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

Thursday, 6 May 2010

As we prepare to leave.........

We have an hour before the taxi arrives to take us to the airport and home so we thought we´d spend time summarising our fantastic journey.
Status: money -OK, weather rain overnight but now warm and sunny, luggage: Sarah´s still awol - did have visions of it turning up just as we checked out -but not happened. UK airspace clear of volcanic ash from unpronouncable volcano. Very, very tired not helped by sirens and horns and sounds previously unknown to man outside the hotel at 4am this morning. Decided that was not imminent ending of world so went back to bed.

Briefly managed to catch up with friends over breakfast and wish Dan Johnson (practitioner of the world) and Joanne Inman (Lancashire Care Foundation Trust) best of luck for their presentations today. We will be keen to hear how it all goes when you both get back to the UK. Note to Dan from Sarah: please be judicious of your use of the photograph you took of us at breakfast as I have three day old clothes on and a rather haggard expression!!!

After packing my suitcase (trying to shield as much of this activity from Sarah as possible) we headed out to the local Mall to do some last minute shopping for gifts (think Manchester Arndale on a bad day!). After 20 minutes even we couldn´t find anything more to buy so returned to hotel for final snooze and check out before 12 noon.

As we wait for the taxi, how can we summarise this experience:
a) looong and tiring journey
b) own clothes not essential for ADL but preferred
c) cash essential
d) iPhone not essential but preferred
e) there is great merit in international networking both real and virtual
f) the value of the conference lies less in the formal learning opportuniites and more in the potential to develop relationships.

So to answer some of our original questions
a) should OTs be involved in disaster/emergency scenarios? WFOT had a whole stand at conference and have been working hard at engaging discussions in this area. Our own discussions came to the initial conclusion that working with survivors/victims in re-establishing roles, routines and communities can be a vital role for occupational therapists as can working with the "powers that be" who are in the political arena to ensure that temporary communities can meet the occupational needs of those affected.

b) Is there a difference between networking using online social media and travelling the world to network? Yes, but both are valuable and can be effective in initiating and maintaining personal and professional links
c) Is the uk system of healthcare stifling occupational therapy? Hmm maybe not ready to put our views here yet - more reading to be done
d) what do a group of international OTs look like? suitably diverse in age, gender, culture and personality. Whilst one may suggest that there are OT stereotypes within certain arenas there doesnot seem to be a one size fits all stereotype as to what an international OT looks like

OK. so some acknowledgements before we dash......
a) Thanks to Sue Braid our Head of School for her support and trust in us to represent the School on the other side of the world. We hope we have served the role well.
b) Thanks to our colleagues Anita, Merrolee and Karen who have been an inspiration and a motivating force and with whom we have spent many hours of laughter, fun, visionary thinking and hard work - all in a good cause and we can´t wait for the next stages of our master plan. We wish you luck with our presentation on Friday and are so sad to be missing it - but you will all be inspirational I´m sure.
c) Thanks also to those of you who have been following our blog and offering support and sympathy as relevant - especially Kirsty, Heather and Jackie in the OT team and facebook friends Denis, Helena and Gail and Bronnie

We will write of our journey home later and once home our intention is to revisit the posts and create links and upload photos so please visit again when you get chance. Wish us Bon Voyage. Adios until later.........

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