Emma Barnes, 36, from Edinburgh, is studying MSc Occupational Therapy (Post-Registration) part-time at QMU over four years.

Emma graduated as an Occupational Therapist from QMU in 2003. Since then, she has had a number of clinical positions in Scotland and overseas. She has specialised in neuro-rehabiliation and has worked predominantly in community based positions.

In 2011, Emma moved to India with Voluntary Service Overseas and worked as a Therapy Trainer for a small NGO. Following this, wanderlust not quelled, Emma moved to Australia and continued to work as an occupational therapist.

In 2013, shortly after the birth of her first child, Emma returned to live in Edinburgh. She continued to work part-time as an occupational therapist but wanted to develop further skills in research and practice development. This led her to explore the options for further study and she commenced the MSc Occupational Therapy (Post Registration) in 2015.

 Why did you choose to study at QMU and in Edinburgh?

“I chose QMU as it offered part-time and flexible options with a focus on occupation centered practice.

“Living near to QMU has allowed me to participate in events at the university which have contributed to wider learning and professional development opportunities.

“Having grown up in Edinburgh it was family that ultimately brought me back here, however I think Edinburgh is a vibrant place to live. It offers a wide range of art, cultural and historic activities and many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Why did you choose to study MSc Occupational Therapy (Post-Registration) at QMU?

“I chose this course as it offered lots of flexibility. The opportunity to study part-time, balancing work, family and student life also appealed.

“The open content of the modules and ability to apply occupational therapy research and theory to a wide range of subjects has allowed me to explore diverse areas of interest.

How do you think the courses is providing you with the knowledge and skills to develop your career?

“I hoped the course would provide me with focus to evolve more up to date awareness of occupational therapy research and its application to practice. I also hoped to develop my knowledge and skills in research and academic practices.

“I’ve already seen the impact of this in my clinical practice. Development of critical appraisal skills and the ability to synthesise literature to apply to my practice has given me confidence to promote occupation focused intervention. This is especially useful in a time clinicians are being asked to review their practice and highlight their value.

“Balancing work, student and family life is of course a challenge. The ability to focus on one subject at a time and to link the study to my clinical role and areas of professional interest allow me to manage this.”

What are your plans after graduating from QMU?

“Once I’ve completed the course, I hope to further utilise skills in research and participate in practiced based opportunities.

“I’m also keen to be involved in development work, in the rapidly changing health and social care field opportunities are available for occupational therapists to be involved in innovative projects. The skills gained by completing the MSc in Occupational Therapy (Post-Registration) will be essential in this type of career development.”


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Story Published 2017 -2018

Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies

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