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Introducing Samantha Shannahan, Occupational Therapist.

Introducing Samantha Shannahan, Occupational Therapist.

Sam showing off her Bowls medal with resident in Victoria.

Hello fellow OT’s,

My name is Samantha Shannahan and I’ve been an Occupational Therapist with HCA for almost 3 years.  I am completely new to this blogging world but thought I would start off with a bit about me!

I am a Twin. I have 2 black Labradors named Daisy and Lulu. I am a Lawn Bowler. I love baking. I am a proud Aunty of a 3-year-old named Carter. My favourite food is chips and gravy. I feel most at peace surrounded by greenery and away from technology. I think beetroot tastes like dirt. I am relearning how to run. I love being an Occupational Therapist.

Why OT?

When I was little my mum would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was always ‘go to university’ followed by ‘I want to help people’. This desire to help people came from growing up with a very inspirational person named Justin. Justin is my ‘big bro’. Justin was born with a chromosomal abnormality. This was not a hereditary condition, instead a random occurrence. When Justin was six years old he suffered from Encephalitis, due to his genetic condition and weakened immune system it was expected that he wouldn’t survive. He was given his last rites. Fortunately for us he pulled through. The complications of Encephalitis combined with his genetic condition have resulted in an intellectual disability. The best way I can describe Justin is a young boy trapped in a man’s body! He loves Ben10, PS4 and any sport, he is innocent and honest.

Throughout Justin’s life I have been exposed to people with varying degrees of disability. I have seen equipment and strategies assist them to do what they want to do. I wanted to be a part of that, I wanted to help people have meaningful lives. So that’s why I chose Occupational Therapy!

Following the completion of my Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2012 was the big decision on what field I should work in. I was 100% positive I would not work with “old people”. I was around “old people” all the time for bowls so why on earth would I want to have a career around them as well?! So, I applied for work in Occupational Rehabilitation. I worked in this industry for almost 5 years across Victoria and NSW. It was an extremely challenging role and I learnt so many skills including

  • Functional Assessments
  • Pre-employment screening
  • Drug and Alcohol testing
  • ADL Assessments
  • Ergonomic Assessments
  • Audiometry assessments
  • Manual handling training

However, my career as a Return to Work consultant wasn’t meeting my desire to provide hands on therapy. I re-examined my options and decided to look into working with elderly. Surely, I would have lawn bowls in common with most of them, plus I had just learnt how to crochet so I’d at least have a topic for conversation. I honestly did not expect to love it… and I do. I am having a positive influence on elderly people’s lives when they feel they have lost everything and are most alone. I am always looking for ways to add more meaning to their lives.

And this is the point of this blog. I want to create a place where we can discuss strategies to improve the wellbeing of our consumers. I feel as OT’s that we are equipped with a general knowledge of each field and are expected to be experts from the moment we start our career. It’s not the case, but if you are that rare Unicorn OT that is, I toast to you!

I plan on sharing my experiences, share my wins but also my failures, and create a supportive environment for discussion. Some experiences I would like to cover are sensory strategies, scooter/wheelchairs assessments, Aids and equipment for independence, ergonomic set up, armchair reviews, energy conservations techniques, cooking classes, plus more. I want to give you the tools, so you know what to look for, rather than wait for a referral. I don’t claim to be an expert at Occupational Therapy, but I am confident with our powers combined, we can all be Super OT’s!

I look forward to sharing with you on a monthly basis. In the meantime, I would love to hear why you became an OT?


Jeremy Kestenberg

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