Stephanie Westlake-Tritton – MOccTh Occupational Therapy

Stephanie Westlake-Tritton
Stephanie Westlake-Tritton completed her studies at RGU while balancing being a mother of two, working and the pandemic as she looks to begin her career as an occupational therapist.

When she walks across the stage at P&J Live she will be graduating with a Master of Occupational Therapy qualification, but feels her time at RGU has given her more than that.

Stephanie had never worked in a healthcare setting before embarking on her higher education voyage although she soon realised that many of the skills picked up working in the public sector would stand her in good stead.

She said: “I am a mature student and have worked within the public sector most of my life. I had no experience in health care before embarking on the course; however, I have worked in public-facing roles through employment and volunteering opportunities.

“The first two years of the course were online due to the pandemic. The online teaching did make the process of being a mother to two children, working 15 hours a week and studying a full-time course slightly easier. However, we returned to teaching on campus in the third year, and I found it a challenge to adjust initially; despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed being on campus and getting to know my peers in person. I liked the idea that I was working with people and supporting them in returning to occupations that were meaningful to them. Having the course available in Aberdeen helped me decide to apply after realising it was a good fit.”

As well as having to adapt to campus learning in the aftermath of the pandemic, Stephanie was also diagnosed with dyslexia during her studies. Although this did not hold her back, it actually became something of an asset during her time on placement.

Overall, Stephanie said she has been inspired as a result of her time at RGU and that makes her determined to kick start her career as a occupational therapist.

She added: “Despite having dyslexia and the struggles it causes academically, it has its strengths within the occupational therapy world, and I have found it to be a benefit while on placement. For example, I have excellent observational skills, supporting my notes-taking after patient visits. I am a good problem solver, often looking at the bigger picture, which supports my analysis of why someone may struggle to engage in a meaningful occupation. I believe that being dyslexic and understanding some things are difficult supports my empathic side when supporting individuals on placement, supporting me to build therapeutic relationships.

“I have learned a lot from discussions with my peers in and out of class. Even though I am a mature student and have acquired skills and knowledge from my career at RGU, we all started at the same level in the course. The discussions broadened my understanding of occupational therapy. University teaches you the theory, which then sets you up for placement, and the importance of this becomes more apparent as the course goes on. My educators have inspired me, and the stages in which I have met them have encouraged me to work hard and achieve my goals in my future career as an occupational therapist.”

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