“Today is the start of Occupational Therapy (OT) Week. During this week, we are challenged to raise the profile of the profession and the difference it makes to people’s lives across the UK.
“The Royal College of Occupational Therapists put out the usual call to action, this year asking us to be ‘Loud and Proud’ about the profession. So we have embraced the challenge and will be using a range of social media channels and local events to tell the world what Occupational Therapy is. We will be bringing together OTs across the counties we serve to network, share experiences and take a moment to be proud of what we achieve.
“So why bother? Well, usually, we don’t really bother much at all; the odd info stand, maybe a case study, a last minute dash to do something, probably unnoticed by most of you reading this.
“Then, something happened that changed my view of why we should do more. Earlier in the year, an Expert by Lived Experience who came to a development session for the OT workforce shared her story about how OT had helped her recovery, so much so she aspires to one day train to be one. This was lovely feedback and a pat on the back for us, but she then said: ‘The problem with OT is that it’s the greatest thing that no one has ever heard of.’ She is probably right.
“Unless you are one, work with one, are related to one (and then that’s questionable as I’m sure my brothers think I am a nurse!) or happen to have benefited from the services of one then you probably won’t know what we do and the difference we make.
“It’s about time we changed that. Occupational therapists work in many different roles in health, social care, the voluntary sector, employment – the list goes on. But, fundamentally, no matter where we work, our purpose is to understand the impact of a person’s illness, disability, social circumstances or any other challenge on their ability to do the things they want to do and need to do, and most importantly work together to help them ‘live life their way’. It’s as simple as that.
“So hopefully, after this week, more people will know who we are and what we do and we can become the greatest thing that a lot more people know about!”
– Rebecca Shute, Head of Profession for Occupational Therapy, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust.