On the Job
Recreational therapists plan and carry out treatments and activities for patients.
People love hobbies. Popular pastimes include gardening, biking, sailing, and painting. Some people toss Frisbees on Sunday afternoons while others play the ukulele. Have you ever considered that activities like these can help people overcome physical or mental disabilities?Recreational therapists use many different leisure activities to treat patients. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, and other health care institutions.
Recreational therapists plan and carry out treatment services or activities using a variety of methods. Recreational therapists try to plan activities around patient interests as well as their needs. Their overall goal is to keep their patients physically and mentally healthy. They help patients function as best they can in their community.
Many recreational therapists use arts and crafts, dance, drama, music, and games to keep patients active. They may offer instruction in stretching and breathing techniques. They also talk with patients and listen to their reactions to help ease any depression, stress, or anxiety.
Recreational therapists usually work with doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and physical and occupational therapists in setting up treatment for patients. They examine patients' prior medical records and also talk to family members. They develop detailed treatment plans and make changes where needed. An important part of their job is to keep track of patients' progress. Recreational therapists often meet with other medical staff to talk about how patients are doing. They also keep detailed records and write reports.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Make changes in patients' treatment when needed.
- Talk with patients about their needs, abilities, and interests in order to develop their treatment plan.
- Create treatment plans for patients that include several different activities.
- Help patients become interested in leisure activities and developing new skills.
- Talk about patients' treatment with doctors, nurses, and other related health care workers.
- Hold therapy sessions to improve patients' mental and physical well-being.
- Instruct patients in activities designed to help them feel better, such as sports, gardening, music, or art.
- Gather information from medical records, family members, and other medical staff.
- Plan and participate in patients' treatment programs and activities.
- Prepare reports on patients' activities and progress.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Assist and care for others.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Think creatively.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Document and record information.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Develop goals and strategies.
- Develop and build teams.
- Work with the public.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Coach others.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social contact with patients and other workers.
- Communicate with coworkers and patients daily in person or by telephone.
- Work in a group or as part of a team.
- Deal with patients who may be violent from drugs or are psychologically disturbed on a daily basis.
- Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of patients.
- Communicate with coworkers and patients weekly by writing e-mails, letters, or memos.
- Often deal with unpleasant or angry people.
- Are often placed in conflict situations.
- Write letters and memos on a weekly basis.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by other therapists and assistants.
- Work indoors and outdoors.
- Are often exposed to diseases or infections from patients. They may wear safety attire in these instances.
- Work very near patients. They often work within inches of other people.
- Are sometimes exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting an uncomfortable.
- Are sometimes exposed to contaminants.
- Must be sure that their work is accurate. Errors could seriously endanger patients' health.
- Repeat the same tasks and physical activities.
- Often make decisions that affect patients. They may act independently, but often consult others before deciding a new course of action.
- Are usually able to set their tasks for the day without consulting with a supervisor.
- Must meet strict daily deadlines.
- Generally have a set schedule each week.
- May work part time or full time, but most work 40 hours a week.
- May work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Sit for long periods of time.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects whether they are nearby or far away.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Move arms and legs quickly.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.