Inspirational Story

Katie Whiteley

Name: Katie Whiteley

Role: Social Care Occupational Therapist, Kirklees Council

Transition from NHS acute working to Social Care

What promoted you to consider a role as an Occupational Therapist outside of health services?

Having worked in the NHS for 17 years I never thought I would leave.

I worked in the acute service, and I very much enjoyed my job. However, the lack of flexible working options, lengthy commute to my work place and having to cover weekends and bank holidays all had a negative impact on my work life balance and family life. I loved being an OT and I was reluctantly considering leaving the profession.


Had you considered working in social care before?

I had not considered working in social care and came across my current job by chance. I feel very fortunate to have discovered this.

The reasons for leaving my old job in the NHS do not exist in my role in social care. I am a hybrid worker which allows me to work from the office or home and hours are worked flexibly. This enables me to balance my career and personal life well.


Were you able to transfer your skills to this new environment?

As well as gaining everything I required for my personal needs, I have also made gains with my clinical development. I was able to transfer many of my skills to my new job including clinical knowledge and skills but additional learning was also required.

I now need to be aware of and comply with legislation such as the Care Act, Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act and Disabled Facilities Grants. My skills in the provision of adaptations have significantly increased.

My caseload varies greatly which is one of the most interesting aspects of this post

What does your role of Occupational Therapist look like in Social Care?

My caseload varies greatly which is one of the most interesting aspects of this post. One day I can be simply providing a shower board to enable someone to maintain their independence with personal care. The next day I can be providing equipment, assessing and ordering adaptations and training family in moving and handling techniques to support a client to return home from a care home.


What are the main differences?

The pace of work is slower in this role with no set time limit for assessments which allows for quality holistic assessments to take place, focussing on individual short term and longer term needs of clients and their carers.

The work is person centred taking into account all aspects of daily life including leisure to meet people’s own goals enabling them to live the life they want to as much as possible. All interventions are personalised to meet these needs.


What has been the biggest change?

I spend most of my time working at home and lone working in the community. We meet regularly as a team and speak daily but compared to working in the hospital the in-person meetings are much less frequent.

This was a huge change for me and did take a little time to get used to. I am very lucky to be working in such a supportive team though and my colleagues are only a phone call away.

I would highly recommend working in social care and I wish I had considered it sooner.