Congratulations to Sarah Cooke ….. one of our graduates who has been selected as a UK finalist by the Case Management Society. Sarah shares her story with us…..

When did you study at YSJ?
I started studying OT at YSJ in 2004 and graduated in 2007. My youngest child had just started at primary school so the timing felt perfect because I could study whilst my children were at school.

What was your favourite aspect of OT at YSJ?
Being on placement! I loved being able to apply the knowledge and skills learnt at YSJ into the work place. I always thought I wanted to be a mental health OT but when my first placement was in an adult community physical setting I knew this area of OT was for me!
I must mention the support I received at YSJ – up until going to YSJ I had always struggled academically but was too stubborn to give up on my dream of a career as an OT. YSJ arranged for an assessment and I discovered I have dyslexia. The support I received from my tutors was amazing and a special thanks goes to the lovely Mary Craine (my study development tutor), who always believed in my abilities. I was delighted to qualify with a 2:1 in 2007

What are you up to now?
I left YSJ in 2007 and started my first band 5 temporary post with a community physical adult team. After 9 months I joined a physical hospital rotation working on the orthopaedic, rehabilitation and general medicine wards. After a year, a band 6 post came up with the community team so I jumped at the chance to go back to the team having a preference for community work. Over the years I developed a passion for working with individuals with neurological conditions and developing my skills in postural management.
Looking for a new challenge, I made the difficult decision last year to leave the NHS. I set myself up as self employed and started working in the private sector as a clinical case manager and independent occupational therapist. I was delighted to finish my first year as a Case Management Society UK finalist and was invited to attend the awards ceremony hosted by James Cracknell OBE double Gold Olympic rower. It was an honour to meet James and listen to his inspiring personal story about the brain injury he sustained when cycling across America, his recovery and the impact on his family. I would recommend reading his autobiography “Touching Distance”!

My advice to anybody thinking about making a career change is go for it!

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