Name: Kerry Mckiernan

Age: 38

City/town: Lower Hutt, Wellington

What is your job? Occupational therapist  

How did you get into this line of work? I wanted a job helping people but wasn’t sure how. Occupational therapy was the perfect job as it is so diverse and challenging. I could work in different settings with people of all ages. 

What does a typical working day look like for you? My days are varied but usually it is being on the ward working with patients to help them get back to doing functional tasks. This can be anything from getting in/out of bed  or being able to use their arm after having a stroke so they dress themselves. Treatment involves education and working with families, practicing techniques and using equipment. 

What qualifications or training did you need? Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. This was a three-year degree. 

What are the best bits about the job? Helping others and having a real impact on improving someone’s quality of life. Being creative and thinking outside the box to help people achieve their goals based on those activities they want to or need to be able to complete on a daily basis. That is why I use Ollie, my dog, in a form of therapy called animal-assisted therapy. Working with other professionals to get people home. 

What are the worst bits? It can be difficult working with people who have suffered e.g a stroke, and are at a low point, but it’s so rewarding to help them work towards accomplishing an activity or task they couldn’t do. 

What’s your biggest career goal? Developing animal-assisted therapy in stroke rehabilitation. 

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you most likely be doing? I can’t imagine doing anything else, maybe something working with dogs. 

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