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.