What our Graduates say
I always had an interest to study a course that led to working in the health care sector. I chose to study occupational therapy because it offered wide ranging opportunities and the chance to be innovative and creative in my work.
I thoroughly enjoyed my four years study and the wide variety of topics covered and explored. Practice Education (placement) was over and above the most enjoyable part as it gave a lovely taste of what was to come. During my practice education, I worked in a mental health hospital, an acute general hospital and also in a paediatric setting with children with intellectual disabilities which gives you an idea of some of the different areas in which one can work.
When I graduated from UCC I started working immediately in the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital where I am still working with adults and older adults primarily. I work very much as part of a multi-disciplinary team with physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, medical social workers along with nurses and the medical teams.
Every day (without fail!) brings new challenges and learning experiences which keep the job interesting and exciting. I am delighted with the choice I made – long may it continue!
Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life is a very daunting task at 18. I personally didn’t know what path I wanted to take. I thought about my likes & interests and common words kept popping up… working with people, healthcare, work with both young & old, varied work, and most importantly for me was a course that you are qualified to go straight into work at the end. Occupational Therapy (OT) seemed to tick all these boxes so I went for it!
College Life: The undergraduate OT programme in UCC was my next step in life. The intimacy and welcoming atmosphere of the department was definitely something that made the 4 years at UCC so pleasant. The staff was always very friendly, open to questions and supportive to me throughout the 4 years.
The course is filled with variety, addressing all age populations, equipping you with a good general knowledge of conditions and the skills to think like and become a holistic Occupational Therapist. The practical side of the course was great with highlights coming to mind like the disability simulation day, splinting workshop, observations of age groups, facilitating groups and visiting various community services. I won’t lie, it’s a challenging course but most of the assignments have a practical aspect and you can see their application to practice so you feel like they are useful learning!
Placements: For me, placements were always the highlight of my year. It was a chance to put what I had learned, read and studied for into real practice as I saw all the theory fall into place. It was only in my first placement that I really understood the role and the work of an OT! My placements included Acute Paediatrics and Acute Psychiatry, both in Cork and Adult Neurology in Dublin.
Transition to work: By the end of year 4, although I was dreading leaving college life I felt ready to move on to the next chapter- the world of work! When I graduated in June, I started working the very next month in Waterford Community Services as a Primary, Community & Continuing Care (PCCC) therapist, working mainly with the older population. I hadn’t done a community placement so it was a bit daunting starting work in an area that I had no experience in but I realized wherever we as OTs work, we still come from the same background, use the same clinical reasoning skills and follow the same OT process and that helped me settle in.
My day is varied with most of my work carried out in people’s homes with clients with various conditions like arthritis, progressive neurological disorders, stroke, joint replacements and terminal illness. Intervention is different for every client covering aspects like assessing activities of daily living (ADL), equipment provision & transfer training, seating assessments, safety assessments & recommendations, falls prevention, fatigue management & energy conservation, carer training and support, giving advice regarding home adaptations, palliative care and liaising with other health professionals and community services.
I feel OT as a profession and the course at UCC has given me an excellent grounding for my future. I feel equipped with the skills, confidence and enthusiasm in the profession to enable me to work as an OT and more importantly enjoy the rewarding and beneficial job we do… developing skills for the job of living.