My move into independent practice after maternity leave - Jen’s story
Specialism: Neurological Rehabilitation
Number of years as a qualified OT: 16
Length of time with The OT Practice: 1 year
Family: Husband and twin three-year-old boys
Interests: Walking and cycling
What was your career before The OT Practice?
I worked in permanent roles in the NHS and social services for years, until just before I went on maternity leave. I returned to OT as a locum and worked in a variety of roles but mainly in community and in patient rehabilitation. My statuatory experience spans both physical and mental health which is a great foundation for private work.
Why did you leave the public sector?
I found that bureaucracy was affecting my ability to provide quality treatment which is what I trained to do. If I wanted to get somebody a piece of equipment, for example, this was not always possible. If it was, then it would take so long that, by the time the equipment arrived, the patient’s needs had changed. I was becoming frustrated and was looking for an avenue to deliver excellent clinical care without the challenges I was facing. I didn’t want to move from one NHS role to another and had done some private work a while ago so I had a bit of experience before I applied to The OT Practice.
Why did you choose The OT Practice?
I looked at The OT Practice’s website and was really impressed. The work sounded interesting, varied and challenging, which appealed to me. It reminded me of what being an OT is all about, and I liked the idea of being able to put that into practice without the constraints of statutory services. Also, I was quite scared about going independent, so I was reassured by support networks and resources The OT Practice provide. When I spoke to them the team were so helpful, supportive and approachable, I was glad I found them.
What does an average day look like for you?
The work is very varied. Take yesterday, for example: in the morning, I saw a client of mine for fatigue and anxiety management treatment. Then, in the afternoon, I completed a new neuro assessment for a client who has a traumatic brain injury.
What has been your favourite case so far?
I enjoy cases where I can work closely with the client and part of my role is to help them see the improvements they make. I recently discharged a gentleman who had been in an accident and had sustained a brain injury, as well as other injuries. He was a pleasure to work with, as he worked really hard to engage with the treatment I suggested and noticed the benefits of this.
What has been the biggest challenge about working independently?
When you are employed in the NHS you are generally part of a team. When you work privately, naturally you work more independently. This can take some time to get used to, the office team at The OT Practice really help as we often speak about cases and workloads and I know they are just a call away if I need anything. Although I have the benefits of working independently, I still feel part of a team so for me, it is the best of both worlds.
What do you enjoy most about working with The OT Practice?
The work is very flexible and varied, and I find I am learning so much every day.
What advice would you give OTs who are thinking of moving into private practice?
I would say go for it, it was the best professional decision I have made. I would also advise setting up regular supervision with someone locally, whether it’s on the phone or face to face. Finally, be sure to plan your schedule properly to take into account report-writing time, as this can be a time-consuming aspect of private work.