At the click of a button on my laptop the other day I underwent the identity change that I’ve talked about before. I went to the Health and Care Professions Council website and deregistered. I am now no longer an occupational therapist. Indeed it is illegal for me to call myself one anymore. I will resign from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in September too. I’m minded of the intro to ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’ that wonderful old comedy. Leonard Rossiter sheds his clothes, jumps in the sea and then swims back to land to start a new life.
Just over twenty five years ago I decided that I didn’t want to spend my entire life being a tax accountant. So I started to explore alternatives in a more caring profession. I was attracted to occupational therapy because I loved the idea that activity could be used as a medium to promote healing and wellbeing. After all I was a busy little person even in those days. I trained at St Loye’s, a now defunct college that literally had skeletons in cupboards for our anatomy classes. They had little curtain contraptions around them as a mark of respect. St Loye’s is no more. It was amalgamated with Plymouth University shortly after I left. After gaining ‘my ticket’ I spent the first few years after qualifying working in a physical rehabilitation unit and then moved into a mental health role in 2004.
Friends who’ve recently left healthcare professions are keeping the membership of their professional bodies ‘Just in Case’. But not me. I’m moving on and can’t now be tempted to go back to working in the NHS. I want an identity change and this is part and parcel of the process.. And my partner in crime, Hot Stuff, has also thrown in the towel. His certificates have lapsed and he can no longer install, mend or service boilers. It feels like we’re embarking on a different stage of our lives together.