Specialist Neonatal Occupational Therapist

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
£43,742 to £50,056 a year Per annum ( prorated if part time)
Closing date
8 Jun 2023

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Other allied health
Band 7
Contract Type
Part Time
Job summary

This is an exciting new role to develop the neonatal Occupational Therapy service across the Bedford and Luton neonatal units. You will be working as part of a wider experienced neonatal AHP team, including Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Dieticians. You will also be working with a supportive multidisciplinary developmental care team at both sites.

The role is supported by a budget to provide neonatal training opportunities for example FINE, sensory beginnings etc. We welcome contact from you to find out more about this exciting post or to arrange an informal visit. We welcome applicants who would prefer alternative hours to thoseadvertised or to work flexibly.

Main duties of the job

Early intervention and individualised infant care, using a Family Integrated Care approach on the Neonatal Unit (NNU) aims to reduce the developmental risks for infants born prematurely or with perinatal problems.

The Specialist Neonatal Occupational Therapist will use highly specialist skills to manage their own complex caseload, working collaboratively with the multidisciplinary team. They will be responsible for supporting the infants and their families in participating in developmentally appropriate and meaningful co-occupations, using an individualised approach to assessment and intervention. They will support timely discharge and provide anticipatory guidance to ease transition to home. Teaching and training alongside the AHP team to the wider unit forms part of this post. This post is cross-site working between Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals

About us

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital services to a growing population of around 700,000 people living across Bedfordshire and the surrounding areas across two busy hospital sites in Bedford and Luton. Both hospital sites offer key services such as A&E, Obstetrics-led Maternity and Paediatrics.

You will be joining a friendly, high performing Trust committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of staff. As one of the largest NHS Trusts in our region you will have access to a programme of high quality training and development to help you grow your career.

We have state-of-the art facilities placing us at the heart of cutting edge health care. The Trust continues to be committed to delivering the best patient care using the best clinical knowledge and technology available.

Please note that vacancies may close prior to the advertised closing date when sufficient number of applications have been received. Please ensure that you make your application as soon as possible.

All new staff will be subject to a probationary period covering their first six months in post. Travel between hospital sites may be required.

Please review all documents attached to this advert to ensure you familiarize yourself with all requirements of the job.

Job description

Job responsibilities

The post holder will:
  • Utilise advanced skills and support to facilitate high quality, individualised care to infants and parents/carers in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team, at all times ensuring that the needs of the infant and their family are placed at the centre of care delivery.
  • Demonstrate active participation and leadership in projects and activities that support developmental care
  • Be engaged in clinical evaluation and audit activity in partnership with the wider AHP/Unit team.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to evidence based practice
  • Evaluate and identify the current needs of the service with the Unit Leads and ODN Lead OT and create job plan with priorities for service provision within funded time. (Reference OT role Pyramid, Universal, Targeted, Specialist)

  • Clinical Responsibilities
    • To carry a designated clinical caseload including highly complex and diverse patient groups and prioritise that work efficiently, taking into account clinical and service priorities using specialist knowledge to underpin decisions.
    • Apply an enhanced level of understanding of the effect of preterm birth, perinatal problems and congenital disabilities on the development and occupations of infants and their families and make appropriate recommendations for intervention and support.
    • Assess, plan, implement and evaluate programmes of individualised infant and family-centre developmental care, using evidence-based practice to support clinical outcomes as appropriate, this includes:
      • Detailed occupation-based, neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioural observations of infants using specialist skills to assess physiological, motor, sensory, state regulation and cognitive behaviours
      • Analysis and synthesis of findings to develop individual goals and care plans in collaboration with nursing, medical and therapy staff.
      • Monitor implementation and update plans as needed
    • Use advanced clinical assessments including Prechtl General Movements Assessment, Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS), Newborn Individualised Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP).
    • Provide specialist support for colleagues and the families of babies in managing expectations around potential recovery, helping them to understand and plan for short/long term disability.
    • Apply an enhanced level of understanding about the impact of the environment on the wellbeing of infants, families and staff, making recommendations regarding adapting the environment for optimal benefits. This will include evaluating and recommending developmental care aids and adaptations, and modifications to the environment at large.
    • Support discharge planning and transitions to paediatric, outpatient and community services for caseload, providing relevant information to unit discharge team and internal paediatric and community teams.
    • Provide individual patient equipment as required, such as splints, and positioning equipment. To issue such equipment with due regard to safety of the equipment, and in line with legal, national and local guidelines.
    • To use established time management skills, to be flexible in response to demands from parents, unit team members on a day to day basis.
    • To recognise boundaries of own extended practice as it develops and to manage associated clinical risk at all times.
    • Ensure that all clinical records are kept in accordance with professional guidelines and local trust and network policies.

    • To effectively share information with parents/carers and other professionals regarding an infants condition and treatment progress, in relation to therapy goals, whilst being sensitive to their prior level of knowledge and understanding. Use interpreters to facilitate understanding as needed.
    • Implement effective coaching strategies with families using an individualised infant and family-centred approach to promote parent participation.
    • Use formal and informal reporting mechanisms including digital platforms, to communicate and liaise with other professionals, patients families/ carers, and other agencies to ensure co-ordinated service delivery.
    • To develop and maintain sound, collaborative working relationships with therapy colleagues, medical and nursing staff, referring clinicians and other appropriate professions and agencies in the provision of neonatal services.
    • Establish effective communication pathways that enhance patient care with referrers from inside and outside the Trust, including GPs, community therapy teams and staff working in regional Trusts, and that discharge information is communicated to referrers in a timely and appropriate manner at all times.
    • Attend and contribute to ward rounds, developmental care ward rounds, discharge planning meetings and other meetings relevant to patient care.
    • Taking the lead role in MDT rounds in turn with other members of the team promoting FICare principles to facilitate parental involvement.
    • To manage informal conflicts, disagreements and complaints using highly developed interpersonal and negotiation skills, appropriately utilising support from clinical specialist and line manager as required.
    • To represent the neonatal unit and profession at Trust-based working groups and provide highly specialist knowledge to these groups.
    • Participate in the Neonatal Operational Delivery Networks wider AHP professional groups and have an understanding of wider neonatal network and national interests.
    • To manage workload and assist other members of the team to make appropriate priorities so that staff are not under undue pressure, particularly in times of annual, sick or study leave.
    • To provide emotional support for team in potentially difficult work situations such as physical or verbal aggression or other stresses of work, or managing adverse incidents.

    Education and Training
    • Maintain ones own professional development, skills and knowledge base including up to date and relevant research, locally and nationally.
    • Prepare and participate in lectures, seminars and demonstrations to other therapists, student therapists and other disciplines as appropriate, internal to the Trust and externally to network or nationally.
    • To ensure planned in-service training for the team is appropriate i.e. related to client group, service needs and efficient use of time.
    • Foster, encourage and facilitate the development of evidence-based projects
    • To advise nursing staff on individualised neonatal programmes, including but not exclusive to: positioning, developmental activities, stretching exercises, equipment use, self-soothing strategies, environmental management, etc.
    • To be responsible for maintaining own competency to practice through CPD activities, using reflective practice and maintain a portfolio that indicates personal development
    • To participate in/initiate research and evaluation of the neonatal specialist OT /developmental specialist/neonatal developmental therapist postand service provision, publishing findings as appropriate.
    • To keep abreast of relevant clinical issues and research in the field of neonates and paediatrics in order to ensure clinical effectiveness.

    Policy and Service Development
    • To actively participate in the neonatal unit Developmental Care meetings, ward rounds, and specific service initiatives as required.
    • To carry out an audit / project in the area of FICare in NICU which may result in contributing to the formulation of departmental policies and procedures.
    • To attend staff meetings and other relevant meetings and to assist the Clinical Specialist Neonatal OT/ODN Lead OT by taking a lead in department initiatives to improve the service.
    • Be aware of annual service objectives ensuring that practice reflects objectives set.
    • Ensure that services are sensitive to the cultural diversity of the population and the personal, familial and cultural needs of individuals.

    • To have an active role in effective team working in the paediatric/neonatal therapy department leading, assisting and supporting other therapists in the area of neonates.
    • To manage workload and assist other members of the team to make appropriate priorities so that staff are not under undue pressure, particularly in times of annual, sick or study leave.
    • To provide emotional support for team in potentially difficult work situations such as physical or verbal aggression or other stresses of work, or managing adverse incidents.

    Training and Development
    • To ensure that clinical practice is in line with national and local Occupational Therapy clinical guidelines.
    • To be involved in clinical governance issues by: keeping up-to-date with developments in assessment and treatment approaches, undertaking audits to evaluate practice and participating in research projects.

    Information Management
    • Maintain comprehensive, accurate and timely patient notes and records in accordance with department policy, and to ensure safekeeping and confidentiality of those records and records.
    • Keep comprehensive records of activity in accordance with local and national requirements, using departmental IT software systems as required.
    • To use computer skills to support role, including EPR, PIMs, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, e-mail, MS Teams, Attend Anywhere

    Person Specification



    • Diploma or Degree in Occupational Therapy.
    • State Registration HCPC.
    • Evidence of Continuing Professional Development


    • Recognised post-graduate qualifications
    • Evidence of recent study at a higher level



      Any attachments will be accessible after you click to apply.


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