Current Employer/Organisation Name
North Bristol NHS Trust
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I am an Occupational Therapist, with over 20 years (over a 30 year period) NHS experience working in acute care. I have worked in the Isle of Man and both acute hospitals in Bristol, England. I have developed significant occupational therapy skills in: orthopaedics, hand therapy, general medicine, elderly and palliative care, respiratory and cardiac medicine, renal and vascular specialties. Alongside these clinical skills I have gained leadership and managerial skills and in more recent years have undertaken work in service improvement across the acute trust where I now work. Additionally and significantly outside of paid work, I have held numerous and varied voluntary positions within Scouting, St. John Ambulance, school committees and church organisations. I have organised large scale events for 4,000 attendees, annual community fair events, led operational development projects across county areas, maintained and provided training opportunities for others. I currently hold 3 trustee roles as Appointments Chair in scouting, Secretary to a Sea Cadet unit, Parish Safeguarding Officer ,Westbury PCC. I am also a Diocesan trainer for the foundation safeguarding course and organise and deliver the Scout Young Leader modular training programme. I continue to organise a number of annual events in the community and support youth work in other ways, as I am able. I have been recognised with significant awards ( NHS work/ Scouting/ etc) for the the work that I have undertaken, including the British Empire Medal (BEM). Since leaving Exeter University I have had the good fortune of family and friendships, that give me joy and pleasure. My current role is as a team leader in an Improvement team, at North Bristol NHS Trust. The improvement work that I am now involved in relies on my occupational therapy skills to understand how to break down problems and how to relate with/ motivate and work with people to achieve what is important to them, namely satisfaction in their roles and an excellent patient experience.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I chose Occupational therapy as it aligned significantly with my own values around creativity, developing and being able to share skills. I hold true to the idea that a human doing, is a human being and that if we are not able to participate in life ( short or long term) due to illness or disability, then our mental and or physical health suffers. I caveat this by recognising that for some people, their level of activity participation is significantly limited, but this does not mean that they are not able to enjoy something within the limits of their ability. I most enjoy seeing others develop , overcome and learn.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
I had the pleasure of studying with some fantastic colleagues, some of whom I am still in touch with. Our tutors were approachable, knowledgeable and encouraging throughout. I really enjoyed my clinical placements.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
I knew that I was studying a subject that would take me into a career that I believed would work for me for the rest of my life. Which it has.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
St. Loyes was one of the largest Occupational Therapy Schools and it had an excellent reputation.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
I value everything that I learnt and still use it on a daily basis. Using anatomy and physiology, I am able to understand what is not working for someone and what impact that may have on their ability to complete and activity. At the same time, understanding psychology/ development/ psychiatric disorders I am able to support people to establish what they need, to improve for themselves. These areas of knowledge fit within the frameworks and understanding of Occupation, my own profession.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
I would absolutely encourage anyone with an interest to study and practice occupational therapy. I love hosting / supporting students on placements. As a profession it offers a wide range of opportunities in , physical, mental health, adult and paediatric fields. Occupational therapists work in hospitals, social services, community, schools, prisons , private practice and more. There are many role emerging development opportunities and if you are inclined to progress into management or research there are opportunities aplenty.
What are your plans for the future?
As always, I strive to be the best I can be everyday and support others to do the same. Opportunity is always around the corner and I have been blessed with many. I will look for new ones and see where they take me.