So the New Year is well and truly underway proving that time really does fly when you’re having fun! I can honestly say that my final year emerging role placement is ticking all the right boxes so far.
I am now in week six of 10 and working with a busy, but very supportive, team of mental health practitioners, most of whom are nurses or social workers by background now practicing in generic roles. The team also includes psychiatrists, a clinical psychologist and my supervisor who is a band seven team lead and occupational therapist by background.
It’s a 24 hour service and much of the out of hours work is telephone support or “duty” for people with severe and enduring mental health issues. The core office hours are when the generic assessments and interventions are carried out and this is where I fit in. At the moment the interventions are mostly psychology based and, whilst the assessments account for a great deal of vital information, as a whole the service lacks an occupational perspective. By this I mean getting to the real practical issues that impact a person’s functioning and using psychological coping techniques in everyday situations.
My role, along with my student colleague, is to develop a case for OT within the brief intervention service. This involves working with service users to identify their occupational needs and developing treatment plans to suit. We also need to produce a project of evidence to show the positive contribution we’ve made to the service and present this to the team at the end of the 10 weeks…little bit nervous!!!
The service is also currently running two exciting out of hours projects where practitioners work alongside Hampshire Constabulary and the Emergency Department (ED) at Southampton General Hospital. Sometimes service users come into contact with the police or hospital ED and there is an urgent need for specialist assessment, so having a practitioner on hand is really useful. As students we have the opportunity to shadow these projects over the next few weeks which I hope will provide valuable insight into the realities of collaborative working.
This placement has been a huge challenge so far because we are the only ones doing OT specific clinical work. Our knowledge has really been put to the test and we have often acted as educators to the team. I feel this has increased my sense of professional identity. That sounds as though it should be a straight forward task but the scope of OT is still poorly understood so articulating this can be difficult. I also believe that gaining these skills now will aid a smooth transition from student to newly qualified practitioner which, if you’re anything like me, has to be near the top of my priority list.
Overall it’s an excellent placement opportunity and I would highly recommend applying for an emerging role. I took on this challenge because I felt the need to push myself in the final year and it seems to be paying off so far. It’s also a great way to build confidence in your own abilities.
Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little about what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks. Chat soon!