my OT journey

I don’t really know how I came about choosing to study OT (occupational therapy), it almost just happened! The first I heard about this career was reading my school newsletter and seeing one of the Yr 12’s the year before me had it recorded as their uni choice. From there it somehow ended up on the top of my six preferences for university. I didn’t get in first round but was accepted into my second choice of midwifery. At the same time I was offered an admin job I had interviewed for. It was a stressful day as I chose whether to go to uni or have a gap year and I now look back and imagine what would have been….

I chose to study and was next offered a place in OT course at Uni SA in the second round offers. It is an amazing degree but the next four years were definitely a challenge! I was continually questioning if this was the career for me but the good (and bad) thing about OT is the broad number of areas you can work in, so even if some things don’t interest you there’s bound to be something you like! At uni it felt like we were getting to know a little of everything but going into depth with nothing – amazing how we still came out at the end with the necessary skills/critical thinking required (well mostly!).

My plan today was to share about my working life and in light of the New Year just around the corner some of my work goals but I think I best start with a definition of occupational therapy.

OT’s consider everything that occupies your time as an occupation so sleeping, making breakfast, caring for your children, work, handwriting, showering, socialising etc. etc and we work with people who may be having difficulty with any such occupation.

It took me a while to find work after finishing uni. I was about to marry a farmer so was restricted location wise. I had been very hopeful about a job with the local community health service but performed badly in the interview and missed out. A few months and many applications later I got a job interstate (a 2hr drive) with their community health service. I boarded with the local pastor and his wife and came home once or twice a week.

I was a bit of a mess at the time and ended up taking additional leave before my wedding but fortunately I returned after the big day and loved it.

The OT team (of 3) had a backlog of referrals from adults in the community (mostly elderly) for generally equipment and home modifications. We were also re-establishing our paediatric service and I was involved in the intake process for new referrals.

After the wedding I was also successful in obtaining a part-time position closer to home (45min drive) with the local community health service working on a project with a local child care service. So I was part-time there and part time interstate.

The project role was quite difficult. The OT team there didn’t believe this child care facility should be getting extra services ahead of the rest of the community and the director of the facility was… an interesting personality. I wrote a project proposal and completed a large chunk of a needs analysis but either due to service constraints or my own mental health that was as far as I was able to proceed and I ended up quitting this job when I found out I was pregnant.

Think that’s enough for one days writing, will do a Part 2 soon 🙂

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