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Occupational Therapy Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. In your view, what are the specific parameters of the role of an occupational therapy assistant? See answer
  2. This job can be physically demanding. How do you stay in shape to ensure you’re able to care for patients? See answer
  3. How will you prioritize patients here at our organization? See answer
  4. Tell me about any specific training you have in delivering care to seniors. See answer
  5. How do you deal with patients who might be difficult or resistant to care?
  6. Can you tell me about your previous experience with any specific training as an occupational therapy assistant for children?
  7. In your opinion, what is the best way for a team of occupational therapists to function?
  8. Tell me about your experience in working in a team of healthcare professionals.
  9. Describe a time when you used occupational therapy to make a patient more independent.
  10. A family member of your patient is verbally hostile toward you. How do you handle it?
  11. Describe two things that make occupational therapy effective.
  12. In this job, you must be an effective risk manager. Give me an example from your employment history in which you managed risk effectively.
  13. One of your elderly patients is frustrated because he does not think he is gaining independence quickly. How do you handle this?
  14. Tell me about the strategy you use to manage your time effectively when handling a large workload.
  15. Describe the most recent occupational therapy professional event you attended.
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6 Occupational Therapy Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

In your view, what are the specific parameters of the role of an occupational therapy assistant?

A:

This is a great question to start the interview process. It sets up some basic guidelines to test the knowledge of the potential hire. A good occupational therapy assistant understands that their role is defined clearly in relation to the occupational therapist. They should be able to list specific duties for assistants and tell you how they differ from therapists’ responsibilities.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Duties of an occupational therapy assistant
  • Knowledge of skills as an assistant
  • Why this role is important

Example:

“Some parts of my job involve keeping records about patient care. I also keep the workplace and medical equipment safe for our clients. Primarily, occupational therapy assistants help the therapists by following plans and monitoring patients.”

Q:

How would you deal with patients who might be difficult or resistant to care?

A:

A good occupational therapy assistant should be trained to connect or deal with the patients on an emotional as well as a physical level. This aspect is just as important to the job of an assistant as being able to handle or monitor the medical equipment they use. You can ask this question as a way to gauge the prospective hire’s emotional range and feelings.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Methods used to deal with stressful situations
  • Strategies to connect with patients
  • Positivity and professionalism

Example:

“I understand that people undergoing occupational therapy are dealing with injuries or disabilities that can leave them drained emotionally as well as physically. One strategy I use is to speak calmly and try to find a connection with the patient. I try to empathize with them and use patience.”

Q:

This job can be physically demanding. How do you stay in shape to ensure you’re able to care for patients?

A:

Occupational therapy assistants have a host of duties. Some of their tasks involve using heavy medical equipment or physically helping patients move. You want to ask this question as a way to determine whether the candidate maintains a minimum level of fitness required to do the job effectively.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Positive attitude toward labor-intensive work
  • Examples of their personal fitness regimen
  • Willingness to train more if necessary

Example:

“I enjoy helping patients and have no problems lifting them onto a therapy table or transporting them. I perform a rigorous routine of exercise three mornings per week to keep in shape. New modes of training to help our clients are always welcome.”

Q:

How will you prioritize patients here at our organization?

A:

Depending on how your organization is set up and what its policies are, there may be times when you’ll expect your assistants to prioritize patient care. A good occupational therapy assistant should understand when to do this and give you common markers for determining it ethically. Seek out answers that indicate how the potential hire thinks about the nuances of this care.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of triaging patients
  • Past experience in prioritizing client care
  • Problem-solving skills

Example:

“While I think that all patients deserve our full support, I know that the reality is we can’t plan for everything. In my previous job, we first took care of people in severe or critical condition that required immediate assistance. I would also follow the predetermined protocol that has been put in place for triaging patients.”

Q:

Can you tell me about your prior experience with any specific training as an occupational therapy assistant for children?

A:

This question is twofold. It can help you gauge the potential occupational therapy assistant’s relevant training prior to entering the job market. The question is also useful in determining any hands-on experience the candidate might have. You can explore specific methods they use for caring for their patients or how they feel about current best practices. Search for relevant skills that fit with your organization.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Answers about academic training or certification
  • Examples of real-world methods of care
  • Skills that align with your organization’s needs

Example:

“I’ve completed the relevant two years of study in fields such as medical terminology, anatomy and pediatric psychology. In addition, I’ve used treatment plans in the past to help pediatric patients learn the best ways to stretch muscles and do home exercises.”

Q:

Tell me about any specific training you have in delivering care to seniors.

A:

Occupational therapy assistants can be tasked with working with different groups of people, such as children, adults, athletes or elderly people. These professionals could specialize in one group and lack training in others. An employer can use this question to find out a candidate's training in the senior citizen patient segment. A skilled occupational therapy assistant would articulate their work experience in this area and demonstrate occupational therapy skills through their reply.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Work experience in treating senior citizens as an occupational therapy assistant
  • Ability to create a therapeutic bond with the elderly patient segment
  • Skills in occupational therapy and compassion

An example answer to this question could look like this:

Example:

"In my previous job, I helped an occupational therapist handle a caseload of 15 patients a week, and 80% of them were over 70 years old. I'm experienced in helping seniors learn how to handle activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living to become more independent. Recently, I implemented the care plan of a senior therapist and helped an 80-year-old learn how to use her iPad and online banking to manage her finances."

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