These 20 hilarious GIFs describe exactly what it’s like to be an occupational therapist (ups and downs included).

1. That moment when you finally get to treat patients without needing a cosign on your notes. Score!

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2. Then, you’re on such a roll that you get a tad overzealous—and prescribe your patient nearly every exercise in the HEP program.

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3. But, you know it was worth it when your patient meets his or her long-term UE dressing/undressing GOOOAL!

4. You need those wins. Because in just a few hours, you’ll be bracing yourself for battle with an insurance provider that has denied coverage for a child’s much-needed OT services.


5. That’s why it’s always a treat when your coworker practices a new manual technique on you; you finally get to breathe a sigh of relief!

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6. And that satisfaction is almost as sweet as when your patients take ownership of their adaptive equipment training.

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7. Or, when they master their morning ADLs.


8. Or, best of all, when patients get to return home to the people—and pets!—they love.

9. Those wins are some of the best parts of being an occupational therapist. So, when people question why they need an OT, your gut reaction is:


10. Of course, there are those times when you go a little crazy trying to remain upbeat for your patients.

11. And you might have to deal with the occasional very angry patient who isn’t afraid to give you a piece of her mind for calling on her before breakfast.

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12. Which compels you to give that patient some tough love.

13. And that isn’t easy for OTs. (We just want to be friends with everyone!)


14. All of those feelings make you long for the days when you were an OT student—and all of your “patients” were compliant.

15. But, OTs don’t always have to go it alone. You also get the opportunity to collaborate with some pretty awesome PT and SLP professionals.


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16. And as a bonus, you get to work alongside the rest of the patient’s medical team.

17. But, the best moments of being an OT are the ones where you get to do what you do best: help people regain their independence.

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18. That’s why you hang in there when your license renewal deadline sneaks up—and you need to cram in the last remaining continuing education hours.

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19. Or, when it’s the end of the day, and you just want that documentation done.


20. It’s all worth it on those days when you get to come home and do a happy dance, because you’ve been able to holistically care for your patients and help them participate in their lives with more meaning and dignity.

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L, is the founder of OT Potential, a website where she strives to create needed resources for occupational therapy practitioners. When she’s not thinking about OT, Sarah can be found enjoying small-town life or frantically finishing her next book club book.

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