunity to work with patients that were experiencing mental health issues due to their physical diagnosis as well as clients who were diagnoses with mental illness prior to their physical challenge. One of my most favorite patients in my career was a young man with Down Syndrome. He was very high functioning and I worked with him on daily living skills and work skills as he was looking to live on his own and begin working in the community. I was able to work with a large team of caregivers, including his family and social worker, to enable him to live life to the best of his abilities. To this day, we still see each other in the community once in a while and he always brings a smile to my face."
Your patient's feedback will say a lot about you as an Occupational Therapist. Let the interviewer know that your patients would say that you are knowledgeable, kind and helpful. Go ahead and share a brief story about a time you helped a patient and they let you know how much it meant to them.
"My patients would say that I'm a very patient person. I pride myself on being a very patient person, especially with my elderly patients. Sometimes just being patient and taking a few extra moments with them means a lot."
"In the short amount of time that I had direct patient contact during my internship, those patients would say that my kindness and my interpersonal skills were key to being able to build a rapport with them. By building trust and rapport with patients, I am able to better help them in their therapeutic process."
"Consistent feedback that I have received throughout my career from patients is that I am very knowledgeable and helpful to assist in meeting their needs. A recent patient that I am very proud of was an older gentleman that enjoyed gardening and caring for his yard. Through conversations with both the patient and his children, they felt the importance of him being able to continue doing this was very important in his life after a stroke. I worked closely with this patient on being able to use items like a rake, shovel and garden shears and his family reached back out to my organization's CEO to recognize my efforts with their dad."
As an Occupational Therapists, you are a healthcare specialist that specializes in treating injured, disabled or ill patients to regain and improve their mobility and independence. You assess your patient's condition and develop customized treatment plans to help them overcome their limitations so they can lead more fulfilling lives. You work with patients of all ages, from toddlers and teenagers to adults and geriatrics.
It takes advanced training to be able to work as an occupational therapist. Most hospitals and clinics require applicants to have a master's degree in occupational therapy to be considered for the position. Some may only consider candidates with a doctoral degree. Occupational therapists must be compassionate and caring and have excellent communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills. You may interview for positions within a healthcare setting, visiting homes or within an educational setting.
The questions that are asked at occupational therapist interviews go beyond just trying to determine your academic knowledge of occupational therapy. To prospective employers, what is even more important is determining your soft skills and your passion for the job. During your interview, you will show the interviewer with your responses that you genuinely care about rehabilitating the disabled and injured. You will share situations that display the necessary patience and interpersonal skills to handle patients of different ages.