Growing up I wanted to be a superhero, an astronaut and an actor. Then as I got older I developed a love for all things art and science related. Looking at different career options, I discovered that by working as an occupational therapist I could make a career out of each one of my passions. Being an OT is a nice blend of art, science, creativity, design and acting. Depending on what a person needs, we can change it up, adapt and be flexible. I’ve always had a fascination with how things work and I love that every task is different and has different applications for the young and old and level of ability.

Margaret River was my first country stint and after spending 15 years in London, then living locally in Perth. We decided it was time to settle for a simpler family life, so my wife Melinda and I decided to move to the South West with our two young children. Melinda is also an OT and works casually with Therapy Focus, which is a flexible fit for our family. Part of the plan to come down to Margaret River was to reconnect with nature and do more outdoor activities, like putting the bikes in the car and following the trails in the forest.

There are a few challenges working in the country however, like the distribution of resources. Distance makes things difficult. If you need a wheelchair, you might have to drive for an hour and a half and then there’s only two suppliers to choose from. The upside is that people are flexible, helpful and build networks in the country. The emotional load and challenges that come with being a regional therapist can be heavy at times, but we have a great team down here and it’s important to stand back and look at how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved for the people in our community.

John Lees
Advanced Occupational Therapist at Therapy Focus

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