Students raise awareness of Occupational Therapy Week
November 6 2013
Occupational therapy is one of the health sector’s least-recognised professions.
Many people don’t know what an occupational therapist actually does, which is why students at Glyndŵr University are holding a series of events throughout Occupational Therapy Week.
Since Monday they have been handing-out key rings, flyers, posters and merchandise at the University’s Edward Llwyd Centre in Wrexham.
The students will also be speaking at schools and colleges in the region to attract prospective students and explain more about one of the health sector’s most under-valued and least-recognised areas of expertise.
Helen Carey, Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy at Glyndŵr University, explained how everyone recognises immediately what a doctor or a nurse does, but not an occupational therapist.
“It is not always an instantly recognised profession, despite being highly valuable to a wide variety of people in health, social care, schools, prison services and many other settings,” said Helen.
“Occupational therapy empowers people to reach their full potential, achieve their goals and enjoy life to the full. The word ‘occupation’ refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow us to live independently and give us a sense of identity.
“This could be anything from essential day-to-day tasks, such as dressing or cooking, to the things that make us who we are - our job, interests, hobbies and relationships.”
She added: “Our department commenced in 2004 and has been built up in size and reputation. Its focus is to produce a high standard of pre-registration occupational therapists providing high quality intervention to service users, as well as advice and support to qualified occupational therapy in clinical, professional and research areas.”
Final year student Jeanne Dore and her colleagues say the Glyndŵr University programme is “fantastic” and would urge others to follow their lead and join the industry.
“We are all passionate about our future profession as we know it can make a real difference to people's lives,” said Jeanne.
“By helping individuals identify their daily needs and aspirations; providing advice and support in preventing and coping with illness, disability, and injury, we enable them to get the most from life.
“Everyone is welcome to come along and find out more about occupational therapy and chat to some of the current Glyndŵr students.”
Occupational therapists help people who are ill, disabled or feeling the effects of ageing to do the things that are important to them – such as preparing a meal, returning to work, or doing a favourite pastime. There are over 29,000 qualified occupational therapists in the UK.
Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists, said: “Occupational Therapy Week celebrates the unique contribution of occupational therapists playing a vital role across physical and mental health services, in rehabilitative services and from infancy to older age.
“On a daily basis, we hear from people about the difference occupational therapy has made to their life, helping them to do the things that are important to them – from returning to work, being a parent or simply carrying out day to day tasks which we all take for granted.
“Occupational Therapy is fundamental to meeting the needs of an ageing population and those managing long term conditions, helping people to stay well, active and living independently in their home for as long as possible. Occupational Therapy Week recognises the crucial the importance of the profession both today and for future generations.”