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Hand therapy and the Graduate Fellowship program: a rewarding experience

early career fellowship in hand therapy postgraduate fellowship in hand therapy Oct 14, 2022

My name is Harrison Vercoe and I’m an Occupational Therapist from Melbourne. I began studying Occupational Therapy in 2016 after being inspired by a friend who was already working as an OT. I loved the idea of getting people back to their ‘daily occupations’ and the things they love to do day-to-day. 

There are many different specialisations of OT, such as hospital rehabilitation, mental health and home modifications. However, following my own hand injury (where I attended Melbourne Hand Rehab for my custom-made splint and rehabilitation), I became fascinated with hand therapy. My interest in this area only grew as I studied hand therapy units at university and completed a placement in hand therapy at one of Melbourne’s major hospitals.


Specialisd training

Upon graduating, I was actively searching for a position in the field of hand therapy where I came across the Graduate Fellowship in Hand Therapy through Melbourne Hand Rehab. The program was exactly what I was looking for in regards to specialised further training. It included in depth learning on the specific conditions that hand therapists treat on a daily basis and how to correctly diagnose them. 

Continuing my search for the right position, I found that there really was no other program like the Melbourne Hand Rehab Graduate Fellowship in Hand Therapy. I am now 12 months into my employment and can positively say the Fellowship program has given me the confidence to comfortably assess any hand condition that comes through the door. This has been accomplished through extended periods of studying anatomy, learning special tests to identify differential diagnosis, completing regular hands-on skills sessions, and learning how to create relevant splints and rehabilitation aids.



The Graduate Fellowship in Hand Therapy

Each week of the Graduate Fellowship program we were introduced to a new condition to master, that we could, once comfortable with, add to our caseload. Conditions included arthritis care, fractures, tendinopathies, neuropathy, working all the way up to post surgical rehabilitation programs. I now have an active caseload of a variety of conditions from a range of referral sources, who I regularly liaise with. 

What I have enjoyed most about the Fellowship is the pace at which it allows you to learn. I was able to develop my skill set to a level of competence with which I could deliver expert care to patients. I felt supported in my role and if ever I had any questions, I always knew I could rely on my team and mentor for assistance. 


Looking toward the future

I am now entering my second year as an occupational therapist and am continuing to grow as a practitioner in hand therapy. I am a true believer that you never stop learning, particularly in hand therapy, however the Fellowship program has enabled me to develop a confidence I could not have otherwise. I look forward to continuing my development as a hand therapy practitioner in the years to come. 

By Harrison Vercoe
Occupational Therapist


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