Case study

Occupational therapist — Faye Weight

Faye has spent time working as an occupational therapist in several roles developing a broad range of skills for specialising in the future

How did you get your job?

I started to apply for jobs through the NHS jobs website while still studying. My first post was a six-month position with an NHS trust, which turned into a permanent offer. I had to move in order to take up the post.

After a year I went travelling and when I returned I wanted to stay in my home town, so I applied for a range of roles in health and social care as there were not that many occupational therapy (OT) posts available. Eventually I found a role as a locum OT through an agency with my local NHS trust. I had already done two practice placements there, which helped my application.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Completely relevant. I couldn't do my job as an OT without the degree. I use the knowledge and practical skills taught on my course every day.

What are your main work activities?

A lot of my time is spent assessing clients, writing plans and liaising with other professionals. Working in adult social care the majority of my clients are elderly with long-term conditions.

On a typical day I will visit several clients in their own homes, or in residential care settings. We complete a functional assessment, which involves talking to clients, finding out their difficulties and working out how to support them. Back in the office I write up assessments, which feed into care plans within the social work team. I also discuss the needs of the clients with other professionals.

How do you use your degree in your job?

I use the medical knowledge about health conditions, and the science of how people function physically and psychologically. The learning about other social care services is also invaluable.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get to meet so many people with a range of conditions and both simple and complex support needs. I haven't specialised in a particular area of OT yet, so my work is very broad.

I also like emergency referrals, which add intensity to my work.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The variety and lack of specialism can be challenging, as I come across conditions that I don't know much about. Working within financial constraints is also challenging as I would like to give as much help as I can, but this is not always possible.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I would like to have found my niche in OT and decided on an area I want to specialise in, but at the moment I'm enjoying keeping my knowledge broad.

I'm interested in working with children, in sensory integration or neuro-rehabilitation in the future.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Do your research into all the options within OT as there are so many opportunities. Understand the different roles and explore what you enjoy.

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