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

Monday, 28 July 2008

Launch of the MSc

We had a very successful launch of the new MSc Advanced OT to be delivered entirely on line. After months of planning all went smoothly with Dr Bill Ashraf of Sussex University opening the presentation with an informative overview of the benefits of learning technologies and the future of education utilising such opportunities, followed by Jackie Taylor , Senior Lecturer at the University of Salford offering inspirational and motivational insights into the future of the profession and the joys of continuing learning. I then presented on the details of the programme and what an occupational therapist can expect to engage in - for example working as part of an online community, studying at a time and place that suits you and your life/work committments and engaging in discussion and debate with peers with a global perspective.The event was hosted and chaired by Sarah Bodell - co-programme leader.
I have posted a link here to another blog where we have been given a glowing write up if you'd like to take a look.
Attendees at the launch then had time to ask questions and move to the Technology Suite where they could sample some of the learning opportunites that will be used in the programme. All this in an atmosphere of relaxed and open discussion and sharing of information - oh and wine and canapes too!
Congratulations and a BIG thankyou to all those involved in the development of the programme and we look forward to maybe seeing some of you in the cohort to start in September 08 (closing date for applications 18th August). Please contact us for further info or click the title of this post to take you through to the website for details.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Blogging Confidentiality - a hot topic

Just a short post - for anyone who blogs or is thinking about blogging I would urge you to take a look at these posts that very clearly raise the importance of ensuring that confidentiality and professionalism are rigorously maintained:

Getting our knickers in a twist

Blogging about birth - with clear guidelines to students on how to blog about learning experiences without breaching confidentiality (with specific reference for midwives but should transfer easily across to OT)

A blogger who was tried for malpractice due to blog entries (USA)

Tittle tattle in the corridors

Thanks to Sarah and Carolyn for the links.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

How far can you go in 15 months?

(double click on the image for a larger version that you can read)

Sarah and I were asked to present and discuss our experiences of using wikis to one of the other Faculties within the university who are considering introducing some of the web 2.0 applications into their own pedagogy - which of course we were happy to do. Our reflections and tips were well received by the group.
What I think was really surprising was the opportunity to take stock and really reflect on how far we have come over the last 15 months. Sometimes it's hard to see what has been achieved when what you are doing is both a cumulative development and enjoyable. Some of those developments include:
  • We have gained understanding and experience of using blogs and wikis within a pedagogical situation - both at undergraduate level and in readiness for our new on-line MSc Advanced OT that launches next week.
  • Having gained ethical approval we have researched and evaluated the use of wikis on the undergraduate programme and successfully submitted an abstract for and delivered a poster presentation at the recent annual COT conference .
  • We also successfully submitted an abstract for a presentation to an international conference - that unfortunately we were unable to attend- on the development of an e-learning programme
  • We have set up and maintained a blog - which, without wanting to seem premature - has become more and more productive in generating discussion on current issues within OT across an international perspective
  • The blogging experience has also drawn us to other bloggers which has resulted in a collaborative and successfully submitted an abstract for a seminar delivered at the recent COT conference
I guess my point in sharing all of this is to demonstrate that from a position of not knowing anything about blogs, wikis, social networking etc - in just over one year we are becoming recognised as potential leaders in our field. With motivation, support and time that has often been frustrating but more often quite enjoyable - we have opened up a whole new world of possibilties for our own professional development and that of others at all levels within our organisation and beginning to take this into the wider forum of the profession.

If we can do it - anyone can. Bear in mind that there is 15 months before the first HPC CPD audit
of occupational therapists in the UK- why not start now with your development - who knows where it may take you in 15 months time!! Feel free to share your achievements with us - by writing these down it can help you reflect on your own situation and prepare you for evidencing these should you be asked at the audit. We'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Occupational Therapy and Assisted Dying

image by AHook

As an occupational therapist who has worked in a palliative care environment for around 10 years I have always believed that individuals who have capacity should be able to choose when and how they die based on the view that can’t be easy to admit that life is so bad you want to die; but it must be even harder to know that you can’t kill yourself and have to ask for help but be refused.

I was really interested therefore to hear Baroness Finlay speak against the now rejected Assisted Dying Bill at the COT conference in Harrogate recently. I expected her to present a number of emotive case studies describing people who wanted to die but who are now glad to be alive and I expected her to say that good palliative care negates the need for assisted dying. I also expected her to refer to medical ethics and to suggest that some patients would want to die for fear of feeling burdensome. She presented all of these convincing arguments and more besides, however it was her description of the implications of assisted suicide for occupational therapists that stopped me in my tracks.

The Assisted Dying Bill suggests that in order to meet the criteria for assisted suicide a person must have a terminal illness and consider them self to have intolerable suffering. They must also have the capacity to make this judgement and to request the right to die, but capacity cannot be taken at face value. The responsibility for determining mental capacity lies with health care professionals and Baroness Finlay suggests that this may include occupational therapists.

Could I or anyone else really assess the quality of a person’s life and then judge whether or not it constituted intolerable suffering? Is this even possible? If I concurred with the patients view does this mean they have capacity and can be allowed to die? What if they have a better day tomorrow? What if I am wrong?

It is with some regret that I have to conclude that although I still believe in a person’s right to choose when and how to die, I honestly don’t think I could help them do it. Until these issues and more are resolved, I do not believe the Bill should be passed.