Interview – Michelle Maclean
Occupational Therapist – Michelle Maclean
What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
- Rewarding: The people I get to meet – clients, medical + allied health people, insurers, builders, equipment suppliers
- Helping them
- Working with them
- Often at their most vulnerable/overwhelming time in their lives
- The sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction with helping people achieve better health, independence and goals.
- Challenging: The juggle – balancing everyone’s interests, expectations and goals – Injured worker, employer, insurer, other medical and allied health staff.
If people were considering working as an Occupational Therapist what advice would you give them?
- DO IT! But don’t do it to WORK as an Occupational Therapist – do it because you want to BE an Occupational Therapist. I love what I do!
What qualifications or experience is required to become an Occupational Therapist?
- Bachelor Degree at University
o 4 year undergrad or 2 year grad entry masters
- I have also studied:
o 2 years – post grad diploma ergonomics
o 2 years – post grad diploma OH & S
o Accredited mediator
What path did you take to become an Occupational Therapist?
- Obtained an OP4 (needed an OP 3 – for OT)
- Studied social work at UQ for my first year
- Transferred to OT in my second year at Uni when I could upgrade my OP
Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?
- Not really
o I often thought I would enjoy being an ambulance officer
Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?
- Yes – but expanding on my role and self as an occupational therapist eg mediator, driving training OT, Case manager OT
What did you want to be when you grew up?
- In grade 10 – our career guidance counsellor gave me a huge book of careers to go through
- OT appealed to me by the type of work, options for variability working with paediatrics, geriatrics, hand therapy, mental health, community etc + I really liked the long name it had!
What are your standard hours?
- Like any business owner – minimum of 4 hours/day up to 16 hour days. Mostly ~8-10hrs / 5 days a week
- Prep on weekends
Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?
- Like any university degree – studying undergraduate OT teaches you how to learn – nothing really prepares you for your first patient, or your second patient or your third patient etc – each person is unique and different.
- Never stop learning.