I always knew I wanted to help people improve their health and well-being, so during year 12 I enrolled in a Psychological Science Bachelor’s degree and a two year Master of Occupational Therapy Practice. At the time I wasn’t quite sure where this would take me, however, during my first few weeks of Occupational Therapy study (three years later after finishing my Bachelor degree) I realised that Occupational Therapy was exactly what I wanted to do. It seemed as though I could relate so many things I had already experienced back to the theory of Occupational Therapy. I thought about how a family member who had been in hospital could have had a more positive experience and recovery with the involvement of a skilled Occupational Therapist.
Almost 10 years ago now, a close family member had a significant non-work related medical trauma. Following time in intensive care, hospital and then rehabilitation this person then spent a significant amount of time at home, constantly attending medical appointments whilst having the limitations of being unable to drive and work – having previously worked all their life and recently in senior management roles. This person was lucky and has a very supportive workplace that allowed them to return on a part time basis about a year later. I saw first hand the increased independence and self-esteem that work provided as well as how it restored the family dynamics. While I’m sure it was not always easy, I know that this person would agree that work enhanced their physical and mental recovery, possibly more than we will ever know.
I am passionate about how all aspects of occupation such as leisure, self-care and work, contributes to a person’s identity and importantly impacts on their quality of life. I truly believe that people who are engaged in meaningful occupation and get the right kind of support when required are healthier and (maybe more importantly) happier.