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Occupational Therapist

One of our occupational therapists

What is Occupational therapy in an acute hospital?

Sometimes following an illness, injury or operation people may have difficulty carrying out their daily activities. Occupational therapy aims to help people to carry out the activities – or ‘occupations’ – they need to do and want to do. This can include personal care, domestic tasks, leisure and work. Occupational therapy ‘enables people to achieve health, well-being and life satisfaction through participation in occupation’ [Royal College of Occupational Therapists 2003]

Based in the renowned CUH, our dedicated occupational therapy team delivers a patient-centred service to over one thousand patients in a specialist treatment centre with a worldwide reputation.

What careers are available within Occupational therapy?

We’re proud to offer a wide range of job opportunities in the department, which include occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and administration staff. We employ qualified occupational therapists from band 5 to band 8C. We offer rotational posts at band 5 and 6 which provide staff with a comprehensive knowledge of the role of occupational therapy in an acute setting. The diversity of rotations available provide a wide range of learning opportunities which will improve your analytical skills and clinical reasoning. Plus provide you with an excellent grounding on the impact of illness, injury etc. on patients occupations, which is invaluable for your continued career. At CUH, we use the CMOP-E model to guide our practice when assessing a patients occupational performance. Goals and treatment plans are made in collaboration with patients when planning their discharge from our services.

We have ten teams which work in the hospital either in out- patients clinics i.e. Hand Therapy, Perioperative review informing management of elective surgery (PRIME) and Rheumatology and Pain and in-patients i.e. Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Frailty, Major Trauma and Neuro Rehabilitation, Medical, Neurosciences, Orthopaedics and Stroke and Rehabilitation, etc.

How do I become an Occupational therapist?

As a member of the team, you’ll have access to a wealth of formal and informal teaching and learning opportunities, including training programmes, research groups, and the University of Cambridge medical library.

We’re committed to developing the knowledge and skills of our therapists; at CUH, you’ll receive invaluable peer and senior support to help guide your professional development and career progression.

All newly qualified occupational therapists will undertake the CUH Preceptorship program which allows further multidisciplinary work in a controlled environment.

The department is very proud of the support it provide its staff and offers a comprehensive supervision program for all members of staff.

Comments from members of staff:

“When looking for a place to work, rotations were the first thing on my mind. The Trust has a fantastic variety, so was a great place to start my career.”

“The Trust features an excellent preceptorship program, designed for new staff to better understand what it means to be a health care professional in a large acute hospital”.

What qualifications are required to work in Occupational therapy?

An occupational therapist who is employed by Addenbrooke’s must be qualified and state registered, this ensures that they are properly qualified and governed by a professional code of conduct.

The minimum academic entry requirements for occupational therapy degree courses are:
To be at least 18 years old and have five GCSE passes, including two at A level (or three at Higher Grade if you studied in Scotland). At least one science subject must be passed at one of these levels. A’ level Biology is particularly useful and is required by some universities.

Alternatives to GCSEs:
There are a number of alternatives to GCSEs including validated Access courses, BTEC National Diploma/Certificates, NVQs AND GNVQs. Contact the Royal College of Occupational Therapists for further information.

Where can I study?

There are many occupational therapy courses within the UK. The local universities to CUH are University of East Anglia, University of Northampton, Coventry University and the University of Essex.

What personal qualities and experience do I need to work in Occupational therapy?

In addition to academic qualifications, you will need to show empathy and rapport with a wide range of people. The role is demanding and occupational therapists need to be resilient, however it is also extremely rewarding and you will often leave work with a smile on your face! You will make a real difference to the lives of your patients.

What is an Occupational Therapy Assistant?

You need to be educated to the equivalent of GSCE level and having some experience in healthcare is an advantage. You need be aged 17 years or older.

Are there work shadow opportunities available within the department?

The occupational therapy department offers work-shadow opportunities, which is a fantastic way to see first-hand what the job entails and also gives you a chance to meet some of the staff and ask questions over.

For further information please call 01223 217244 or email Occupational Therapy

Useful links

Contact Occupational Therapy

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (opens in a new tab) is primarily involved with the professional standards and educational aspects of occupational therapy, together with the development of research activity, evidence-based practice and the continuing professional development (CPD) of its members. The College also represents the profession on a local, national and international level. The advisory role of the College is crucial in influencing all governmental policies and procedures that affect the practice of occupational therapy.

Career Handbook: The Royal College of Occupational Therapists have a very useful career handbook (opens in a new tab) which provides plenty of information and answers some frequently asked questions.

All therapists working in the UK must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (opens in a new tab):  For occupational therapists who have overseas qualifications, contact: Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU; Tel (+44) 0207 840 9700