Occupational Therapy Week 2019 (4-10 November) is a week to celebrate and champion the impact occupational therapy (OT) has on the lives of service users and the communities they live in.
As C&I Occupational Therapist, Ruth Crowley, reaches her ten year milestone in the profession, Occupational Therapy Week provides the perfect opportunity to share her story on how she became an Occupational Therapist, which shows that not all career paths in healthcare are the same!
Here, Ruth explains her journey to Occupational Therapy:
“I currently work as a Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist on the older adult inpatient wards at Highgate Mental Health Centre.
I feel occupational therapy is my vocation rather than just a career choice. All of my work prior to becoming as an Occupational Therapist has been person-centred one way or another and my story certainly shows that not all career paths are the same!
Prior to working in healthcare, I worked in several different roles. I started as an administrator in a tax office which bored me senseless, then as a travel agent. I then retrained as an advanced City & Guilds Hairdresser working at a salon in the midlands, followed by teaching at a college of further education whilst being self-employed. This was all very creative and fun!
My next move was to London, working in hotels as a guest relations officer and completing ‘train the trainer’ training, and dealing with complaints and VIPs. Alongside this, I also worked part time at Pineapple Dance Studios. My next field was media - working within independent; advertising, graphic design and branding agencies as PA to the Creative Directors, Office/Facilities Manager and Events Manager.
As I reached 40 years of age, I began to reflect on my career path and of an unfulfilled wish to complete further education.
A friend from my hotel days had retrained as an Occupational Psychologist and during our socials mentioned they thought I would make an excellent occupational therapist. I then met with a further education officer who advised, after completing a vocational questionnaire, that occupational therapy was indicated as the best match for me. The more I read the more I liked; person-centred, creative thinking, practical problem solver, science- based and can work in various fields covering physical and mental health.
I checked out my qualifications and had more than the required A-levels in science and other subjects. Whilst working part-time, I completed a four year part-time course which was challenging.
So, here I am. Ten years on post qualifying and still 120% passionate about occupational therapy and person-centred care. During these last ten years, I have also been the career promotion lead for the Royal College of Occupational Therapists London Regional Group, organising speaking events in schools and am currently the Communications Lead for the group.”
If Ruth’s journey has inspired you to start a career in healthcare or more specifically, Occupational Therapy, please take a look at http://jobs.candi.nhs.uk/ for the latest job opportunities at C&I.