Diana Doherty is a Major Trauma Occupational Therapist, currently covering Acute Paediatrics at St George’s. She gives us an insight into her personal journey going into this career field and just why Occupational Therapy is so important:

“As a young girl I could never have imaging ending up in the career of Occupational Therapy, simply because I had never heard of the profession. Throughout my childhood, I had always been mindful of other people’s health and functional deficits, however, I struggled to find a career path which looks at all aspects of an individual, including their daily activities.

“As I grew up, my vision changed following an unexpected introduction to the role of Occupational Therapy. At a young age my two brothers were diagnosed with Osteosarcoma and Ewing-sarcoma a few years apart from each other. These life-changing diagnoses opened my eyes to a whole new career-path. Seeing my brothers’ deterioration from able-bodied sportsmen to being confined to specific activities whilst undergoing treatment and being fitting with Ilizarov frames (external fixations), was heart-breaking. However, despite these challenges they were supported back to independence through the input of incredible Occupational Therapists alongside a whole multi-disciplinary team. The alternative seating, dressing equipment and other functional aids provided to them was fascinating to me and allowed me to witness first-hand the remarkable work of Occupational Therapy and its impact on my brothers’ physical functioning and psychological well-being.

“Following this, my interest in the career was sparked. I attended shadow days in various service across Ireland and researched all that I could. After the completion of an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences, in University College Dublin, I went on to complete a MSc in Occupational Therapy in Queen Margaret’s University, Edinburgh – A decision I will never regret.

“I aim to continue to advocate for the incredible work we as Occupational Therapist do so that young children in search of a career, like I was, can understand what the career entails and how much of an impact Occupational Therapists can have on people’s lives.

“Now as a qualified Occupational Therapist, I look back on those experiences and realise why I got into OT – it’s not what is the matter with you when it comes to individuals but instead asking ‘what matters to you’.”