Interview with international student, Beth Crockett: MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)
Beth Crockett, 24, is from St. Albert in Alberta, Canada. She currently studies MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) at QMU.
Beth has already achieved a BSc (Hons) Kinesiology (the study of human body movement) from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Before starting her postgraduate studies, Beth had been working as a Fitness and Lifestyle Advisor with a police force in Canada. The job that influenced her decision to pursue Occupational Therapy the most was her position as a research assistant with the Action in Complex Environments (ACE) and Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control (BLINC) labs at the University of Alberta.
Beth had been involved with an interdisciplinary team working on improving functional outcome measures for advanced prosthetic use in people with upper limb amputations. She presented her work at the University of Alberta Undergraduate Research Symposium (2014) and the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Summer Camp (2015). Beth believes this experience has been instrumental in preparing her for the Occupational Therapy programme at QMU.
Why did you choose to study MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) at QMU?
“I’ve always been interested in the person as a whole – the physical, cognitive and psychological aspects of human behaviour. The client-centred driven philosophy of the programme at QMU was of great appeal and the field of Occupational Therapy allows for continuous learning opportunities beyond the scope of my postgraduate education.
“Specifically, the MSc (Pre-Registration) Occupational Therapy programme at QMU is an intensive programme that looks at how people’s engagement in occupations (not just employment but things like leisure interests, self care and other forms of productivity) influences their health.
“The programme draws on its rich line of alumni, staff members and colleagues in the field to provide a high quality learning environment. The curriculum also allows for four practical placements which are imperative in translating knowledge to practice.”
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?
“Travelling has always been a passion of mine and is something that my parents have instilled in me ever since we undertook a year long family exchange to Australia in 2006.
“I’ve taken part in two previous short study abroad trips, including Exeter, United Kingdom and Cortona, Italy. I knew that I wanted to pursue a longer term work or study experience upon completing those programmes.
“Studying abroad provides not only opportunities for academic growth, but also personal growth and it has been a salient factor in shaping my character. The opportunity to train at a highly regarded institution in a destination that had always enticed me seemed like a perfectly suited option for pursuing for my postgraduate degree. In addition, Edinburgh is a perfect stepping stone to the rich history and culture that prevails in Scotland – something that I was keen to immerse myself in while studying here.”
What do you like most about living in Edinburgh?
“Edinburgh is a fascinating city – from its vibrant history, to its food and drink culture, to its art festival scenes, to its warm people, to its natural beauty and attractions - its really got something that will speak to everyone.
“My favourite thing to do in Edinburgh has to be Arthur’s Seat – particularly at sunrise and sunset. It seems that every time I climb Arthur’s Seat, I find a new path up and that is akin to how I have experienced Edinburgh. I’m constantly discovering new layers of the city. It is the type of place that felt like home immediately and I look forward to the year ahead in this wonderful city.”
How did you find the workload?
“The workload is intense but absolutely manageable given the support provided by QMU, including the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) staff, course librarians, Professional Academic Tutors and other various support centres in Student Services.”
An innovative partnership between Santander Universities, QMU, Alzheimer Scotland and Scottish Dementia Working Group has supported nine occupational therapy interns from QMU over the last five years, including Beth Crockett.
The partnership has allowed interns like Beth to develop projects that influence the education of occupational therapy students and allied health professionals, as well as align with the objectives of the Scottish Dementia Working Group to ensure that people living with dementia are supported so that they can live positive and fulfilling lives as part of our communities.
Just a few of the different projects that the nine occupational therapy interns have worked on over the last five years include the development of two support toolkits offering practical advice to those people who have received a diagnosis of dementia and helping people live well with dementia, a film called ‘This is me’ featuring a member of the Scottish Dementia Working Group and a photo voice project capturing the voices of people experiencing dementia.
The outcomes of the internships projects have also influenced the development of policy at a national level as evidenced in the ‘Connecting people, connecting support’ (Alzheimer Scotland, 2017) document.
Commenting on her internship opportunity with Alzheimer Scotland, Beth said: “If I could summarise my experience as an occupational therapy intern in three words, it would be diverse, autonomous and inspiring.”
Not only have the internships allowed the interns to enhance their knowledge, skills and experience of dementia and occupational therapy but has also highlighted the opportunities for an alternative career path within the third sector.
What top tips would you give prospective PG students based on your own personal experience?
“My advice to future postgraduate students is to find a field you are passionate about and pursue every opportunity you can, particularly if they are out of your comfort zone.
“Some of the best experiences I’ve had so far in my journey have been as a result of continued professional development sessions, networking opportunities, and additional challenges I’ve undertaken. Above all else, don’t be afraid to try new things and possibly fail - this is the time to experiment and find solutions to your challenges.”
How do you think your QMU degree has equipped you with the skills/knowledge to development your career?
“I believe that the QMU programme has equipped me with the confidence to advocate on behalf of my profession and my clients when I enter the field as a qualified Occupational Therapist.
“In particular, the problem-based learning approach, group collaboration and clinical reasoning skills engrained throughout our learning allows us to develop our skills to a level that prepares us for the realities of practice upon graduation.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“In today’s competitive economic times, I feel that securing a professional postgraduate degree is something that will allow me to return home and be successful in securing employment.
“Upon completion of the course, I plan to secure short-term employment here in Scotland and gain additional work experience in an Occupational Therapy field that most interests me (at the moment, this is working with veterans). I will then return to Canada and register to take the national board exam. Once I have successfully completed the exam, I plan to seek further international opportunities in Occupational Therapy.”
MSc in Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)
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