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

Of Planning, networking and fond goodbyes: Our Last full day in Chile:

So, we made it to conference for another day. Weather: overcast and rather chilly (excuse the pun!), solvent - just, still no suitcase for Sarah. Today the bus arrived at a more human time so we were able to have breakfast and ride to the conference in style (reclining leather seats in a bus!). Scenery on the way to the centre goes from urban through suburbia, industrial and finally mountainous - unusual but maybe couldn't be described as beautiful. Strange looking wall lined much of the dual carriageway which preoccupied Sarah for most of the journey imagining it to be a vast scale climbing wall - however think the sticky out things were more likely to be there to hold stuff and not people.
First stop - coffee (of course) and in the queue we got chatting to a Professor Josman from Haife in Israel. Very interesting to hear of their successful undergraduate and post graduate programmes - they usually have about 400 applicants for 60 places on the UG programme. They also run a Doctorate in OT. We explained a bit about our MSc Advanced OT programme that is delivered entirely online and has a great international focus (taking applications now if anyone is interested - contact Sarah for more information).

Soon realised that Sarah's luggage situation was the talk of the conference (well nearly!). Usually most people started a conversation on an expectant "so has it arrived?" and then complimented me on my clothes sense given that we were sharing a wardrobe.
We made contact with Michael Iwama at the conference reception and had a long chat with him. We welcomed him as a recent Honorary Professor at Salford University and as someone who has been a keen follower of our MSc programme and has often given us glowing feedback we are delighted that we will be working more with each other in the future. Michael is due to visit the University in June of this year (watch this space for more details soon).

The plenary session found us sat at the very front of the auditorium immediately in front of the podium in between WFOT council members and Team Chile. I was just following Sarah who seemed to be woman with purpose in finding seats. We now expect to be seen on all official photos from the morning session! At this session we learnt that there are 324,757 OTs practicing in the world and 702 WFOT approved programmes. Three countries were awarded associate member status at council this week who are working towards developing OT programmes - the Seychelles being one of these - good luck to you all.

Towards the end of the session we learned of a project in the pipeline working on issues of social media that Ritchard Ledgerd was leading on. Before we could say "time for coffee" Merrolee had found us (not hard given where we were!) and had marched us towards Marilyn Pattison of WFOT to say "we're your crew" or words of that effect and was pointed towards Ritchard who was stalked until cornered by us (but he did used to be a colleague of Sarah's at Fazackerly hospital in Liverpool ). Whilst slightly stunned into submission he very quickly regained composure and was generous and welcoming of our experience and offers of contribution. Merrolee was then on a mission to strip us of our British reserve and got us to practice admitting and owning the fact that we (OT4OT group )- are leaders in the field of online knowledge transfer for occupational therapists - scary thought!

Later on we were able to meet properly with Ritchard to start the ball rolling in beginning a WFOT project team for these issues and were surprised to hear that WFOT staff are all volunteers.
It was at this point that we heard of more problems with the volcano with the unpronounable name spewing out volcanic ash. Consenus would appear to be that we should be Ok to enter UK airspace on friday lunchtime - but given our track record to date - we are trying very hard to remain hopeful!

So we finally left conference having made some new connections, re-affirmed existing connections, established friendships, raised the profile of University of Salford and our occupational therapy programmes,  and created a "to do" list longer than Sarah's climbing wall. Our brains are now stuffed full of innovative and creative possibilities and we are re-energised in spirit if not in the physical.
All we hope for now is that Sarah's case does not arrive in Chile once we have left. Our final post will tell you of our journey home - assuming we make it that far.

Night night.......


Kirsty said...

Just to let you know that we've been reading the blog with great interest and really look forward to seeing you both next week to catch up with all the details x

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Kevin said...

Whenever we feel that we need therapy, sometimes we think “Oh my god, I am crazy”, but therapy has nothing to do with that. It is for people who would like to improve their quality of life by accepting things and changing points of view.
Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable with regular face to face therapy, there is always Online therapy which is as effective as the former.
I tried it and I loved it, nowadays I still do it.

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