So you’ve made it. You passed the formidable NBCOT® Exam and are now ready to begin your occupational therapy career. But suddenly, you can’t seem to recall half the things you learned in the classroom and you begin to feel the impostor syndrome setting in. Almost every new grad has felt this apprehension during their transition to practice. So I’d like to share with you my top 5 books I wish I had when I first started out as a new OT practitioner.

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With 283 pages of fully illustrated patient education handouts organized by 85 treatment guides, the Occupational Therapy Toolkit is one of the most popular and frequently utilized resource for OT practitioners working with physical disabilities and older adults. These handouts are clear and simple with pictures that are easy to follow for patients and their families. This book is especially useful if you work in the skilled nursing facility or home health. Even if you’re just getting started as a student, I would recommend this book because the images make it simple and easy to understand body mechanics and positioning. Worth. Every. Penny.


Quick Reference to Occupational Therapy will quickly become one of your favorite go-to resource for everything occupational therapy. Take this book with you and keep it handy for anytime you need that quick, At-A-Glance fact sheet on a disease, injury or disorder. I really wish I had referenced this book as a student since it provides simple explanation on just about anything you might encounter as an occupational therapy practitioner. I used this book so much that it began to show wear and tear after just a couple of months. And you will too!

Occupational Therapy in Acute Care is an essential book for anyone considering the acute care setting. But regardless of the setting you choose to work in, I personally feel that this book should be a required reading for every occupational therapy practitioner because it contains so much useful and practical insights. From demystifying lab values and medical conditions to intervention and discharge planning, this book will give you everything you need to feel confident and competent in any setting.

This is the stuff we all crammed during our preparation for the NBCOT® Exam with both dread and apprehension. With countless safety precautions and contraindications to be mindful of, understanding the safe and effective use of Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs) can be daunting without firsthand practical experience or exposure. This is where Physical Agent Modalities: Theory and Application for the Occupational Therapist can come in handy. It covers the most common physical modalities used by occupational therapy practitioners with the theoretical framework, application, indications, precautions and contraindications. Just about everything you need to know in a condense, easy-to-read summary. This book will also make an excellent supplement to your NBCOT® books and resources so consider making the investment early on to get maximum use.

If you’re just getting started out as a new grad in occupational therapy, you might want to consider getting the Documentation Manual for Occupational Therapy: Writing SOAP Notes. Writing effective and timely documentation is not only important for continuity of patient care, but is essential for justifying reimbursement for services. When done properly, effective documentation will also serve to articulate the distinct value or occupational therapy services. If you are struggling with documentation and would like extra practice with tips and examples to hone your documentation skills, this is the manual for you.