Why I love working with The OT Practice – Hannah’s story
Specialisms: General and Complex Paediatrics
Number of years as a qualified OT: 7
Length of time with The OT Practice: 2 years
Interests: Running, mountain biking and scuba diving
What was your career before The OT Practice?
Career before The OT Practice was mainly in the NHS where I worked with adults in a community rehabilitation setting. It wasn’t until I started working with The OT Practice that my passion for working with children was allowed to be realised.
Why did you leave the NHS?
I got the stage where I found it clinically and professionally limiting, leading to me feeling deskilled and frustrated. I didn’t feel like I was an OT, I felt like I was managing a budget and giving people ‘just enough’. Funding was such an issue and I didn’t want to provide ‘just enough’ – I wanted to help people achieve their goals which is what I trained to do.
Why did you join The OT Practice?
I was aware that I was moving from a large team to working independently and didn’t want to feel isolated. I liked the fact that The OT Practice has a strong support network. The team helps with business and clinical aspects. I was encouraged by the fact that they check your reports and give you feedback, as I knew that I would be fully supported.
How would you describe your area of expertise now?
I feel like my area of expertise is being an experienced OT. I don’t say I’m an expert in any clinical area – I’m an expert in people, I suppose. I’m driven by the client. I don’t think you’re bound by your paediatric experience or adult experience – there are transferrable skills in both.
What does an average week look like for you?
My week consists of seeing a range of clients. One day, I may see my client who is in the UK with his parents for six weeks (he lives abroad), and has sensory needs. I carried out his initial assessment and am working on core strengthening work and fine motor skills with him. On another day, I may see a client of mine with Down’s Syndrome, who I am helping with a multisensory approach to handwriting. I may also see a slightly older client who I’ve been helping with independent living skills, such as tying his shoelaces. I have been working closely with his mum in terms of buying specialist equipment for the home. I do some longer assessments, as well such as EHCP’s.
What has been your favourite case so far?
My favourite cases are always the paediatric ones, because you can potentially work with the family for such a long time. I have had my client with Down’s Syndrome on my caseload since 2016 – he’s one of the early cases that I took. I know that I could potentially be working with him for the rest of his life; whereas, in the NHS, when a client hits 18, they are transferred to another service and that professional relationship is lost.
What advice would you give OTs who are thinking of moving into private practice?
Go for it. Don’t hold yourself back – the grass is greener! Also, you don’t need to have had paediatric experience to become a paediatric OT. The OT Practice supported me fully with moving into the paediatric side of things. You get a lot of great support from the office based team of Client Managers, and can contact them at any time if you need advice, ideas or support.