Working as an occupational therapist at Addenbrooke's

Thinking about a career as an occupational therapist? Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions.

What qualifications are required to work in occupational therapy at Addenbrooke's?

An occupational therapist who is employed by Addenbrooke's Trust must be qualified and state registered (see below). This ensures that they are properly qualified, governed by a professional code of conduct; and are covered by personal liability insurance.

What are the advantages of working as an occupational therapist at Addenbrooke's?

Addenbrooke's Hospital has more than 1000 beds and is a teaching hospital with close links to the University of Cambridge and several occupational therapy schools.

The Department is team based and potential employees can benefit from senior and clinical specialist support in all teams (see below).

There is a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and continuous professional development (CPD) through an active in-service training programme and a newly introduced CPD policy, which involves all staff.

Courses are regularly organised, and accredited post-registration education is encouraged. The Department is also actively involved in research and development.

How is the department organised?

There are 31 occupational therapists and 14 assistant staff, who are organised into 10 clinical teams based at Addenbrooke's

  • Adult Rehabilitation and Brain-Injury Outreach
  • Care of the Elderly
  • Hand Service
  • Medical Services
  • Neurosciences (including oncology and neuroscience)
  • Orthopaedics
  • Rapid Response (in A&E and MAU)
  • Rheumatology
  • Surgical Services
  • Stroke

Each team is led by a senior occupational therapist who, together with the Manager of Occupational Therapy Services and the Clinical Governance Specialist, form the Occupational Therapy Management Team.

What qualifications do I need for occupational therapy?

The minimum academic entry requirements for occupational therapy degree courses are:

To be at least 18 years old and have five GCSE passes (or equivalent eg O levels), 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 College of Occupational Therapists for further information (see below).

What qualifications do I need to be an occupational therapy assistant?

You do not require any formal qualifications to become an occupational therapy assistant. You do need to be aged 17 years or older - and some experience in healthcare is an advantage.

Is occupational therapy suitable for mature applicants?

Mature applicants are welcomed on all occupational therapy courses, and will be considered by most universities, even if they do not meet the academic entry requirements.

What personal qualities and experience do I need for occupational therapy?

In addition to the academic qualifications, the applicant will need to develop and demonstrate empathy and rapport with different kinds of people. The role is demanding and occupational therapists need to be resilient. Your place on a training course might be dependent on a personal interview, which will assess these qualities.

Which organisations are associated with occupational therapy?

There are three main organisations for occupational therapy in the UK, which can send you information about occupational therapy as a career.

The British Association of Occupational Therapists is the professional association that members join, and to which they pay an annual subscription. Tel: 0207 357 6480;

The College of Occupational Therapists 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. Tel: 0207 357 6480; Website: www.cot.co.uk.

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