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From toddlers, tottering about and finding their feet in life, to the elderly approaching the end of theirs. From bustling classrooms, to orderly hospital wards, comfortable flats and family homes, you see a full spectrum of people and places as an occupational therapy student. For me, that’s what makes it so special. I truly believe that every budding occupational therapist will find their future at Bournemouth.

The structure of the course allows you to test out different specialities, with each placement promoting immersion in the profession, learning what you love, and absorbing information from those who know it best; qualified occupational therapists. Everyone I met on my first placement was incredibly willing to help, and there was always someone there to answer all my questions. Everyone was happy to share their hints and tips from collective years of experience. From the Royal Bournemouth Hospital to rural communities in Somerset; the university will ensure that you are happy and settled, with an abundance of support from a whole network of staff. Every student is allocated a personal placement educator, making sure you’re comfortable and aware of any expectations.

The classroom-based learning is really exciting – trust me it’s far from boring! Sometimes classes might be taken on the beach, sometimes a task might be to make a cardboard leisure centre accessible for everyone. I guess what I’m trying to say, is don’t expect to be sat in front of a whiteboard simply copying down notes! The excitement hasn’t waned as the year has progressed; with sessions in breakaway training where we have been able to practice in pairs, learning how to fend for ourselves, and stay safe.

Because occupational therapy has such a small cohort you get to know those around you, learning and enjoying student life with the group. You accrue a close network of friends and everyone is always there to support you, wanting you to excel, by working together.  The course has a mix of people from a huge variety of backgrounds, with all sorts of experience. This enables us to learn from each other; mature students and school leavers alike we all have different views and knowledge to share. With regards to assessment, again the university has made sure there is something for everyone whether it may be essays and written tasks or placement feedback and practical sessions, this ensures that everyone has their chance to shine.

Asides from this; studying occupational therapy has taught me how I can make a difference to those at their most vulnerable; and this is undeniably the best part of the degree. There are so many

things we take for granted. Think about your daily routine for example. You roll out of bed, get dressed, have breakfast, rush around to find your things before going to work or school. There are some individuals who can’t do any of these simple tasks and the ability to get out of bed alone would be a dream come true. An occupational therapist learns how to help that person. We help those to get out of bed perhaps with a hoist system, or using some handrails that can be put around a home. We help educate families so people’s way of living can improve, essentially transforming lives, and on a placement this may be something we see on a daily basis. Working together with a whole range of health professionals; nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, and mental health staff to name just a few, we can work to make things possible, addressing patient’s goals whether this may be socialising, eating, working or getting back into education. This team work acts to drastically improve a service user’s welfare.

Lots of people start to doubt their course decisions; but from day one of studying occupational therapy I never have. I wake up each morning looking forward to the day ahead; a lecture, seminar, placement or group project is always so much more than it seems. I have made friends for life, and don’t think I will ever stop learning. Studying occupational therapy has provided me with so many great opportunities, and I’m not even half way through my first year, I can’t wait to see what is to come!

Emma, Occupational Therapy student

Find out more about our BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy.

New for 2020: Occupational therapy students on courses from September 2020 may be eligible for non-repayable government funding of at least £5,000 a year. Further details on who can access the support will be available in early 2020. Find out more information about the funding in the website.

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