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AHPs Day - Pamela Has Gone Full Cycle from Laundry to Occupational Therapy

AHPs Day - Pamela has gone full cycle from laundry to occupational therapy

Date of release: 14 October 2021 

From washing dirty linen to helping patients recover from injury, Pamela Baker’s fresh start is as dramatic as it is inspirational – but it took an initially uncomfortable spin to launch her career into full cycle.

Having transformed into a role as an Occupational Therapist, Pamela has enhanced not just her own life but the people she treats.

Latest News: AHPs Day - Pamela Has Gone Full Cycle from Laundry to Occupational Therapy

But it’s been quite a journey from the washing machines and tumble driers. When she was 19, Pamela was working in the laundry department at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, based at New Cross Hospital. 

It took the closure of the department in 2001 – 16 years after she started there – to launch Pamela’s change in direction. Encouraged to find a new department to work in within the Trust, Pamela decided she wanted to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant. 

She enjoyed the job and the people she worked with so much that she decided to pursue a career as an allied health professional, taking a committed leap into the world of occupational therapy.

That meant a return to studying for the first time since she left school and she enrolled at Coventry University. But even then her path wasn’t straightforward.

Pamela said: “I left school with basic O levels and GCSEs which led me to having to complete a mandatory access to nursing course before I could start studying a BSc in Occupational Therapy, and I felt lucky to be accepted at the time.”

For the next four years, Pamela spent one day a week at university – combining her studies with working as occupational therapy assistant – all while looking after her parents and raising her son, who soon joined the military. 

Clearly with so much going on in her life, Pamela had to remain focused and she revealed her determination gave her the belief that she could achieve her goal.

“I just thought I could do this – there isn’t any harm in trying,” she said. “Going into academic study was hard at first, because I wasn’t used to the medical terminology and the studying process.”

And Pamela has some simple advice for those considering a leap into the unknown.

“Go for it, strive for the best, never think there’s something you can’t do and try things you wouldn’t normally try, because everything is worth a shot,” she said. 

“But most of all keep yourself approachable, work your way up and remember to look for, or create, opportunities for yourself.”

Once she graduated as an Occupational Therapist, Pamela wanted to continue to work at New Cross as she valued what the familiar surroundings brought.

“I love the team, I love the people I work with, and I have made so many lifelong friends over the years, plus it’s local – I can roll out of bed and come to work,” added Pamela. 

Not only does she enjoy the company of her colleagues, Pamela also loves working with her patients. “I like knowing I’ve done my best with every patient, and they get home safely,” she said.

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham