Why part-time private practice works for me – Laura’s story
Specialisms: Neuro Rehab with special interest in fatigue management
Number of years as a qualified OT: 13
Length of time with The OT Practice: 2 years
Family: 2 children
Interests: Socialising and going to the gym
What was your career before The OT Practice?
After qualifying, I worked in a mixed rotational post covering physical and mental health before deciding that I wanted to specialise in neuro. I then went into community neuro rehab for 5 years working within two community teams, moving from band 6 to band 7. I relocated out of London and have been working in my current NHS role in a specialist neuro rehab centre for 4 years. I moved from working full time to now part-time, after the birth of my second child, allowing me to take on more private work.
Why did you decide to try private practice?
A lot of my colleagues had already tried it, so I thought: “Well, it can’t be that scary!”. One colleague had left the NHS to work as a case manager, and explained to me how convenient private work could be, especially with regards to fitting it around family responsibilities. Then, I met The OT Practice at a conference and decided to apply to work with them.
Why did you choose The OT Practice?
When I met them at the conference I was immediately interested. I was reassured by the amount of advice, tools and support they offer to their team. At the conference I was sitting next to another OT who was already working for The OT Practice and he was really positive about his experience and encouraged me to apply. It was his reassurance and the friendly nature of the team I met that made me want to be part of the organisation.
What are the benefits of working independently?
The OT Practice have very high standards and this has improved my clinical reasoning skills. I have to justify what my client’s treatment goals are going to be and how we are going to get there together which has refined my session planning and clinical justification when making recommendations. I feel that I have developed professionally through my work with the OT Practice and these skills can transfer and have benefitted my NHS work.
Another benefit is the amount of support The OT Practice office team provides. I have a dedicated client manager for each case and I can always phone them if I am unsure of anything, or need help with recommendations. They provide tools and references for a range of topics, such as writing reports and planning your time.
What types of cases are you currently working on?
I am currently delivering anxiety and fatigue management for a gentleman with a brain injury following a road traffic accident. I am also providing him with community integration support, as he is now fearful of cars and has trouble accessing the community. As well as helping him with getting onto public transport, I am helping with rehabilitation and handwriting, as he has a slightly weak right hand. Another client of mine is a gentleman who is in a nursing home. He has dementia and he also sustained a spinal fracture following a fall, which means he isn’t able to move all his limbs. I help him with postural and spasticity management, equipment and training to care home staff.
What do you enjoy most about working independently?
The money! If you are prepared to work hard, independent work definitely pays better than working for the NHS or the public sector. On top of that, you have much more autonomy and flexibility. It fits around my family life perfectly, as I am able to write my reports in the evening, while my children are in bed, which means that I can have a better work–life balance.
What advice would you give OTs who are thinking of moving into private practice?
Make the move! I wish that I’d done it sooner. The clinical skills required are the same as those you need for your everyday public-sector job, so you can definitely do it. If you are unsure, speak to OTs that have taken the leap, perhaps even asking to shadow them.