Welcoming new Occupational Therapy Academic staff to YSJ

Our October blog is to welcome three new staff to the Occupational Therapy Team at YSJ: Emma, Tracey and Lauren.  All three have join us from clinical practice and therefore bring with them a wealth of varied experience. They have kindly written a quick summary of who they are and their experience for us to share here. 

Tracey Woodall – is working with us Wednesdays to Fridays


My name is Tracey Woodall, and I am really excited to have joined the team at YSJ. I qualified at YSJ in July 2004 and since then have worked in a high secure forensic setting. I have worked across all 5 directorates within the hospital and am currently based in the Learning Disability Directorate. I work with patients individually and in groups. They have a range of diagnoses including autism, dyspraxia, mental illness and personality disorders. I use a trauma informed approach. Many patients experience occupational deprivation and have extremely low levels of motivation. I am creative in applying interventions to ensure they minimise risk and meet security demands in order that patients move along their treatment pathway. In 2021 I qualified as a Sensory Integration Practitioner which has brought an interesting perspective to my practice. I am passionate about supporting individuals learn to develop their skill set and to help support them to widen their horizons in whatever field they wish to pursue. I also enjoy buying boots.

Emma Barnes – is working with us Mondays through to Friday lunchtime.

My name is Emma and I am really excited to have joined the team at York St John. I have come from a background of working in Emergency Departments over the past 15 years in both Leeds and York, and I look forward to sharing my past experiences and knowledge with you. I have supervised many students from York St John on their placements, so it will be interesting to now be on the educational side. As well as my clinical background, I have volunteered as national lead for RCOT in the Acute Care and Emergency forum of the Older People Specialist Section and have also enjoyed guest lecturing at York St John. I really look forward to meeting you all!’

Lauren Bell – is working with us full time

Hello, my name is Lauren; I have recently joined the OT team here at York St John. I graduated as an occupational therapist from Northumbria University in 2018. My MSc research explored the lived experience of occupational performance for individuals with multiple sclerosis. My clinical experience is in mental health, and I have worked in both adults and older peoples services. My most recent role was in a community mental health service for older people. I provided specialist occupational therapy for patients residing in care homes, experiencing a relapse or deterioration in their mental health. I have particular interests in occupational therapy models, the role of occupational therapy in dementia care, and occupational identity in older adults.


YSJ students – you will be starting to see Emma, Tracey and Lauren in your teaching sessions increasingly over the next few weeks. YSJ practice educators  – you will start to see them during placement visits. Please all give them a warm welcome!

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