Being an Occupational Therapist and a Researcher: Victoria’s story

The thing that first got me interested in research, I think,… …was when I got my first job as an occupational therapist… …and I think working on the wards… …and actually questioning why things are done the way they’re done, … …it made me quite inquisitive and I wanted to find out more about research… …and the evidence base behind things. Specifically working on the general medicine and surgery wards… …and working with adults who have had
lower limb amputations. So, I chose the award that I’ve got which I’m currently doing the masters and research methods. The idea is to combine clinical work with academic work. So, the award that combines the two. So, it gives me the opportunity to to do the research but help with the transition into practice… …and it means I can still work with the patients make sure that the work and the research that I’m doing is relevant… …and also that it’s practical as well. I think it’s given me that confidence, really, in terms of being able to read research… …and properly understand the findings and whether the research and the findings are actually valid… …and it’s helping me to start putting that into practice when I am at work. Just sort of open my eyes a little bit,… …as to what evidence is out
there. What I should be doing. What the best outcomes are for patients… …and also it’s given me, it’s taught me lots of different skills, as well. So, skills in presenting, which was something that was always really worried about… …and the specific courses that I’ve gone on to help with that,… …and critical appraisal skills and also just learning more about the clinical side of things. I feel really honored to be doing what I’m doing and I’m enjoying every minute. The challenges that are faced really I think the main one is going from working in an environment that I’m quite confident in,… …’cause I’m quite confident as an OT,… …who is working in the clinical role that I do,… …going from that to being a complete
novice researcher it was quite unsettling initially,… …because you go in from being an expert
to being a novice again… …and it’s like I’m starting now all over again,… …but I think it’s just about rolling with it, working hard and just enjoying it. My top tip would just be to go for it. I don’t regret any of the awards that I’ve done … …and I’m, like, so I’m so grateful to have done them… …and pick something that you’re passionate about and something that you’re interested in,… …because that’s the way that you’re going to enjoy it… …and you thrive on the want to improve things… …and wanting to improve patient outcomes… …and improve things for patients and just
have that confidence in yourself that you can do it.

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