Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Aspects of Holism

I was involved in a session with our Level III students a couple of days ago discussing the issues of aspects of holism as an occupational therapist when my colleague asked the students to raise their hand if they believed that they had seen holistic practice whilst on any of the practice placements to date.

Not one student out of the 85 present raised a hand.

Is this indicative of the current debate as to where the future of the profession lies within parts of the UK in terms of our main employer being the NHS and/or Social Care services? Is this the impact of resource restrictions, service constraints and political drivers and targets on the profession i.e.: the endangerment of true holistic practice. Are practitioners no longer able to adhere to the philosophy of the profession whilst remaining employed and managed by bodies that are focused on delivering value over quality? Or is this a more fundamental issue within the profession itself?

By introducing the concepts of occupational deprivation, occupational injustice and occupational apartheid as discussed by Kronenberg et al (2004)we have started the students thinking outside the box in terms of both their own practice and as future drivers of the profession. We have asked them to consider where occupational therapists can use their skills in areas outside the usual health and social care systems, to be more self aware in terms of their own practice in order to address the issues of injustice by considering all aspects of holism for each unique individual and to become more politically aware (with a small "p") in order to understand the local and global community of their service user.
I would be interested to hear other's views on this issue and particularly from practitioners and students who may agree or disagree with the view that the profession needs to move on.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Web 2.0 and undergraduate occupational therapy education

A number of people have recently inquired as to how we are utilizing web 2.0 applications in our undergraduate programme, so I thought I’d post the answer here. I’ll start with level 1, and cover subsequent levels in subsequent posts.

At level 1 our students are encouraged to set up a del.ici.ous site and are given guidance on how to do this. Guidance is available via the VLE (blackboard), or from those tutors who also use the application for bookmarking important material and sharing it with others. We have the link to del.ici.ous on the blog if you are unfamiliar with it.

First years are encouraged to visit this blog and others, and to contribute whenever they feel the urge. We encourage this in order that our students develop confidence in their own thoughts and opinions, as well as the ability to communicate succinctly in the written form. Blogging also exposes students to the multinational aspect of OT which we recognise as an important aspect of their training. Again links to other OT blogs can be found on the right hand side of this page.

Level1 (and level 2 and 3 students) have access (via blackboard) to discussion forums, file sharing facilities and wikis in order to facilitate PBL session and other project working. The forums and group pages are relatively long standing initiatives, however we will introduce wikis for the first time this year. As first year students are overwhelmed with information at this time of year, it is probably that exposure to wikis will happen in semester 2, when they are confident with other aspects of the technology.

From a lecturers perspective these things offer added value to the programme particularly as we can monitor student contributions which enables us to quickly identify and support anyone who seems to be struggling. It is important to us however, to get a student perspective on the value of web 2.0 application in OT education and to this end we intend to conduct our own research. In the meantime any comments, especially from students are very much appreciated. Please respond by clicking on "comments" below.

Friday, 14 September 2007

New beginnings

Next week our new first year students join us for their induction week. I vividly remember the start of my own training at St Catherines College in Liverpool -never did I imagine I would be the Lecturer at the front of the class! The OT programme at Liverpool is now delivered in the University, and is a degree rather that a diploma but much of what I learned stays with me.

I hope that our students will enjoy a training that is challenging, productive and useful. I hope that over time they will develop identies as professional occupational therapists, confident in their abilities to work in a variety of settings with a variety of colleagues and clients. I hope too that they will find their career choice satisfying, rewarding and fun. I know I have (well, most of the time anyway!)

This truly is a new beginning for most of our students - and one which many have already worked extremely hard to secure. We welcome them to our OT community, and look forward to working with them over the coming years. It wont always be easy and we all have much to learn, but together we can.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Struggling to reflect!

I always visit this site with great intentions to post a blog and then somehow find excuses not to once I'm here. I think overall it's because reflection, and certainly writing reflections, has never come easy to me and I remember vividly as a student having to write a diary during my placements " so I could track my progress and development over the three years of training".

I'm wondering whether one of the issues I have with writing reflections is that there could be a tendancy to think too much about a subject/issue, read too much into it and therefore making more of an issue of something than is really necessary. Now I appreciate that my thoughts on this are probably because I'm more of a pragmatist/activist than reflector which means that I get easily irritated by people who think too much about issues! And I think this is what happens when i visit this blog page. I read the blogs and the comments, think that they are interesting, think that I should post a comment myself, then think about what I want to say, then realise that there are so many things that could be said and then my head starts to hurt! It's at this point that I decide that it's all too hard and tell myself I'll do it another day.

My other concern is that the information posted on a very public site is very much open to interpretation by other people. So having read my blog someone may well post a comment, where I realise that they have misinterpreted what I meant, I then have to post another comment to clarify the situation, they may then post another comment on so it goes on. This has the same effect on me as text messages sometimes do on a mobile phone, often it's much easier to pick up the phone and speak to the person directly.

So it brings me to question who would actually use and benefit from contributing to a blog? The reflectors amongst us? As a pragmatist/activist I will watch carefully how this tool is used by others as I'm still struggling to fully appreciate the benefits in practical terms.