When Occupational Therapy Runs into Occupational Bureaucracy

Creativity is the hallmark of successful occupational therapy. In fact, ask any therapist to describe the best occupational therapist jobs available, and they are likely to tell you about jobs that give therapists as much freedom as possible to accomplish their goals. Unfortunately, things do not always work out the way therapists intend. Especially when occupational therapy meets occupational bureaucracy.

One such case of occupational bureaucracy was recently uncovered in New York City. According to AdvanceWeb’s Iris Kimberg, a rather successful occupational therapist employed by the city school district was suspended without pay for 30 days after an investigation revealed she helped one of her patients establish a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to write a book and make a film about his disability.


It should be noted that the investigation was not originally targeted at the therapist or the work she does for the city school district. It was originally intended to uncover cheating on tests and find record-keeping problems. When the investigation revealed the Kickstarter campaign, the therapist was accused of theft of services for using school computers to send out e-mails promoting the campaign.

If the investigation and suspension are not bizarre enough, the episode is made even more so by the fact that the entire school and its administration was behind the campaign from the start. The school regularly sent out e-mail notices supporting the campaign and apprising donors on the progress being made. Why the school district went after this therapist when there are so many other important things to deal with remains a mystery.

Just Helping a Patient

The accused therapist is, by all accounts, very good at what she does. News reports say the parents of her young patient love her and are very impressed with all the work she has done over the years; she has been working with this patient since he was a young child. As someone with cerebral palsy, the seventh grader gets around in a wheelchair. His graphic book and film is intended to raise awareness of what it’s like for wheelchair-bound individuals to exist in a world where most people can freely walk.

Why the therapist chose to get involved in the project is immaterial. As we said earlier, one of the main thrusts of occupational therapist jobs is to be creative in finding therapy solutions. Therapists use every tool at their disposal, be it providing music lessons, encouraging exercise or athletic activities, or even supporting projects like the one we have been talking about. The whole point of occupational therapy is to help patients live lives that are as normal and productive as possible. In this case, it is about helping a young man accomplish his goal of helping others.

A Great Career Choice

Despite having to deal with red tape and bureaucracy from time to time, occupational therapy is a great career choice for those who want to be involved in the medical field in a way that directly improves a patient’s life. Occupational therapists will tell you that their greatest reward is not monetary; it is the satisfaction and pride that comes from helping the patient accomplish important goals. And the job is an important one, bureaucracy notwithstanding.

Health Jobs Nationwide wants to assist you in your search for occupational therapist jobs. Our site includes job listings from thousands of facilities around the country, enabling you to look for work close to home or in an entirely new community. We hope you will find our site and the information we provide helpful in your job search.

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