Finding the flexibility to juggle her commitments as a busy working mum of three young boys, while still enjoying a fulfilling career she has worked hard to build, wasn’t something Occupational Therapist Sophie Barton thought she would find easily in a job.

But since joining Juniper’s Home and Community Care Team in January, Sophie has not only found a sense of fulfilment in her career but has also been able to find the right work-life balance.

“I am able to do the school and daycare drop off and pick up and not miss out on those special moments, while my boys are so young. Juniper allows me flexibility and autonomy to fulfill my work and home commitments.

As a community OT, Sophie visits Juniper clients in their homes to provide recommendations on how they can maintain, regain or improve the way they perform everyday tasks, they may be struggling to do independently.

Sophie started her career, back in her home country in the UK, where her first role was in the NHS working in a busy, large acute hospital, overseeing a 45-bed ward. Sophie described how the pressures to discharge patients home were huge.

“Advocating for our patients was so important. Reminding the medical team that a person needs to be able to safely manage at home, for a successful discharge and not just being medically fit. This meant having the right equipment, support or having the opportunity for rehabilitation.”

After a couple of years working in the hospital system, Sophie transitioned into working in the community, where she would visit people in their homes.

It was in this role where she discovered her passion for working with older people in their home environment.

“I loved working in the community team and being welcomed into a client’s home is a privilege,” she said.

“I believe its really important, as an Occupational Therapist, to understand what it takes not only to enable a safe hospital discharge but also preventing hospital admissions and keeping people safe and independent in their own homes.”

Emigrating to Western Australia in 2014, Sophie secured an OT role working for a local not-for-profit organisation but decided last year it was time for a change.

It was here that she came across the OT role at Juniper.

“I came onboard, where OT Faye assisted with my induction and allowed me to shadow her on some visits to get a feel for the role, and then built up my caseload to work independently,” she said.

Sophie appreciates that she has the autonomy to manage her work, but also has the backing of a supportive team.

“It’s a really great team around me, everyone is so supportive, only a call or email away. Our manager Shaun (Lee) is really helpful and always willing to listen to our suggestions. He really respects everyone’s experience,” Sophie said.

The variety of work in her role means no two days are the same for Sophie.

“There’s always something new to learn. In this field, you’re like a ‘professional problem solver’.” she said. “You need to know a little bit about everything and you’ve got to have the passion and enthusiasm to find out more and work together to achieve your client’s goals. As being person-centered is at the heart of being a good OT.”

Juniper is currently looking for Occupational Therapists to join Juniper’s Home and Community Care Team. For more information, contact Juniper Senior Recruitment Advisor Zorica Tamehana on Zorica.Tamehana@juniper.org.au or visit www.juniper.org.au/careers and apply for an Occupational Therapy position.

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