Michael began his career as an assistant psychologist, working as an activities coordinator, and has been supported to retrain as an occupational therapist and work his way up to his current position. Here, we find out more about his role, the work of the specialist service and what motivates him in both his personal and professional life.
Can you tell us a bit about your career background and experience?
I’m originally for Shropshire and first came to Nottingham in 1997 to study psychology at Trent. When I graduated, I stayed in Nottingham with plans to continue my studies after a short break from education to get some hands-on experience of working with people. That is why I joined the organisation, and began working as an activity coordinator having applied for assistant psychology posts up and down the country.
During my seven years in this role, I began working with OTs and something clicked. They were using elements of cognitive psychology alongside practical interventions within a framework of function, and it just made sense and this was the unexpected fork in the road that set me off on a different path than intended.
The company supported me through re-training in Occupational Therapy at Derby University. Unfortunately at the time of qualification there were no available OT positions within the Nottingham area, so I briefly left the company to begin my OT practice. Two years later an opening for a OT became available at Nottingham Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, which I applied for and thankfully was successful.
I’ve worked my way up through the bandings to a band seven position, and then an opportunity arose to cover the Head of Therapies role, initially through a colleague’s maternity leave, but eventually on a permanent basis.
Please give us an overview of the services that are provided at Nottingham Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre
Nottingham has three units – Fernwood, our high dependency unit, where we treat individuals with high nursing needs. They may present with a disorder of consciousness, have respiratory problems, tracheostomies or vents. We also have Millwood, a slow stream neurological rehabilitation unit, and Rosewood, a long-term neurological are unit.
What is your favourite thing about working at Nottingham Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre?
I love the variety and that everyday is different, we have a wide range of individuals presenting with everything from patients with tracheostomies and vents to high functioning patients whose primary difficulties are cognitive, so the scope and range of treatments we offer keeps everything fresh. The thing I enjoy the most is the people I work with and the atmosphere in the centre, we have some fantastic staff here which is really important when you’re working with very complex residents which can present some challenging situations.
What is your vision for the service in the short to mid-term future?
We have some exciting plans to reshuffle elements of our environment to better suit our residents’ needs, provide clear treatment pathways for residents to progress and move through the centre as part of their recovery journey. I’d really like to see those come to fruition and for us to work towards being recognised as a centre of excellence for neurological care and rehabilitation both locally and nationally.
Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time?! I’m a proud father of two children (a two-year-old and a six-month-old) so as you can imagine spare time is a little
on the short side at the moment! When I’m not being a dad, I’ve got a passion for photography and travel, both increasingly difficult now with a young family, but I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some very exciting countries and have some wonderful experiences, Cambodia probably being my favourite to date, but for the time being I’ve swapped backpacking in East Asia for long weekends at Center Parcs and I couldn’t be happier!