Samantha Hemmings, BSc Occupational Therapy graduate now working in a Community Specialist Mental Health team.
I chose Essex as I was studying while being a single mum, so being able to undertake my degree somewhere close by was essential. I certainly didn’t regret my choice, the campus had such a lovely, friendly atmosphere, and when I needed support through my studies I was able to get it.
My two most favourite aspects of my degree were reflective practice, and student placements. In particular my placements really helped me gain a lot of experience as I worked in a range of healthcare settings.
After graduation I spent several years working in a social care setting where I supported adults in Essex to live their most independent life. After this I moved onto a role where I undertook driving assessments, which involved supporting people with disabilities to drive independently.
I am now working in the NHS in a Community Specialist Mental Health team. I support clients who have severe and enduring mental health conditions so they can live as independently as possible. The work is challenging and requires me to have good awareness of risk management techniques which I use daily. But it is also fast paced, which I enjoy, and I'm supported by an amazing team of colleagues.
My biggest challenge is clarifying the occupational therapist role, as many people don't understand what we actually do.
My advice for someone considering an occupational therapy degree? Go for it! You may be scared or nervous, but you will grow so much. It will change your life!