Recently I’ve been pondering some of the difference between my old job (Ward based lone OT in a Medium Secure Unit) and my new job (One of two OTs in a therapy team based in a private Autism and challenging behaviours school). The most major difference I think is the fact that I am now based in a therapy team as opposed to being a lone OT ward based.
I thought it would be useful to note some of the strengths and benefits to each different way of working.
Ward based – strengths:
· Easier to build a therapeutic relationship with your clients and get to know them and their personalities, strengths and weaknesses quickly. Build a stronger relationship from being round them more often.
· Easier to build relationships with staff as you are working directly with them on a day to day basis. Easier to communicate, swap ideas, become part of the overall team dynamics.
· Logistically you have everything you need around you. It’s easier to instantly speak to clients or to round them up for groups etc.
· You are directly linked to the ward programme and so you know when and where people are doing certain things – this makes it easier to plan groups, sessions etc.
Ward based – weaknesses:
· Hard to plan groups and sessions because you are hotdesking and sharing a limited work station with others.
· You are constantly being asked questions or being distracted by both staff and clients.
· You don’t have a chance to leave the ward for a break which can make the days long and draining.
· You don’t get to directly work with the MDT as in my last post only the OT and nurses were Ward based. Therefore the Psychology team and social workers were not present on the ward other than for occasional sessions with clients.
· Working as a lone OT (only one OT per ward) meant that you were lone working and this proved hard from a CPD/sharing knowledge and advice perspective as well as being tiring maintaining the OT role and having a large caseload and list of responsibilities for one person – especially if you are a newly grad. Or new to the area of practice.
School based strengths:
· You get to work as part of a therapy team – I work along side another OT, Speech and Language Therapists, a Nurse and Psychology team. This is great for sharing ideas, knowledge, resources etc. I’m learning so much from spending my days surrounded by these people.
· You have a desk and places to store resources, a quite place to do work uninterrupted. You don’t have to worry about hot-desking or where to put the resources for your next group etc. If you need to concentrate and right a report you can without being distracted.
· The other staff in the school has more of an idea who you are in relation to your job role as you are instantly known as being in the Therapy team.
· You are able to plan groups and make resources, look at research etc. more when you have the office space and the time to do so.
· You have a place to reflect and debrief after any stressful situations of incidents. Being able to come back to your team and talk things through or vent about certain situations helps you to deal with them then and there, rather than carrying them around with you and needing to hide it when ward based and surrounded by clients all the time.
School Based - weaknesses:
· You don’t build a report with the clients you work with as quickly as you would when you are ward based and around them throughout the whole day.
· It is easy to get into the trap of spending more time at your office rather than on the ‘shop floor’ as you get caught up planning, writing reports etc.
I think I can definitely say that I am enjoying working as a School based therapy Team OT in comparison to lone working as Ward based. It would be really interesting to hear if anyone else has experienced this change and what they feel/prefer?
Happy OTuesday everyone,