Staff Profile: Interview with an OT assistant

Posted: November 9, 2017

Meet Bethany Laken, Occupational Therapy Assistant on day four of Occupational Therapy Week 2017

photo 1Therapists at the Great Western Hospital are raising awareness of Occupational Therapy Week by giving an insight into their jobs and the different departments and locations in which they work, from Monday 6 November.

Throughout the week, staff will be gracing the Trust's social media accounts and website with personal insights into the profession, finishing the week off with how keen Swindon residents can kick-start their careers in Occupational Therapy.

What's on during Occupational Therapy Week?

What are Occupational Therapy Assistants?

"The Occupational Therapy Assistant role is varied, dynamic, and offers real career progression with the teams at the Trust.

"The role offers practical, on-the-job training and the chance to work with people from all walks of life.

"Staff can also develope skills in Physiotherapy as there a Rehabilitation Assistant.

"Therapy Assistant roles within the Great Western Hospital offer a large number of training and development opportunities ranging from the Care Certificate right through to the Occupational Therapy Apprenticeship, which the Trust are aiming to start within the next year.

"The team also offer the opportunity for people to come for work experience and a number of our previous assistants took this opportunity before applying for their posts.

"If anyone is thinking about a career in Occupational Therapy and is unsure how to go about it, then please get in touch."

To arrange work experience in Occupational Therapy at GWH, get in touch with the Trust on Facebook.

Q&A with Bethany Laken, Occupational Therapy Assistant

Find out about one student's journey with Occupational Therapy at the Great Western Hospital.

Why did you want to be an assistant within Occupational Therapy and where did you hear about us?

OT week assistant

"I have known I wanted to go into healthcare since school, but never knew where I would fit. I attended a school careers evening at Warneford School where I spoke to both Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy and was instantly interested.

"I was then given the opportunity to complete a week observational work experience in my final year of school with the Acute Occupational Therapy team at GWH.

!This opened my eyes to an area of work I had never heard or experienced before.

"I continued to be given opportunities to volunteer with the team for many years throughout college until one year when I started my university course at Bournemouth University and was encouraged to apply for an Occupational Therapy Assistant position on a bank contract with the team.

"I jumped at the opportunity and have been working as and when between term time for them ever since."

What was your experience when you were here?


"I was given the opportunity to see first-hand what the Occupational Therapists do in acute and work alongside them. I was given (along with my other colleague) as caseload every morning and this was self-managed which was great skill to learn.

"We were able to support the therapists with complex patients and pick up jobs from them to help them manage their caseload and work effectively.


"I acquired brand new skills and was able to put everything I had learnt from university into practice. I am able to see patients 1:1 and trial equipment, complete different functional assessments and support patients' when needed. I learnt how to document crucial information effectively and developed admin skills.

"The training included in this role was amazing. We were given support and training for every aspect of the role which was then updated throughout the year. I was then able to take all of this to university with me and along to placements I am completing throughout the course."

Why did you want to then go on a train to qualify?

"I absolutely love the role of an Occupational Therapist and I am looking forward to qualifying next summer and working alongside Occupational Therapy Assistants as well.

"I am still amazed at how diverse the role can be; the different areas we can work in, the different people we can meet and in so many settings.

"I am obsessed with the word 'independence' which is at the heart of Occupational Therapists work. I am looking forward to learning more skills throughout my final year at university and continue to learn and grow as a professional when I qualify."

Read all of the staff profiles  here.

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