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Growing Careers in Occupational Therapy

From South Africa to London, building a career as an Occupational Therapist

In 2022 Rivania joined the Occupational Therapy team at London Bridge Hospital after relocating from South Africa. Now, she’s a Lead Occupational Therapist at The Wellington Hospital. Here, she shares insights into her rapid progression, how she’s been supported to take on new challenges and how she feels HCA’s culture of professional development makes it the perfect place for Occupational Therapists seeking to grow their career.

Tell us a bit about your career at HCA UK?

I joined HCA UK in June 2022 as a Senior Specialist Occupational Therapist at London Bridge Hospital. Within 9 months I’d successfully interviewed for a Neuro Occupational Therapist role and stepped into a more senior role as an Advanced Occupational Therapist. I worked very closely with my inpatient team leader to develop Occupational Therapy services while also receiving lots of support to work independently. Most recently, I’ve been appointed to the role of Lead Occupational Therapist at The Wellington Hospital, HCA UK’s rehabilitation hospital, a role I’ve been working very hard to achieve. Throughout my time at HCA I’ve felt appreciated and recognised for the work I do, from both my colleagues and also my managers.

How have you progressed so quickly?

I’ve had wonderful support from my inpatient team leader (Ann-Marie O’Reilly) since I joined HCA. I’d just relocated from South Africa and she was very understanding and patient with my adjustment to living in a new country and the different ways of working. As I became more settled in the role, I continued to receive support from my team leader to develop my skills and the Occupational Therapy services within London Bridge Hospital. Furthermore, I received a lot of support from the Head of Therapies (Adem Sogular). Both of my managers encouraged me to continuously develop my skills, learning and understanding. They listened to any concerns I had and provided opportunities for me to challenge myself and improve these concerns.

I’ve always felt supported by my managers as they have an open-door policy and prioritise staff needs. This includes personal and professional support and development.

Have you had any formal development?

I’ve had continuous training to help me carry out my job safely, independently and confidently whilst prioritising patient safety and satisfaction. I’ve had a wide variety of opportunities to attend Occupational Therapy conferences and training which has enhanced my professional development. HCA UK have excellent resources for ongoing personal and professional development if you take the opportunities as they come.

What was it like applying for a role abroad?

Applying for a role in the UK was challenging considering that I was not able to physically visit the facilities and meet with individuals face-to-face. This meant I had to rely on information I received online and from one individual who I knew worked at HCA. The deciding factor for me was that HCA were able to offer me a relocation package and support with adjusting to life in the UK. Furthermore, the benefits and support structures in place for staff members stood out to me.

There’re also great benefits in place for colleagues which makes day to day life that much easier.

What does the future look like for you?

Because of the amazing career development at HCA I can see myself staying here for the long term. I feel as though my hard work and dedication to my profession is appreciated at HCA. I’m supported to develop my professional skills; the work I do is appreciated and my opinions are respected; I have a voice. I’m so proud to be a part of renowned company such as HCA UK and I know that I will have a long and fruitful career here.

The HCA values are also so important to me and I see them reflected in the way we treat our patients and colleagues. I would recommend HCA to any Occupational Therapists looking for career opportunities abroad (and locally) – you’ll be well supported, valued and challenged; you’ll grow from strength to strength, and it will be a memorable experience. I’m part of a family at HCA UK and I’m so glad I joined the company.

Occupational Therapy Careers

At HCA UK we’re proud to invest in our colleagues futures. By caring for them, it allows them to deliver exceptional care to their patients.

If you’re an Occupational Therapist looking for a new role then we’d love to hear from you. You can take a look at all of our current Occupational Therapy roles below.

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