How did you get into Occupational Therapy?
I’ve always been interested in working in community-based occupational therapy, but like many newly qualifieds, I started my career in a hospital setting as I was initially concerned about whether I was ready to be working on my own caseload. I’ve now been working as an OT with South Gloucestershire Council for three years and am really enjoying it. Yes, I am responsible for my own caseload and yes, sometimes individual cases can be complex, but I never feel like I’m on my own.
What support is available to you?
I haven’t worked at another authority to compare, but the support I’ve received has been second to none. When I first joined, my manager and colleagues got to know about my specialisms and I was eased into my work with cases aligned with my areas of expertise. There has always been plenty of support available to me, including opportunities to shadow colleagues and I know that I can always go to managers and senior managers for support.
The geographical area we cover isn’t especially large, so we’re not spending long periods of time travelling to visits, but the communities we work with and the types of issues we come across are extremely diverse, and we’ve built up a wealth of expertise across our teams. However, because social workers, OTs and other support teams are co-located and work so closely together, we all know who everyone is and about each other’s individual areas of expertise.
What do you like about working for the council?
I’ve already talked about the support, which is the most important thing for me, but there’s also a real focus on training and development. We’re encouraged to seek out opportunities to develop and I’m currently studying towards an MSC in Rehabilitation. It’s really positive for everyone as we share learnings with each other and as you learn new specialisms, you’re then supported to take on a broader caseload.
I also like the flexi-scheme and the ‘extra-curricular’ aspects of working for the council. The flexi-scheme means we’re not tied to specific times of working and can organise personal commitments around our work. I’m really keen on personal fitness and get involved with the council running group, but there are also yoga sessions, and football and mixed touch rugby teams.