"My role allows me to specialise and develop an expertise in one area. I get to work within a world renowned tertiary centre, seeing rare conditions being treated on a daily basis."
Antony had been working as a fitness instructor until the age of 24, but found his career choice unfulfilling. He decided to study occupational therapy because of its holistic approach. He remembers: “I thought about my choices and decided that with occupational therapy I would be able to treat patients as a whole; assessing their physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive needs”. He enrolled in an occupational therapy degree at Canterbury University and qualified in 2009.
The role of the occupational therapist in haematology is broad and focuses on supporting patients’ with improving their independence, condition management and general wellbeing. Antony explains: “An example of therapy intervention would be helping patients manage their (cancer) treatment related fatigue. I would help them to develop various strategies that allow them to increasingly manage their energy levels more efficiently and meaningfully”.
At UCLH Antony is now the occupational therapy specialist for one of the UK’s leading haematology teams. He treats a wide variety of patients within the hospital environment. The job is varied, as Antony explains: “Every day is different. Patients can be in their 20s or in their 80s and can be at completely different stages of their treatment. This could include somebody going through a transplant or assisting patients with their end of life care. The role can be challenging, but all the more rewarding when you can help patients and their relatives through such an emotive and difficult time”.
Every day Antony faces a long commute to London from Kent, but for him there is no place he would rather be. “It is a long commute, but it is worth it for the opportunities I have at UCLH. My role allows me to specialise and develop an expertise in one area. I get to work within a world renowned tertiary centre, seeing rare conditions being treated on a daily basis”.
Future developments at UCLH will create more opportunities for Antony and his colleagues. In 2018 UCLH will open a new facility that will be the largest centre for the treatment of blood diseases in Europe, and one of the most state-of-the-art in the world. “I’m looking forward to leading the haematology therapy team into the future. We hope to play a pivotal part within the multi-disciplinary team at the new specialist haematology centre. Exciting times are ahead!”