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

Thursday, 17 November 2011

NHS campaigns on the “funny side” of incorrect usage of A&E


Spreading the Choose Well message

7th November marks the beginning of National Ask Your Pharmacy Week. On that date, NHS North West will be launching a series of humourous viral videos featuring real-world examples of some of the most frivolous reasons why people visit A&E departments.
Focussing on patients in the waiting rooms, the viewer is unsure until the end of the films whether they’re in a vet’s surgery, X-factor audition, beauty salon – or a hospital.

Although these films are funny, there is a serious message behind them. We need people to make sure that they choose the right NHS services if they need treatment this winter, so that they can be seen quickly and efficiently, and so that A&E and 999 teams across the country are free to deal with life-threatening and serious conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, serious accidents and breathing problems.
We want as many people as possible to watch these films and absorb their message, and we need your help.
If every member of NHS staff posts a link to these films to their social media profiles, they will reach an audience of tens of millions of people within just a few days, raising awareness nationwide of the impact of unnecessary A&E attendances, and highlighting the abilities of local pharmacists to provide advice and treatment for minor complaints.
In the last 12 months, unnecessary visits to A&E cost the NHS in the North West £21 million. Let’s make this winter different.
So please do your bit and post these videos to your professional and personal social media pages – we might just start a real NHS revolution, resulting in your A&E teams never again having to hold an emergency consultation for a broken nail!

Actors from stage and screen gave up their time free of charge to appear alongside NHS staff as characters including women waiting for treatment for hair-dye disasters and botched false nails, a pushy mum desperate for her son to be seen by senior doctors for his diarrhoea, and even a man hoping A&E staff will turn their hands to helping out his poorly dog!
The more serious message is that cases such as these put added pressure on already busy A&E and 999 teams. In the North West alone, more than 400,000 people who could have been treated and advised by their local pharmacist or GP, or could have looked after themselves at home, went to A&E departments in the last 12 months. 

Watch the videos now at http://bit.ly/rGJxLw

Thursday, 29 September 2011

"Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? " (A Chorus Line)

I was reminded of this line in the title from A Chorus Line whilst reading a really useful article by Kimberley Ramirez (2011) on ePortfolios, and it got me thinking!

Sarah and I are about to start a series of Masterclass sessions with a small group of our undergraduate students to facilitate their use of online social media for professional development. Our intention is to help them create and maintain high diversity, low density networks for their own professional journey.

I have a long held belief, backed by my own experience of both lecturing and performing in amateur dramatic productions, that teaching and presenting is a performance in the theatrical sense. You have an audience that you interact with, you present a version of yourself that is carefully constructed and rehearsed as maybe professional/expert/mentor/peer dependent upon the context. Usually in the more traditional arena you know your audience and you have "real time" interaction with them.

Dixon (2007) identifies "digital performances" of everyday life and recognises that in the online world we have many forums where we perform - blogs, chatrooms, discussion forums, facebook and similar. He talks about honing a persona in these arenas through reflection, rehearsal and presentation of self. (In fact this blog post was "rehearsed" a number of time before it reflected what I wanted to give of myself to the wider audience).

So, in readiness for our masterclass I set myself some homework and  I decided that I would look at my own online presence, what were my digital performances? How have I constructed a professional persona on line (and is it successful?). Who is my intended and actual audience and how do I engage with them?

The first thing I realise is that I have multiple roles and potential audiences on line, so I googled myself! "Angela Hook" found me pretty quickly (in amongst the wire artist from Canada - hmm maybe she has a more interesting online identity than me?). On the first page were links to my Seek and LinkedIn profiles and my twitter and facebook places and one photo which wasn't too old and had been used as a professional image for a time (thank goodness).

"Angela Hook occupational therapist" gave a bit more. In addition to above it also identified groups and events such as OT4OT and the 24 hour virtual exchange (2010 and 2011), wikiflash, and the MSc Advanced OT programme launch. In this search this blog was there and also a link to a blog that I started and haven't returned to for some time so is pretty static, a number of articles I have co-authored and links to presentations at conferences and on slideshare. What was of some concern is that my full profile is on a site that I know I haven't joined and seems to have been automatically converted my LinkedIn profile to a french site - need to do some more checking of that!!
Finally, on page 3 of this search was a link to my eportfolio.

All  have been developed and crafted with the intention of demonstrating a person with a professional (but human) image. My intention is to show that I :
a) am continually developing and learning
b) have some knowledge and expertise in my chosen field of occupational therapy
c) have some knowledge and expertise in my professional interests including the use of online technology for professional development
d) am open to discussion and debate
e) am interested in the work of others
f) that I am a team player and a collaborator
g) that I don't always have to take myself too seriously!

I attempt to do this.......

On LinkedIn and Twitter I  talk about events that are happening in my professional life. Here on the blog I attempt to show a more human side occasionally offering reflections (such as this) and even a "Fairy Story" that I have written.

My facebook page is only open to "friends" - these may be "real world" or "virtual space" friends who have something in common with me (eg professional, hobbies, etc). My personal blog is available to the wider public but is rarely found (can you find it??) in which I share exploits of my life, my thoughts and aspirations on a more personal basis from time to time. I also have a personal website for one of my hobbies that I undertake.

And so we come to my eportfolio which I developed to demonstrate my own learning and development over time.  It is rather static and has not really engaged with people to date.

All this means that I have an intended audience for my work, my thoughts and my ideas. What once was kept between a few select friends and colleagues is now out there for anyone to read and engage with. Everything that I personally upload or that I know will be uploaded is intended to be read which means that not only do I consider what others may see and believe of me - but I also must connect to my sense of self. If I fragment too much then I would find it very hard to maintain multiple personas and I may not be a "believable" online presence. But I am not sure if my intended audience is being reached in all arenas. Facebook is pretty much instantaneous with comment and feedback fro selected friends. Occasional requests to add links on LinkedIn, comments on the blog and twitter followers demonstrate that some are finding me and may even be reading.

 The challenge for me and for our small group of students is to:
1) integrate folio thinking into the learning experience
2) find ways of engaging the intended audience so that we can have a living, multi-centric arena for development

But I am still unsure about whether my intended outcome is successful. I guess all this remains a learning curve but I would very much welcome your views on how you present yourself on line and how you can gauge your success -  (and yes I invite comment on how you think I present online too please).

Thanks for reading.

 "If nothing is deposited or created then the stage is empty" (Ramirez 2011)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

24 hour Virtual Exchange for World OT Day 2011

Just a very quick reminder that we will be hosting the 2nd 24hour Virtual Exchange for World OT Day from  Salford. There will be much more detail to follow helping you to be involved and engage with any session you want - all for free. You can see these emerging by going to the OT4OT website 
You might be interested in a blog post we have written about last year by clicking the link here.

More details to follow - watch this space......

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Mixing Leadership and Politics

Mixing Leadership and Politics.
On June 20th three students (Gill, Anna and Jane) and I embarked on something of an adventure! The trip had been planned as part of the leadership development initiatives I have been running over the past couple of years. My intention has been to bring leadership information and leadership development opportunities to the students to make leadership accessible and within every students grasp. For those students with leadership skills already developed and practised I hoped to widen their horizons within occupational therapy and to instil the idea that there should be no limit on their aspirations.
In arranging previous speakers I have been motivated by the impact that this has had and investigated the possibility of students visiting Westminster and COT headquarters in order to see where some of the decisions are made and hopefully identify a path for how they can become involved as individuals.
The visit was arranged for 20th and 21st of June which included an appointment with Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP, Julia Scott CEO of The College of Occupational Therapists (COT) and Genevieve Smyth, Professional Affairs Officer also at COT. The two days were non- stop moving from one appointment to another. Our first appointment was in the House of Commons with Andy Burnham. We enjoyed a 45 min chat over tea in the Pugin Rooms during which we asked a number of questions about leadership, how to engage in a ‘political’ world and it also offered the opportunity to raise particular issues relating to clients with whom the students have worked. This related to identifying a loop hole in the law in relation to equipment and adaptations and the difficulties of occupational deprivation for people with a refugee status. Our students used their time well and have identified ways to take these issues further.
On the 21st June we arrived early at Westminster and were able to observe part of the Health Select Committee meeting and then had a tour of the House of Commons and House of Lords from one of Andy Burnham’s staff. We were privileged alongside the normal tour areas to go across to Portcullis House and to see the parliamentary chapel and also the boiler room where suffragette Emily Davison hid during the 1911 census. It is fair to say that the whole experience was quite overwhelming due to the combination of the past history and living history all around you.
The last part of the day were meetings scheduled with Julia Scott and Genevieve Smyth. During an hour with Julia we discussed leadership styles, leadership opportunities and again the students used this time to gain Julia’s perspective on their areas of concern. Our time with Genevieve then added further depth to this information regarding how students can get involved in the decision making processes in COT and how to raise their leadership profile.
Fairly exhausted on our journey back we reflected on a unique couple of days which had given a clear insight into politics nationally and within our profession and how to use leadership skills effectively. Our thanks go to Andy Burnham and his staff, Julia Scott and Genevieve Smyth.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Of strange encounters, Media City and a great plan........................

picture available at: http://www.salford.ac.uk/news/details/816

Last week saw Sarah and I in a virtual meeting with our colleagues in OT4OT discussing our plans for the Second 24hour Virtual Exchange to help celebrate World Occupational Therapy Day in October 2011.
We have set a clear strategy for getting our plans and messages out to you about the Exchange - so I'll not spoil it here, but I can tell you that the University of Salford here in the Uk will be hosting the event and will launch the 24 hours from our brand new Media City development!!

With this in mind, we decided we ought to go down to the Quays where Media City is being completed and have a look at the building and the potential for what we wanted to be able to do. Stopping off at the Lowry for a spot of lunch first, we had a strange experience. Standing at the lift, waiting for it to arrive, a curious knocking sound interrupted our conversation. After a few seconds we realised that it was coming from inside the lift! Leaning forwards to the lift doors we both gave a tentative "hello" to be met with a disembodied voice from inside calmly explain that they were stuck, and that they had pressed the button for assistance. This was shortly accompained by another voice - slightly more panicked asking us to get help and "get me out of here". Now, this was of course very serious and we both had empathy and compassion for the "stuckees" - but it was funny and we will admit to a snort or two of contained laughter whilst trying to respond to their plight. At this point in the story Sarah would try to convince you that I was more concerned about making our meeting on time and was frantically looking around for the stairs (not totally true! admittedly it was on my mind but I was looking around for security not the stairs!). Unfortunately we cannot tell you how this ends- as we reported it to the security desk and then left them to it. Hope they got out!

On to Media City. The University building is still a "site" rather than a complete package yet but the contrators are working hard towards the deadline. Suitably attired in steel toe-capped boots, high visability jackets and hard hats we were led round many of the floors where we were shown what will become studios, shared spaces and finally The Egg, forming part of the foyer of the building where there will be a large video screen, a cafe and exhibition space etc - a window to the world! This is indeed perfect for what we want to do - bring the real and the virtual together and have students, practitioners and anyone who wants to join us (within limits) stay for the 24 hours of the exchange and engaging with the virtual sessions together.

More information will be available about the day over the next few weeks and months - watch this space (and the OT4OT spaces)

Take a  Tour of Media City here:

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Our Next Webinar...................

Health Care Webinar

Advanced Occupational Therapy Webinar

Date: 9 May 2011
Venue: On the web!
Time: 8.00pm – 9.30pm
Cost: Free
Advanced Occupational Therapy Webinar

Aimed at:

Qualified occupational therapists interested in studying MSc Advanced Occupational Therapy (Online)


This free interactive webinar will give you the opportunity to find out more about the MSc Advanced Occupational Therapy, and experience online learning in our virtual classroom, whilst interacting with course leaders and current students.

How do I register?

You don’t need to!  On the 9 May at 8.00pm simply join us via this link


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Rehabilitation in Palliative Care Conference experience

Recently I had the pleasure of being invited by Cathy Payne to speak to Allied Health Professionals about the potential of social media at the 2nd International Rehabilitation in Palliative Care Conference in Belfast, UK. After a largely uneventful trip (thank goodness after my experiences in Chile), I arrived in Belfast City Centre at 7.50 in the morning. The sun was shining but the shops were closed so I set off to do a little bit of exploring having left my bag at the hotel. I was rather dubious about the exploration as the concierge told me categorically that there was nothing at all to do in Belfast on a Sunday morning, however due to making friends with an open top bus tour salesman who helped me to make my own walking tour, I was able to prove him wrong. I particularly enjoyed the Dockside, St Georges Market, and the lovely worded Academical Institution.
Later in the afternoon I met up with Gail Eva. Gail is a Facebook friend of mine who I ’met’ via Will Wade, who I ‘met’ through blogging. Gail and I enjoyed a great conversation about the value of online networking for personal and professional development (and discussion of cat’s weddings) and indeed this was the theme of my presentation (the networking, not the cat's wedding). I was apprehensive about how the message would be received as we have all heard stories about the pitfalls of using social media to discuss work related matters and I knew from previous experience that I might be asking people to take a leap of faith.
The conference began with a review of policy relating to palliative care and palliative rehabilitation and I was astounded to realise that many of the emerging themes felt very familiar from my own time working in this area. What is palliative Care? What is specialist palliative care? What is supportive care? What is palliative rehabilitation? How can we make people understand what we do? And when I heard these questions being debated, and understood the passion and experience in the room I was confident that at least some delegates would recognise that the potential value of using social media to connect with others and to spread a message would far outweigh any risks that might be involved.
Post conference I am absolutely delighted to report that a considerable number of delegates are now using Facebook to make professional contacts or have made a Linkedin profile, or a Twitter account and are using them connect with others and to promote their work in palliative rehabilitation. I particularly like this blog by physiotherapist Joanne Brennan, and you can follow post conference developments on the Palliative Rehabilitation Facebook page.

Together we can make things happen.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Spring is here..

Apologies for not posting anything for over a month!!! Can only put that down to Spring Fever - as the days have got lighter and the weather milder we have all had flurries of activity that have taken up most of our time.
Our undergraduate students are completing final modules and are either currently on practice placement or preparing to start in a couple of weeks - we wish them challenges, learning opportunities and enjoyment! Our Masters students are in the middle of negotiating their assessments - except for our dissertation students who are heavily engaged in research projects and literature reviews. Soon it will be the time for marking, external examiner events, graduation ceremonies, evaluations and next year planning before we take some time to unwind and start all over again!
Sarah is currently speaking at the Rehab in Palliative Care Conference in Belfast and is frantically tweeting from here (follow her tweets on #palcarerehab). I am sure she will have a blog post to write on her return.
In the meantime, please feel free to browse and comment on our older posts, or read the Quest for Truth fairy tale, or even email us with your views on the blog and what you would value reading about.
Here's to continued spring mildness .................................

Friday, 18 February 2011

"Do not lament the past".

On Thursday 10th February The University of Salford School of Health Sport and Rehabilitation Science was delighted to welcome Karen Middleton, Chief Health Professions Officer at The Department of Health to present on Leadership. Karen follows previous the speaker Andy Burnham, then Secretary of State for Health in a Leadership Seminar series organised by Heather Davidson, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at the University of Salford.

Karen began her presentation with some background to the recent changes in the planned delivery of Health and Social care. She explained that whilst the Department of Health will be involved in setting the overall strategy for Health and Social Care, and will have a direct link to Public Health and Adult Social Care, the relationship with the NHS will be much more distant and responsibility for funding and procurement will be devolved to GP Consortia. Currently most health services are purchased from NHS providers; however Karen introduced the concept of a managed market place in which any willing provider who meets appropriate standards can be commissioned.

Karen emphasised that “The emphasis on the GP as purchaser of services, combined with an outcome rather than target driven approached, provides a massive opportunity for Allied Health Professionals to compete in this market place”, and whilst she acknowledged that some AHPs may not agree with the Government policy, she also advocated strongly that we must not “lament the past, as other professions are up and running”. Indeed, Karen asserted that unless we were able to articulate the impact of our role in relation to the outcome frameworks for Health, Public Health and Adult Social Care we would not survive. ‘Good clinical care is no longer enough’ she said.

Karen indicated that the focus on outcomes and purposeful lack of Government guidance on how to achieve them generates unprecedented opportunities for Allied Health Professionals who have now been afforded freedom to make clinical decisions and to develop their entrepreneurial skills. When articulating our contributions to the outcomes frameworks, and in influencing GP purchasing we should not wait to be invited to become involved, but should fight to be involved, constantly asking ourselves “What do GPs not know they don't know?”, and telling them.
Karen continued the presentation with her interpretation of leadership. “Leadership is about doing the right thing. Management is about doing things right” she said. Our services will be valued only if they articulate with the outcomes frameworks and so it is for each and every one of us to articulate exactly how this happens – if we can. Karen’s belief is that sometimes this will place us in direct competition with our peers; however this should be embraced in order to ‘do the right thing’. As she notes, the Quality Innovation Productivity and Prevention agenda is of utmost priority given the economic status of the country. We should be pushing forwards to contribute to it through creative practice and excellent leadership.

Karen encourages each of us to develop our leadership skills either formally through leadership courses, of informally through engagement with a coach or mentor. To end the presentation Karen shared a video of the finals of the Allied Health Professionals Leadership Challenge 2010 and encouraged those attending to apply to be part of this process in the future.

Further seminars are planned over the next 12 months with both an AHP and occupational therapy focus. Development of a student leadership challenge is at its early stages and Heather would also like to hear from any students or practitioners interested in attending a special interest/discussion group exploring leadership.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Quest for Truth........chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 5
As Rigour prepared to shoe the horse he thought of as Verisimilitude (who was in fact Bias) he picked up a piece of paper on the floor seemingly dropped by the scary stranger (who was in fact Confounded). He couldn’t help but read it and was delighted to read of the Quest for Truth and in that moment decided that he was the man for the Champion for King Quantit. As he went to return the paper to the saddle bag he accidently knocked out more papers that fell to the floor of the forge with a thud!
The big title “Data Set” was hard to miss! These were of course the documents stolen from the wizards. The Data set contained all the answers to all the questions ever asked in Probability. Before he could hastily put them back, Confounded entered the forge wondering what was taking so long. Luckily, even though Rigour knew nothing of stolen documents etc, his suspicion was aroused and he managed to hide the Data Set from view. He completed the task in record time, not wanting to spend any more time that absolutely necessary in the company of the stranger and his weird horse and excited to be on his way to the palace to propose himself as Champion (taking the Data Set with him).
Confounded and Bias were soon on their way – unaware that they were minus the Data Set. They too were heading to the palace with a plan to use the Data Set to cheat and find the Truth his way and thus gain the prize.
So, we leave this chapter with Holistic Perspective and his servant Dichotomous Data (who finally decided!), Rigour, Validity and Reliability (and Snowball of course) and Confounded Variable with Bias, all heading from the four corners of Probability towards the palace.

Chapter 6.
All were finally congregated in Chi-square immediately outside the A’Tives palace with a variant of a normally distributed population who had come to watch the contest – and indeed the spectacle of such a Quest.
Amongst the crowd was Data Dredging, a reporter from the Probability Daily Chronicle who was always on the lookout or links and associations without the need for reported facts! An ongoing liaison with Voluptuous Validity (no relation to our own heroine), who despite strong feminist principles and a need to challenge the public and private divisions of life was in fact a bit of a gossip, was a very fruitful source of material for Data’s by-lines.
Suddenly over the noise of the crowd, a fanfare could be heard, followed swiftly by our two Kings Qualit and Quantit. Beside the Kings stood their faithful servant Co-Variant , being the only entity who could vary and change his behaviour to suit each King’s needs without compromising his own personal qualities. In a loud voice, Co-Variant welcomed everyone to the palace on behalf of his masters and, unwinding a large scroll from his pocket he proceeded to announce the Champions and the tasks they were expected to perform.
This went on for some time, and a bit longer, and longer still. The crowd was restless and beginning to disperse when he finally came to the good bit.
Holistic Perspective was to be Champion for King Qualit and Rigour to be Champion for King Quantit (no surprises there then!). Cheers and jeers rang through the square as they were congratulated and the unsuccessful were laughed at. Validity and Reliability took the news with grace as would be expected. However, one person was less than happy! Confounded Variable was fuming, and as his horse, Bias, snorted derisively, he paced up and down deep in thought and hatching a cunning plan (for some reason he had still not checked his saddle bags and was unaware of the missing Data Set).
A hush was finally brought to the crowd as Co-Variant listed the tasks to be completed by each Champion in the Quest for Truth:
1.     To enter and traverse the Paradigm Forest. A place of anomaly and inconsitency that constantly shifted. Legend had it that if you survived the Forest then you emerged with a clear way of understanding and looking at the world around you.
2.     To travel the length of the River of Standard Deviation which turns, winds and often shape changes. It was slightly different to your average river – but nobody really knew why other than the fact that there were a lot of square roots along the way. However there was another twist to this task. The Champions had to travel the river on a Learning Log – very hard!
3.     The final task (if they survived the other two) was to climb a steep and treacherous outcrop known by all as Wittgenstein’s Ladder. Of course “climb” was not technically a true representation of what was involved, but a rather dumbing down of what was expected in order to simplify it for those involved.
We leave our Champions to take in the news of the tasks. At the moment they are a bit pale, but putting on a brave face and starting to plan their next move.
But what of the wizards?

Research Seminars ...

University of Salford
Directorate of Occupational Therapy
Seminar Series 2010-11

Students, staff and practitioners are invited to come along and listen and / or ask questions or discuss.

All sessions will be from 12 – 1pm, with a prompt start and finish. Bring your sandwiches.

Allerton Building
Semester Two

Thursday 24th Feb
Jackie Taylor / Angela Hook

‘The stories that people tell: experiences of receiving health care’
Thursday 17th March
Jo Mellson
‘The impact of sling materials on gluteal pressure whilst sitting in healthy individuals’

7th April
Rachel Gill
‘Occupational Therapy and Outcome Measurement: Reasons for the Development of the Evaluation of Daily Activity Questionnaire’

NB, if you are a practitioner wishing to attend, please contact Pam Hellawell on 0161 295 2396 to arrange a parking token.
For general enquiries email Jackie Taylor (j.taylor@salford.ac.uk)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Quest for Truth - continued........................

Chapter 3

Yomping through the land at just that same moment was Holistic Perspective (or Hol to his friends) and his trusty servant, Dichotmous Data.  Hol was a decent chap, of noble birth from the next village, Aposteriori where his father was Squire.  Like all his fellow villagers Hol believed that knowledge is gained from the experience, so he knew that it was windy outside right at that moment because he was experiencing it.
A selfless man, Hol put all others before himself (except for  his servant!) and always took into account the actions of all others around him before making a decision. 
Dichotomous was a bit of a village idiot if truth be told and could never make his mind up from one day to the next – was he fat or thin? Hot or cold? A constant trial to many people – but not to Hol who took care to always take this into account when asking Dichotomous to make a decision, which is why it could take a very long time indeed before a decision was made.
One such occasion was of course the advert for the Kings’ Champion. Should they or shouldn’t they apply. Let’s leave them for a moment to consider all their options whilst we focus on the furthest corner of the Kingdom.

The village of Apriori takes our attention now.  At the opposite end of the kingdom, this was a place where  knowledge was valued that was not reliant on the experiential element of gaining it.  If a thing can be seen to be, then you don’t have to experience it to know it for example it is known that dragons are green – you don’t have to experience being a dragon to know this – this was Apriori knowledge. In this village lived a strapping young blacksmith named Rigour. A very skilled blacksmith who was meticulous and scrupulous  in his task and paid close attention to detail. These skills he transferred to his dealings with everyday situations and his counsel was often sought by friends and fellow villagers to settle an argument or to help with big decisions.
One day a dark stranger came to the village, his horse in need of  a new shoe.  As he strutted down the high street, dressed in black, his cape swirling around him – despite the fact there was no breeze to speak of  (unlike in Apostieriori)– all the villagers  scurried out of his way and tried not to draw his attention – he had that effect on everyone he met. He introduced himself to Rigour as Hypothesis , an intuitive man with an enquiring mind and his horse Verisimilitude, a consistent and truthful companion.  He explained that he was a learn-ed man and was in search of new experiences and that he had run into a spot of bother a few miles from the village leaving his horse limping without a shoe. Rigour was happy to oblige and quickly set about stoking the forge in readiness for the new shoe making.

What Rigour and the other villagers didn’t know was that this man was not who he claimed to be. This was in fact Confounded Variable, a dastardly villain who was always an unforeseen and unaccounted for influence and jeopardised all he came into contact with. His horse was Bias with an imbalanced mind and who invariably gave people the creeps. Confounded had actually been trying to outrun three wizards from whom he had stolen some important documents that were of vital importance to the security of the whole kingdom and beyond. One of the wizards had managed to reach him with one of his spells whilst he was in flight which had resulted in the damage to Bias’ foot. However, Confounded still had the documents and time was running out.

Chapter 4

As night drew in, a strange light could be seen glimmering on the horizon very close to the village of Construct. Validity and Reliability with trusty Snowball were sitting on the front porch, discussing the Kings' notice and wodering how they could enter. They were also watching the light display and wondering what in Probability could be causing it. Was it some strange act of nature? Maybe a forest fire? They were far from the truth.

At the foot of the volcano, Abstract, sat three men – who could only be wizards. They wore the pointy hat and everything. And they were arguing – hence the light display as they fired insults and reprimands at each other it fits of pique.
Systematical, the eldest wizard was a serious man, a bit of a navel gazer,  and was questioning why the documents had been stolen, how it could have happened and what was the meaning of it all. Sceptical, who was always reticent to believe anything at face value was questioning whether it had happened at all and whether there would indeed be any consequences whilst  his brother Ethical, who  was a stickler for the rules and a safe guarder of the people  was trying to motivate the other two to do something to protect the kingdom and the people.

On and on they argued into the night. Let’s leave them arguing for  bit longer.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Quest for Truth- a fairy story

I was inspired to begin writing this one wet and windy weekend following a conversation on Facebook. This has turned into an homage to research terminology and makes no claim to be a robust academic piece of work. There may also be an influence from TerryPratchett , The Brothers Grimm and Enid Blyton.
 With acknowledgments to Ashley Bilen for the inspiration and Villan’s name (yet to be introduced) and for Snowball and Bronnie Thompson for the three step-sisters.

Chapter 1

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away  there was a kingdom called Probability where anything could, and certainly did happen.
Probability was ruled by the A’Tives, the throne being currently occupied by twin Kings Quantit and Qualit. They had accessed the throne rather suddenly as their father had died during the recent Plaigiarism plague that swept through the land taking people’s livelihoods. Two such different characters one would be very hard pushed to find. King Quantit rarely interacted with his subjects, preferring to observe his kingdom through a one way mirror and issue decrees and laws by the hatful. His twin brother Qualit however liked nothing more than moving around the kingdom as discretely as possible in order the interact with and observe his subjects and thus have an understanding of his people in a more socially constructed view.
The two brothers would argue constantly that their way was the best way until one day they decided to hold a contest to prove finally which was the best method of ruling– and the winner would take sole control of the kingdom.
Of course, being Kings they had no intention in taking part in the contest themselves – oh no that would not do! So a decree was issued, a contest planned and notices were sent far and wide throughout the kingdom to all corners of Probability to find a champion for each King.

The Quest for Truth:

We seek two champions to engage in a Triangulation contest.

One of you will be logical and rational the other will be symbolic and perceptive. Both of you will be expected to engage in a combination of MULTI-MODAL tasks in order to seek truth.

Whichever of you wins will receive riches beyond compare (once it has been established the baseline for comparison!)

Please contact palace for further details

Chapter 2
In another corner of Probability lived Validity Izabilty. Validity  lived in a tiny village called Construct which was not directly observable to  humans, but which nestled cosily between the twin volcanoes of Abstract and  Chaos. She was a sensible girl and took care to ensure that her decisions and expectations of others was well considered and balanced.
Life was never dull in the household that she shared with her father, the General  (who liked nothing more than applying his rules not just to his own household, but to the population at large) and her three  step-sisters Mean, Mode and Median.
Mean, who was not necessarily a nasty girl- just a bit misunderstood,  was of average height and build and was interested in the value of everything, Mode was a rather common girl who followed the crowd and Median was the middle sister.
A dog called Snowball rounded off the family group. A bundle of fluff who was not really representative of all dogs but was simple and cheap and could see invisible things and therefore helped Validity to link with the rest of his friends.
One day as she was sauntering through the neighbourhood , being sensible, with Snowball at her heel, she was suddenly interrupted by her childhood friend Reliability running towards her waving what appeared to be a sheet of paper in his hand.  Vailidity and Reliabilty had been firm friends since meeting in school. Reliability was usually a calm and reassuring influence, always the same no matter what the situation and Validity felt safe in his reliable presence. Reliability was in love with Validity – unrequited of course

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fame at last.................

Oh dear, can it really be nearly February?!! My good intentions to keep a more regularly posted blog seems to already have gone out of the window (or perhaps been buried underneath the frantic assessments of semester one and preparations for semester 2!).

So, I hope all our readers are ready to face the challenges and delights of another year. Here in the Directorate of Occupational Therapy we are busy making plans for the year ahead with some very interesting projects and innovations on the table for further discussion - watch this space for more info as we move forward with some of these. Of course we are watching the government agenda closely both for the future of Higher Education and Health and Social Care. We are quietly pleased with ourselves that we are ahead of the game in terms of widening access to potential students and in the flexible delivery utilising principles of e-learning and of course the work that myself (Angela) and Sarah are doing in terms of using virtual environments for education in health care. We are intending to complete the report on our qualitative research very soon and are well underway in moving forward with a piece of quantitative work over the next year.

One very successful arena is the role-emerging/non traditional placements that all our full time and part time students experience in Level 6. This last placement period just before Xmas last year found us in the news - fame at last!!

Credit must go to the students involved (Jason and Lauren) and to Chris Kenney our colleague here at the university for all the hard work and creativity involved. In a nut shell Jason and Lauren were placed in the Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe and engaged with students to beat bullying by involvement in trust exercises, anger management and grooming etc. This enabled the Academy students to consider issues of self-esteem and communication which resulted in them reaping the benefits in terms of their occupational engagement (reported that there was improved behaviour and improved communication). Chris has been experiencing more than her 15 minutes of fame as she fields calls from a variety of media sources both local (Manchester Evening News) and national (Sunday Telegraph, Daily Star).

A mention must also go to our students Anna and Maureen who were placed in Refugee Action. It was reported by managers of this organisation that the students offered a choice and collaboration with the users that no other worker had previously addressed (they introduced a role checklist amongst other things). Managers have indicated that they see a definite role for occupational therapists within their organisation but unfortunately government cuts of up to 60% of their budget will make this difficult in reality.

Of course, I cannot mention these types of placement without acknowledging the role that many practitioners play in supervising our students whilst they are out on placement. Any one wishing to be involved should contact Chris Kenney (c.kenney@salford.ac.uk).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Latest Leadership Event


Leadership for the Allied Health Professions

Thursday, 10 February 2011
12.00pm — 1.00pm
Seminar Focus
The seminar will highlight the importance of leadership for the Allied Health Professions (AHP).

Seminar Content
Karen will discuss the importance of leadership for the AHP and discuss opportunities for leadership development. The seminar will also include a question and answer session, giving students and clinicians from the AHP groups the opportunity to raise any questions and add to the debate.
Karen Middleton
Karen was appointed as Chief Health Professions Officer for England in March 2007. She is the Government's most senior AHP advisor, providing advice on all aspects of the 12 professions classified in this group. In this role, she has raised the profile of the contribution AHPs can make to transforming health and social care through a range of initiatives including the launch of the Competence-based Career Framework for AHPs, the Service Improvement Programme and the AHP Leadership Challenges.
Karen began her career when she qualified as a chartered physiotherapist in 1985 and went onto specialise in musculoskeletal therapy. She became a Fellow of the Society of Orthopaedic Medicine in 1994, and taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in both orthopaedic medicine and hydrotherapy.
For further information or to reserve a place:
Email: chsc-events@salford.ac.uk