MSc occupational therapy help

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westeleanor
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Hi, I’m looking to start a post grad in occupational therapy and would like some advice. After graduating last year and having a year off (still working) to get over burnout and to reflect about what sort of career I want I’ve decided to do a masters in occupational therapy as this sort of career path just aligns with all my personal strengths and I really want a career in helping other people and making a difference in their lives.
Anyways if anyone has done the OT Msc then I would really appreciate any sort of advice you would have for me whether that be placement advice, coping with the work load, balancing life in general with it etc, literally open to any input. I do have dyslexia and my last degree, although I ended up not enjoying the content at the end of my degree and therefore made it difficult to cope with, I did struggle in an academic sense and just don’t want to be out of my depth and crash and burn. A few OTs I’ve talked to have said there is a lot of support offered so that makes me feel more comforted by it but I just want some inside knowledge. Thank you in advance! ☺️
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by westeleanor)
Hi, I’m looking to start a post grad in occupational therapy and would like some advice. After graduating last year and having a year off (still working) to get over burnout and to reflect about what sort of career I want I’ve decided to do a masters in occupational therapy as this sort of career path just aligns with all my personal strengths and I really want a career in helping other people and making a difference in their lives.
Anyways if anyone has done the OT Msc then I would really appreciate any sort of advice you would have for me whether that be placement advice, coping with the work load, balancing life in general with it etc, literally open to any input. I do have dyslexia and my last degree, although I ended up not enjoying the content at the end of my degree and therefore made it difficult to cope with, I did struggle in an academic sense and just don’t want to be out of my depth and crash and burn. A few OTs I’ve talked to have said there is a lot of support offered so that makes me feel more comforted by it but I just want some inside knowledge. Thank you in advance! ☺️
Hi there,

It's great to hear you have an interest in studying Occupational Therapy, I'm currently in my second year of the MSc Occupational Therapy programme at the Unviersity of Southampton and I love it. I find it to be very rewarding and we work with such a variety of people in a variety of settings which makes it so diverse.

In terms of advice I can give you, I can only speak from my experience at the University of Southampton, and obviously every unviersity is different and every student has different experiences!!

Placement - Placements are hard work and can be very tiring as you know you're being observed a lot of the time, however they're a fanstic learning experience and so much of what I've learnt and understood has come from my placements and being able to put theory into practice.
On placement you have a practice educator who is your supervisor whilst on placement and is the best person to go to for your day to day help - it's a good idea to let them know about considerations (such as dyslexia) so they can support you to their best ability whilst you're on placement wiht them. At Southampton we also have a contact at the university in case we have concerns our educator can't deal with.
I've had a lovely variety of placements. I have had to travel quite a bit for some of them and for one of them I moved away for 6 weeks, however these have shown to be fantastic networking experiences and it's great to spend time in a different area/city! In England (I'm not sure about the rest of the UK) you can claim back a lot of travel/relocation expensese through the NHS learning support fund.

Balance/workload - I have found the workload manageable and try to do my university work in a 9-6 timeframe like a working week and then give myself weekends/evenings off so I can enjoy my time off. Obviously sometimes if the workload increases, especially around exams/deadlines it might not always be possible and everyone has their own working pattern/style so it depends what suits them, this is just what worked for me
My lecture patterns have varied a lot, sometimes I have been in almost 9am-4pm, 4/5 days a week, however other semsters I've only had lectures on one day. I've found that semesters when my timetable was most intense, I had very little work to do outside of taught lectures, whereas when I had only one day of lectures a week I had more independent study to be doing. This probably varies from university to university but that's been my experience!

Support - Again every university is different (sorry for sounding like a broken record!) but they should have a support sytem in place to help with concerns. Whether it's your lecturers or a specific service. At Southampton we have enabling services who help students who may need extra support, for example with Dyslexia. They may be able to help with any special considerations you need, such as extra time on exams.
Lecturers and supervisors want to see you succeed so if you feel you're struggling at any point it's best to contact them.

In terms of burnout, one thing I also like about OT is the work pattern. It depends on the service you're in and the demands of the service but OTs don't tend to do shift work and tend to be on a more regular daytime working pattern which can help with burnout and work-life balanace. If you're worried about the support and balanace/workload, it would definitley be worth looking at the website or contacting the universities you're considering to understand the course structure and the support they have available Have you had a chance to consider what universities you're interested in? It would be great to hear about them!

Throughout my degree so far I've met so many amazing OTs and health professionals and I've enjoyed my placements so much. A lot of the time, you get out from it what you put it. It's definitley challenging and the degree can be intense but it's manageable and there's often different sources of support you can reach out to for help!

I hope some of that infomation has helped you (sorry it's a very long paragraph!). I always get excited when I hear people are considering Occupational Therapy as I think it's a fantastic career and not one people know alot about!

If you have any further questions please do let me know, I'd be more than happy to answer them!!

Katie
Offiical University of Southampton student rep
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/
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westeleanor
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Hi Katie, you’re an absolute star, thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a detailed answer, I really appreciate it! I’m thinking of a few different unis at the moment, primarily in the north/ north east where my parents are as I’m considering moving back home with them for a while. I’m looking more so Teesside and york St. John have swayed me currently as they’re January starts rather than September which might be better as it gives me a bit more time to sort things out.
If you don’t mind me asking, what bsc did you do? I’m worried that I may be at a bit of a disadvantage as my undergrad isn’t massively related to occupational therapy. Also are there any sort of prerequisite that you would recommend for me to be doing before I start, I’m currently on a mission to get as much experience as possible but other than that is there anything you would recommend I should be doing??
Thank you so much again!!
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by westeleanor)
Hi Katie, you’re an absolute star, thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a detailed answer, I really appreciate it! I’m thinking of a few different unis at the moment, primarily in the north/ north east where my parents are as I’m considering moving back home with them for a while. I’m looking more so Teesside and york St. John have swayed me currently as they’re January starts rather than September which might be better as it gives me a bit more time to sort things out.
If you don’t mind me asking, what bsc did you do? I’m worried that I may be at a bit of a disadvantage as my undergrad isn’t massively related to occupational therapy. Also are there any sort of prerequisite that you would recommend for me to be doing before I start, I’m currently on a mission to get as much experience as possible but other than that is there anything you would recommend I should be doing??
Thank you so much again!!
Hi,

You're very welcome, it's always great when people are interested in OT!

My undergraduate was BSc Education and Psychology from the Unviersity of Southampton- every university is different but University of Southampton recognised that (the Psychology part) as a good, science based undergraduate. Southampton was also a January start and I decided quite late on so it worked as a good fit for me to start in January too I would definitley recomend going to visit the universities you're considering to talk to staff and see which one feels right for you! Every university has different prerequities for the course so it would be worth contacting the universities and asking them if they accept your undergraduate. Do you mind me asking what your undergraduate is in?

In terms of experience, again, it's best to check with individual universities and when you get a place they may have pieces of preperation work they'd like you to do. I would say experience, where possible, is fantastic - shadowing OTs can be hard to get but is great for you to get an idea of the role of an OT.

I hope that infomation helps - please let me know if there's anything more I can help you with

Katie - official University of Southampton student rep
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westeleanor
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#5
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That’s really interesting. I’m planning on having a look around on the open days which are soon for most of the ones I’m looking at.
My undergrad was in environmental health so again it’s a science and had a lot to do with public health however I’m just a bit wary that it won’t be enough to be accepted along with it only being a 2:2. I worked so hard despite my dyslexia being diagnosed in my third year so I’m definitely proud of it however I’m just worried those two will be a bit of a hinderance but like you say I think it’s something I’ll have to enquire on each uni if they’ll accept it.
Shadowing I’ve found is extremely difficult to get especially with policies still in place for covid but I’m sure I’ll get something soon!
Thanks again! Eleanor.
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Uni of Southampton Students
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#6
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Hi Eleanor,

That sounds like a really interesting degree and a big achievement. As you said, it's definitley worth contacting each of the universities and seeing if they'd accpet it and whether there's anything you can do to enhance your applicaiton! A big part is being able to demonstrate the experience and how it can help you with your Occupational Therpay degree/career.

I hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck

Please let me know if you have any more questions

Katie
Official University of Southampton student rep
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