We are currently working to resolve technical issues preventing us from processing applications or payment for membership. Please email Membership on subscriptions@rheumatology.org.uk with any queries.

Overview

Find out more about what a career as an occupational therapist specialising in rheumatology looks like.

An occupational therapist (OT) is a trained healthcare professional who works with people to help them carry out everyday activities and lead fulfilling lives.

Some OTs have specialist skills in treating people with arthritis. OTs may work in hospitals, Social Services or primary care.

Information

Qualifications

To become an occupational therapist, you'll need to complete training in an approved degree-level course. There are full- and part-time university courses or a degree apprenticeship. Completing your training involves lots of practical work helping support patients.

If you already have a degree in a relevant subject area and healthcare experience, there are postgraduate degrees.

To be a successful occupational therapist, you'll need to be a problem-solver, have patience and great communication skills. If you want to work in paediatric and adolescent care, you'll need to be able to communicate effectively with the whole family and especially children and young people.

Pathway

You'll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council to be able to practice.

Once you're working in the field, you'll start off as a band 5, building up your skills working in rotation in different departments. This is when you'll be able to experience rheumatology. If you'd like to work in paediatric and adolescent care, you can apply to get experience of this on rotation.

With more training and experience, you can apply for more senior positions. You might want to expand your knowledge into a specific area and become a specialist, such as a hand therapist.

Training opportunities

As an OT, you'll need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date with continuing professional development. One of the main ways to widen your understanding is in-house training from more senior colleagues with rheumatology experience.

You can also attend training, networking and conferences. Look out for events run in your own hospital or Trust as well as BSR and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

A typical week

Your role involves helping support patients to maintain their daily activities and finding ways to continue their lives despite their mobility problems.

You'll get to work with patients from diagnosis and throughout their treatment, with most of your time spent seeing a wide variety of patients in clinics. You'll identify what barriers patients are facing because of their condition and assess the need for equipment or modifications to their home, workplace or community.

You'll help people find a way forward and you'll work alongside the multidisciplinary team to support patients to reach their goals.

Resources

Royal College of Occupational Therapists