Celebrating our Deadly Occupational Therapists for 2020 OT Week! Meet Jena Stephen

Meet IAHA Member Jena Stephen! We asked her a few questions during 2020 OT Week.


What got you into studying OT? And why?

Growing up in a small community, on Thursday Island, I was not familiar with allied health roles and had little insight into allied health services. However, what got me into studying OT was my desire to help people across the lifespan. My placement experiences have shown me the impact this profession plays in people’s lives. Both physical and mental conditions can affect our ability to do the things we want and need to do. People can be left feeling a sense of hopelessness when these things are disrupted or challenged. It is an honour to be part of a profession that allows time to sit and get to know clients beyond their diagnosis. To find the things that offer a sense of purpose, optimism, and independence. OT allows you to keep the hope for those who have lost sight of their own, to make sure they are always able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.


Why is OT important for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are known to experience inequitable health and wellbeing outcomes. There are many factors that contribute to the health of Indigenous people, but culture remains in the centre. Similarly, OT places the client in the centre and fosters holistic approaches to ensure people achieve their meaning and purpose in their life. Client-centred and culturally responsive occupational therapists consider the cultural factors that may impact activities of daily living when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities. This can include cultural roles, beliefs, historical events, and way of life. The disruption of these roles and activities can significantly impact the health and recovery journey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. Culturally safe OT is important because it ensures cultural factors are respected and plays a huge role in advocating for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


What’s it going to be like being a future OT?

As a future OT, I desire to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in rural and remote communities. I hope to take my experience and knowledge throughout different practice settings and back home to help support the health needs of my community. A beautiful quote reads, “Medicine adds days to life, Occupational Therapy adds life to days.” I cannot think of a more perfect profession to be in.

October 29, 2020


Posted by: Renae Kilmister