Thursday, May 5, 2011

No Stress

When I am procrastinating from doing work sometimes I will do a Google News search for occupational therapy. A while ago I found a few articles talking about how occupational therapy is one of the lowest stress jobs around. It stated that most job stress is caused by high expectations in the workplace. This got me to thinking do occupational therapists not exert pressure on themselves or do they think failing is okay or does occupational therapy just not have a lot of inherent stress.

When I first thought of occupational therapy it did not seem like a low stress job to me. One is working with individuals that require patience to work with. Quite possibly that is just an issue for me. I am a go, go, go person and I pretty sure one of the hardest parts of this career for me will be sitting on my hands and letting the patient do their occupation without interference. Many of the clients will also have issues communicating. Someone trying to convey a point and me having no idea; that is one of the most frustrating things in the world. However, I do believe there is a difference between frustration and stress. Often the two are inter-tangled, but there is a difference. I think frustration is caused more by when you want to something but you can't, and stress is caused by needing to do something and you can't. Maybe there is more inherent frustration than stress.

One of the reasons I suggest that occupational therapy might not be a high stress environment is because occupational therapists do not exert pressure on themselves. I would say this is a possibility because moving up the ladder is not the way occupational therapist measure accomplishment. However, I believe most occupational therapist have the stress of helping as many people they can without sacrificing their own life. Often an occupational therapist will see patients that run out of insurance, money, or time and they will want to help. However, the therapist still needs to bring a paycheck home and spend time with family or friends or whatever they desire to have a full life. I also believe most occupational therapists exert pressure on themselves to create successful treatments for the clients. I believe occupational therapists exert pressure on themselves, but they do in different ways than other careers focused on upward mobility.

So I have covered my theories of inherent stress, and not exerting pressure, so I guess the final theory to consider is that occupational therapists think it is okay to fail. This may seem like a strange theory, but working in any field there is not a success rate of 100%. In this particular field, full recovery might not be achievable. So not so much that it is it okay to fail, but ok not to succeed. I don't really believe that is the case either because I feel like at least I as an occupational therapist I will want my patients to overshoot their goals if possible. I also think occupational therapy is such a goal setting job that failure would not just be water off the duck's back.

I do feel like one of the reasons that occupational therapy is a low stress job is because high tolerance people take the jobs. Compassionate, patient people take this career path because it is what they believe they are best suited for. This career demands a lot, but people know that going in and self-select. Ok, that was a lot of rambling. I am not saying occupational therapy is a horrible or tremendous job (that is for you to decide), but this was just my thinking process when I read the article and looked at others saying similar things. I have read about 5-6 articles saying OT is a low stress job. I have just taken my last final and my graduation issue got fixed, so as long as I get at least a C in everything I will be golden! Hope you are having as much luck.

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