Lauren Abela Tanti
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Lauren Abela Tanti

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What is your name and what is your ​
official 
designation within the Ministry for Health?
My name is Lauren Abela Tanti and I am a Senior Allied Health Professional Occupational Therapist

Where do you work?
I am currently working at Karin Grech Hospital.

How long have you been working with the Public Service?
​​This is my 11th year.

Are there any specific qualifications required for your post?
Yes, you have to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from a recognised University in Occupational Therapy.
What attracted you to take up your profession and to the health service?
I first heard about Occupational Therapy because my grandfather required the services of an Occupational Therapist after he sustained a stroke. As a person I enjoy helping people and I also like a challenge, therefore,​ to be able to do those two things every day when I come to work is a great feeling. The health service, more specifically Occupational Therapy gives me the opportunity to do so.

What motivates you most?
My patients! To help them regain their independence in their daily life, or to be present for the first time when they
start to move their fingers again after an injury is an amazing feeling and the joy is shared also by myself
 and not just the patient. Obviously not all days are as life changing as the above but just putting a smile on their face even on their bad days is a motivating factor for me.

What about the teamwork between different professions/roles involved in relation to patient care
Interdisciplinary teamwork is very important for patient care; since helping patients requires not just one service or profe​ssion, but rather a joint effort between different ones. It is about learning from each other, respecting each professional expertise for a common goal which is the patient’s best interest.

Can you give us one challenge and one success story?
​Challenge
My challenging story is something which many Occupational Therapists I am sure can relate to. After having spent many months caring for a patient and helping them to increase their level of independence and reach their goals as well as increase the function in their upper limb and cognitive abilities, the patient was asked to give an interview for a television programme. During this interview, the patient mentioned the other professions and regretfully made no reference to the Occupational Therapists. 

​As a profession we experience this a lot as we are all classified as therapists and not as distinct professions which can
be frustrating at times. We do not perform our duties for personal gratification, but we are still proud of what we do. However, we would appreciate if Occupational Therapy gets the acknowledgment and recognition it deserves.

Success
My success story is one which I am very proud of. I had a patient who was the same age as I was. He was a very healthy and active young man, who lived life to the full and had already reached many goals which others his age, including myself would not have dreamt of achieving. This man suffered a head injury due to a car accident and went from a person who was on top of the world to one who was fighting for his life in a hospital bed. As a result of this he was having trouble using his dominant arm to function, he had a hard time walking and had difficulty in his overall
cognitive skills.

This affected his memory as well as his employment. Like I do with all my patients, I put myself in his shoes and 
tried to be the therapist I would have wanted my therapist to be if I were in that position. We worked very hard together to help him reach the goals he had; with a lot of therapy and determination, he was discharged, fully independent, with a functioning arm and his level of cognition improved drastically. This was a very rewarding case for me and one which I will never forget.

What advice would you give to young students considering taking up this profession?
Occupational Therapy is a very versatile profession which gives the opportunity for one to use their creativity and flexibility to help patients reach their goals. The fact that we make a difference in their quality of life, by focusing on what is meaningful to them, is very rewarding for the therapist. 

We work in many different settings be it mental or physical health; we work with every age group from babies in the Neonatal Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (NPICU), to elderly individuals, as well as those who have reached the last stage of their life. As Occupational Therapists, we are able to work in clinical based settings as well as those based in the community, such as;

· out patients’ services
· the education sector including schools
· JobsPlus
· Agenzija Sapport
· NGO’s
​· Social sessions

We help restore one’s full engagement in life such as participating in their everyday activities be it personal care and chores, leisure, work and driving, potentially by using adaptive methods and equipment. This approach proves to be purposeful and meaningful not just to patients but also to their families, society at large and to us as their therapists who are significantly involved in this important process. Occupational Therapy requires patience and a helpful caring nature and is very rewarding. Moreover, supervising students is part of our duties and I always look forward to working with them.
 
What are the benefits of working with the Public Service?
The Public Service, in my opinion offers stability and job security. The Employee Support Programme specifically catering for government employees provides additional benefits, and Family Friendly Measures facilitate
establishing a work/life balance. The Public Service also supports the continuous development of its employees by providing the possibility of study leave amongst others. This is an encouraging factor to government employees seeking to further their studies. Furthermore, the Government Human Resources function follows the Public Service Management Code which outlines the conditions of service and benefits applicable to Public Officers.