Creating the career you want with occupational therapy

Enabling occupational therapy students to create the career they want is one of the aims at Griffith University as it prepares to launch its new undergraduate program in 2014.

Occupational Therapy is an essential health service dedicated to enabling people to live meaningful lives and participate in society.

Occupational Therapy Week 2013 20-26 October

With Occupational Therapy Week 2013 coming up 20-26 October as a national initiative that seeks to promote the important role of occupational therapy in the community, the profession has been identified as an area of national skills shortage, with demand for skilled practitioners tipped to rise from 2016.

The Gold Coast meanwhile, is the second most rapidly growing area in Queensland, with a steadily ageing population with an associated disability and illness factor.“Traditionally occupational therapists have worked in hospital and educational settings with all ages of people who face challenges due to physical or mental health issues,” says Bachelor of Occupational Therapy program convenor Professor Matthew Molineux from the School of Rehabilitation Sciences.

“These opportunities still exist, but we are seeing a shift in the profession and there are now emerging areas for OTs to work in such as with people who are refugees, people
who are homeless and within prisons. The settings can be very diverse and it is this diversity that will provide OT students with the chance to create the career they want.”

A role-emerging placement

In line with contemporary thinking in the profession, the Griffith Bachelor of Occupational Therapy will include a ‘role emerging placement’ during the third year of the program.

This will see students attend a setting where no OT is in practice and require them to ask themselves what they can contribute from a professional perspective.

“For example, successful placements we have seen in the past in UK universities have included students attending a refugee organisation where women from diverse multicultural backgrounds have entered the country without any background knowledge on the local food and what may be culturally appropriate. The occupational therapy students supported a group of women to source, make and share food in a supportive environment. This developed their skills but also supported them during a time of
challenging transition.

“Students who complete role emerging placements become more confident and skilled problem solvers. They are also able to transfer these skills into improved professional
strategies within the more traditional OT settings,” says Professor Molineux.

Griffith’s Bachelor of Occupational Therapy is set to be offered to around 40 students from February 2014. For more information, visit

Please note: Professor Matthew Molineux will be speaking about ‘Occupation based practice’ at the upcoming Mental Health and Paediatrics Symposium at Sea World Resort
and WaterPark, Gold Coast on October 24-26. The event is hosted by Occupational Therapy Australia Queensland. For more information