Case study

Learning in a pandemic: how Sarah’s developing her skills and her passion

Our Occupational Therapy degree has given Sarah Terry the knowledge, confidence and practical experience she needs to begin her career. She is full of praise for our academic team’s approach to learning during the pandemic and for the extracurricular opportunities that have given her the additional skills she needs to excel in future roles.

Feeling inspired

Sarah decided to study Occupational Therapy BSc (Hons) at Derby because she has aspirations of becoming an Occupational Therapist - and Derby’s facilities really stood out. She says: “As well as the location, I was very impressed with the facilities and also the Occupational Therapy programme.”

Being a mum of two young children, Sarah also wanted reassurance from her university that studying full time was feasible.

“During the Open Day, I was also able to speak to a member of the finance team who was able to give me a good idea of how much I would get from my maintenance loan. This enabled me to figure out whether as a family we could afford for me to become a full-time student and played a big part in my decision in coming to Derby.”

While Sarah is learning how to help others, she has been amazed by the support she has received herself during her time at the university. She says: “A lot of emphasis is put on the importance of positive mental health for the students and I certainly felt that any queries or concerns I had were always addressed and resolved.”

Outstanding staff

Sarah has given credit to her teaching staff in helping her overcome certain technological hurdles. This has given her the skills and confidence to use technology in practice once she graduates. She says: "Initially, I felt very overwhelmed by the technology. However, throughout the course, I have been given sufficient guidance to become more confident and it now feels second nature”

Despite the current social distancing guidance, she is still able to learn and praises her lecturers for enabling her to learn remotely while still receiving the same level of support she would on campus. She explains: “The lecturing staff have been incredible in making sure that we can continue with our studies as well as being supportive in helping us to understand the new methods of teaching.”

She also feels inspired by her lecturers, as they have plenty of industry experience. This helps her and her fellow students understand the theory better when applied to real world examples and claims it makes a real difference in learning from experienced professionals.

“All of the lecturers have had a career as an Occupational Therapist prior to becoming an academic. The case studies and examples are therefore true of the workforce that I will be entering into. This feels extremely reassuring that what we are learning will be used in our daily working lives once we qualify and this has already been apparent while on placement.”

Important placements

In a professional such as Occupational Therapy, it’s important to have real-world experience to enable graduates to hit the ground running once they secure their first role. Sarah has completed two ten-week placements so far (in both community and acute setting) and credits their effectiveness in readying you for graduate life. She also pays compliments to the University for helping her feel supported throughout the process.

Student sat by a desk with research books in the background

I have had two very good experiences of placements. They are a challenge working full-time hours and managing two young children, however, this has made me feel more prepared for when I do qualify. They have both been extremely good learning experiences.

Sarah Terry
BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

More than just a course

Students enrolled at Derby are exposed to brilliant opportunities outside of their usual curriculum. When Sarah heard about the Student Leadership Programme, she jumped at the chance to learn new skills, add further credibility to her CV and meet new people. The programme consists of two conferences, with all travel expenses and accommodation covered, a pairing with a coach, who has leadership experience in a healthcare setting, and the submission of a project. Sarah’s work even made it into the OT News magazine – a great example of the opportunities for students to develop themselves while studying.

“It has enabled me to network with a variety of health care professionals," says Sarah. "It has been an incredible experience and I would encourage any student to apply.” 

Occupational Therapy students in Rehabilitation

BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

Approved by key professional bodies and featuring three periods of full-time practice placement, our degree ensures you have the optimum range of skills to become a qualified occupational therapist.

Find out more about our Occupational Therapy courseFind out more about our Occupational Therapy course