Meet Alison Cheney
When did you graduate from UNH OT Program?
I graduated from the UNH OT graduate program in September 2011 – Go Wildcats!
Tell me about what you are doing today. Where are you working?
After spending 3 years in a Long Term Acute Care (LTAC) hospital in the Boston area, I moved to the UK, where I’ve been living for the past 2 years. Currently I work as an occupational therapist at the Royal Free Hospital in London and am the lead therapist for the Critical Care, Medicine and Surgery (CMS) team. As an occupational therapist within the National Health Service (NHS) acute care setting, I am called upon to identify the barriers to discharge and determine a safe solution. I collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to ensure patients with complex medical needs are provided with an appropriate discharge plan. I complete home access visits and environmental adaptations or recommendations, as well as coordinate community services to provide ongoing care needs after discharge.
How did the UNH OT program help you get to where you are today?
The UNH occupational therapy program allowed me to become a well-rounded therapist, and as a result, I’ve been able to experience many areas of occupational therapy. While at the Royal Free Hospital I have had the opportunity to work within the Medical Assessment Unit, emergency department, and outpatient hand therapy. Each department has its own challenges and occupational therapy role – but when in doubt – I refer back to what I learned in the classroom at UNH about the fundamental ideas of being an occupational therapist.
Not only did UNH give me strong clinical experience, but the flexibility of the program allowed me the opportunity travel, both for an undergraduate semester abroad and also for my student internships. In High School, as I was researching occupational therapy programs, one of my key draws to UNH was the opportunity to study in London during Junior year. This was a valuable part of my education, and also a big reason why I’ve returned to live on the UK now.
What are your plans for the future?
During my time in the UK, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with therapists from around the world and experience the diverse role of occupational therapy within different countries and cultures. In the future, I hope to continue to strengthen my clinical and management skills, support students and new therapists, and give back to the OT community. I am currently planning to move back to the New England area, and I would like to develop my teaching and management skills as well as remain actively involved in advocacy for the profession of occupational therapy.
What advice would you give to current UNH Students?
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new! Everyone hopes to make money after graduation, but my advice would be, don’t forget to keep learning. Your exposure and insight will only help with future challenges whatever your interest or career aspirations. For me it was through travel, but you can always expand your knowledge and awareness by meeting new people, asking challenging questions, staying curious, and blazing your own path.