To work in the field of orthotics and prosthetics, one of the highest-paying master’s degrees, you’ll need a great deal more than a master’s degree. You must also possess the proper combination of personality traits and professional aptitudes to execute the clinical and laboratory work required to provide patients with the necessary medical devices. In addition to physical dexterity and endurance, these characteristics include patience, communication skills, and an eye for detail. Some of the typical characteristics of orthotists and prosthetists, such as an ability for problem-solving, are useful in both clinical and laboratory settings.
Essential Qualities for Clinical Work With Patients
Patients referred to orthotists and prosthetists have endured a great deal. They may have endured a severe injury or developed a medical problem that necessitated the loss of function or amputation. Other patients may have been born with physical defects or missing limbs that impair their functionality. In any case, patients require custom-fitted medical devices, such as support braces or prosthetic limbs, to improve their function and movement.
When working with these patients, you must have an excellent bedside manner. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the most essential characteristics of an orthotist or prosthetist is patience (BLS). Communication abilities are an additional essential prerequisite. An orthotist or prosthetist’s duties include interviewing the patient to determine what they require from their medical device.
Teaching patients how to utilize their orthopedic brace or prosthetic limb and how to properly care for the medical device in order to maintain its safety is another job role that involves communication skills. Due to the significance of educating and connecting with others, O*NET classifies orthotists and prosthetists as a socially intensive employment. Notably, competent orthotists and prosthetists require many of the same personality attributes as successful nurses, such as a loving and nurturing nature.
Additionally, orthotists and prosthetists must be attentive to detail. You must comprehend precisely what a patient requires and take exact, precise measurements to develop a medical device that fits flawlessly.
The Qualities of a Skilled Medical Device Manufacturer
Consultation with patients in clinical practice is only a portion of the job performed by an orthotist or prosthetist. Creating the medical devices themselves, or in some cases overseeing the professionals who do so, is another significant aspect of the job. Creating orthopedic braces and prosthetic limbs demands a tremendous lot of physical dexterity, particularly in terms of the ability to conduct manual labor.
The mechanical components of orthotic or prosthetic medical devices are sophisticated and complex. To fabricate these components and assemble the contraption in its entirety, you must be skilled with your hands. Due to the physical demands of creating unique medical devices in the laboratory, you must also have the endurance to use hand tools and shop equipment for extended periods of time.
According to the BLS, your physical endurance and dexterity aid you in collecting precise measures in clinical practice.
Resolution of Problems in Orthotics and Prosthesis
In the process of fitting patients with customized medical devices, obstacles are inevitable. Whether in an exam room or a fabrication laboratory, you must have the wherewithal to meet and overcome these hurdles. As an orthotist or prosthetist, you may be tasked with constructing a medical device that fulfills the specific requirements of your patient.
Because each patient’s rehabilitation journey is unique, members of the rehabilitation team, such as orthotists and prosthetists, must frequently brainstorm new approaches to assist patients in achieving the greatest potential recovery. Although you are not directly responsible for devising exercises to improve a patient’s physical and fine motor functions, you may be required to develop braces and prosthetic limbs to support the patient’s rehabilitation program.
According to the BLS, orthotists and prosthetists collaborate with physical and occupational therapists, physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants as part of a patient’s care team.