Abigail Appleby

Job Title

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Where are you based?

In the community, visiting people in their homes.

Is your role clinical or non-clinical?


When you were at school, did you want to join the NHS?

Not really. I decided after I finished my degree that I wanted to change course and work for the NHS.

What qualifications did you have when you joined the NHS?

I had a University degree in Modern Languages.

How did you come to work in the NHS?

I wanted to work in the NHS as an Occupational Therapy Assistant because I was inspired by an Occupational Therapist who helped me when I was in hospital. I knew I wanted to help other people just like she helped me.

I saw an advertisement for my job on Indeed and put in my application via the website. I had an interview with my manager, a colleague and a service user, and was called the same day to say I had been successful. The process was very straightforward.

Briefly explain your job

I work in a clinical role as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I work with people with mental health problems such as schizophrenia and depression. My role is to help people to re-engage in activities that are meaningful to them, such as self-care, leisure and volunteering.

My day often involves doing some admin work or having a team meeting in the morning and preparing sessions for my clients. When visiting a patient, we might do some crafts, go for a walk or just have a chat. I then go home to write up my notes about the visit on our database.

What do you love about your job?

The best part of my job is witnessing the transformation of my patients from when I first see them to when they are discharged. Often people have gained a lot of confidence and appear calmer and happier. They are engaging with many more activities which bring joy and structure to their lives.

What is challenging about your role?

One of the challenges of my job is working with people with severe and enduring mental health issues, which is often sad to witness. I have to remain level-headed to make sure my job doesn’t impact my own mental health. That said, working in mental health is so rewarding because I know my work is helping people to improve the quality of their everyday lives.

What would you say to a young person thinking of joining the NHS?

Be ambitious and don’t be afraid to apply! In my interview, my passion for mental health shone through. I am glad I applied for the job, even though I was doubting I would get it, because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not applied.

A careers advisor once told me that I need to look at my values when trying to decide on a career. I am a compassionate person, meaning I would suit a job in healthcare. I am also very creative and my job role allows me to use this skill when designing resources and planning my sessions as well as when I do arts and crafts with my patients.

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