In this 3rd blog Naomi reflects on her first two months in her first job

Hello again, in this 3rd blog Naomi reflects on her first two months in her Band 5 post in a forensic unit. So far her transition from student to practising occupational therapist has gone well…..

My first two months as an Occupational Therapist have absolutely flown by! I was really fortunate to have been offered a fantastic job in forensic services. This is an area that I have worked in before as an OT technician and I found the area really interesting. I was really excited about the job and couldn’t wait to start. A few weeks later I feel like I have settled in really well, everyone in the team has been really supportive and welcoming, and have helped me to find my feet in the first few weeks.

For my first two weeks in the role I spent time shadowing others in the team to become familiar with the client group, staff, layout of the unit and sessions that are offered. There is a fairly large OT team made up of 6 Occupational Therapists and 5 Technicians. There were loads of opportunities for me to see different groups that were running, for example pottery, crochet and art, as well as community leaves and life skills groups. These two weeks gave me a really good insight into all of the different opportunities and gave me a chance to meet lots of the patients. I also spent time getting to know my multidisciplinary team. Currently my team has a caseload of 11 patients and we have a clinical team meeting each week in which we discuss each patient’s progress and requests.

I felt a bit like a student for the first 2 weeks but it was a really helpful way to learn about everything going on at the unit, as there is a lot to take in. I then had a unit induction which was a week long and covered a variety of topics including security and core values of the unit. I found lots of the sessions really informative and particularly enjoyed getting to know some of the other new starters at the unit.

Now I have settled in I plan my own diary each week and fit in sessions around meetings. My schedule is completely different every day which I really like. Some days I am in the unit doing group and individual interventions including art and pottery, as well as cooking, baking and community leave. I try to meet with each patient on my caseload once a fortnight to catch up with them and talk about their engagement with activities. I also have regular meetings with the OT team and clinical team. I have also been allocated to oversee the unit magazine which is completely new to me!

In terms of personal support the OT team have been really great in helping me settle in and are always happy to answer my questions, no matter how silly they may sound. I have had regular supervision with my line manager and a band 6 OT in which I have been able to discuss my caseload management as well as discussing how I have been settling in and what I need to support with. During these first few weeks I have also got started on the preceptorship for newly qualified occupational therapists and I am hoping to get some of the assignments done in the next few weeks. The preceptorship seems a really good way to make sure I have developed the core competencies for a band 5 OT.

I have found the transition from a student to a qualified OT really exciting and feel that I have had really good support along the way. Because of the first couple of weeks shadowing I feel that I have been gradually eased in to the role which has been really helpful. In the New Year I will be taking on some more responsibilities such as writing reports. One thing I didn’t quite expect is the level of autonomy that I now have as a band 5 rather than a student, it feels strange being on my own and not always following around my educator! It’s really nice to develop my own clinical reasoning and make some of my own decisions. There’s loads of support here though so I never feel that I’m on my own.

Over the last few weeks things have gone really well, I’ve settled into my team and clinical team and I’m enjoying the creative aspect of the role. One thing I’ve found difficult though is settling into a routine, I am still finding the early mornings difficult. Hopefully after a few months I’ll settle into a good routine and be less tired during the day. I’m excited to see what my next few months will bring.

So are we Naomi, thank you for your contribution to the blog…….