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

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Behind The Scenes.....

This week saw the beginning of a long and detailed process as we begin to revalidate our Undergraduate and Post Graduate programmes.  Periodically we have to demonstrate that the programmes we deliver are providing upto date best practice in order to be fit for purpose and provide a quality experience for our students.  To maintain accreditation status with COT and the HPC it is vital that we explore all relevant drivers and quality measures both for the Occupational Therapy profession and for our underpinning educational philosophy and practice on a regular basis.

We have now started the process that will end with amended and updated programmes ready to start in September 2014. Seems a long time away now - but I'm not so sure! Helping us (the whole staff team)  with the process will be a number of stakeholder groups including a Strategic Advisory Group with reps from NW managers, student reps and service user groups.

We thought this short slideshow might give a taster of the academic staff team in action. The quote "quite a lot of old dogs in the room" was made by a colleague to illustrate the point that a few of us have been around the block a few times so we need to keep our fresh approach to yet another process - we didn't take offence!

The day, which was rather intensive, was broken up with various youtube videos to help us on our way including ET gets OT,   and a warning not to tease each other. We think we had a rather productive day and have now all been given homework to do ready for the next day in November.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

COT Annual Conference 2012

So, COT annual conference is over for another year -I think mixed feelings best describes my personal view of the experience. This year the venue changed from Brighton to Glasgow - which I think was disadvantaged by comparison. Please don't get me wrong, Glasgow looked after us very well, the venue was slick and extremely well organised but it was hampered by the weather and the fact that we couldn't eat ice creams on the sea wall whenever we fancied a bit of breakaway networking :-).

However, Brighton didn't have Tenacious D with Jack Black rehearsing across the corridor whilst the Mindfulness workshop was meditating! Priceless. Rumour has it that a COT representative tried to get him to speak to conference - even getting as far as his manager before being rebuffed. Their stance was based on the fact that  their new album "Rize of the Fenix" could be said to have tentative links to Occupational Therapy due to the COT Pheonix logo. Ah well, only a few steps away from fame!!

University of Salford had 5 (4 staff and one undergrad student) abstracts accepted for conference  so myself, Sarah, Jackie, Heather, Viv  and Gillian all attended to share our work, to engage in conference and to network. (Read Gillian's post about her experience here)

Sarah and I travelled together by car - Sarah driving (luggage therefore had no reason to go walkabout as per Chile 2010) and apart from a brief moment of concern when the oil light flashed on the dashboard and the need to accost an innocent male passerby to answer a few basic questions for us (apologies for maintaining a stereotype) we arrived in Glasgow in good time and headed straight for the hotel bar for refreshment and regroup with the other 3 who all arrived through the early evening. After a meal at the hotel - and a realisation that some restaurants have still not grasped the concept of vegetarianism  (you had to be there!) we all went to our rooms to get ready for the onslaught of the next three days.

Tuesday 12th June

As registration wasn't until 11.30am we had ample time to get in a little sight seeing to at least get our bearings of Glasgow. Sarah and I met early for  breakfast and then found our way by bus into the city and onto a City Tours open top bus. It was cold and windy, and I had loaned Sarah the "Belfast" coat of style over substance and so the cold finally won out and we left the tour at the SECC where conference was to be and went for a coffee awaiting registration.

It was here that the whirlwind of Facebook and virtual friends began to arrive and 'real world' friendships were forged. How strange that these people could walk and talk - and had accents - we realised that their words had only ever been read before and therefore we had put our own voice to them - how weird!!!

Heather had kindly taken our poster : "The experiences of Learning in a 3D Immersive Environment" into the venue and so this was put up in its relevant place.

First session attended was a Round Table with Samantha Shann of WFOT (and Northumbria University) celebrating our profession locally and globally. Samantha gave information of how we could celebrate OT Day on October 27th and highlighted resources available for download from the WFOT website. Unexpectedly she invited me to take the microphone to talk about OT4OT and our 24hrVx. - so thanks for the opportunity Samantha - great to meet you.

Sarah and I then popped into the Social Media workshop run by Kirsty Stanley, Claire Jones and Helen Rushton. What had originally been planned as a drop in session had quickly evolved - due to a healthy number of participants, into three workshops - clinical centred, ethical and professional behaviour on line and "newbies" to digital social media. So, 'popping-in' was a little disruptive and our arrival caused a bit of a halt as we were introduced and invited to chat with one of the groups. Once again Kirtsy, Helen and Claire - our apologies for disrupting the session - but what a great group and clearly well received. These three were relentless all conference in offering help and advice to anyone who wanted to stop them - made much easier by their t-shirts advertising their support - fantastic!!

Heather's workshop: "Exploring a gendered approach to leadership" was well attended and well received and certainly gave some more food for thought to the leadership agenda - I'm sure Heather may want to offer her own account of this.

After the Plenary session - where Prof Phil Hanlon stole the show talking about OTs role within Public Health - very charismatic man I then attended a Fringe Meeting of Occupational Science in Europe where Prof Gaynor Sadlo and Prof Susan Corr led a discussion about how this new group may work and how we may begin to support each other - see the new website here. It was now 8pm and I was tired, hungry and all networked out for the day. The kaftan was calling........

Wednesday 13th June

Today saw Jackie and Viv's workshop: "The power of occupation in rebuilding the disrupted identity: a new approach". A popular choice as people were being turned away. They presented a prototype of a workbook that participants were extremely disappointed to give back at the end of the session - Jackie and Viv your work is cut out for you now in getting it ready for publication as soon as you can!

Sarah and I also had to stand by our poster in case anyone had any questions - seems no one did!

Highlights of the day included:

  • breakfast at the Bistro at the SECC
  • networking continued with some interesting chats and quick meets with a variety of OTs from many diverse areas.
  • meeting Henry Clayton the inventor of the millie-mova - a fantastic, easy and cheap device for moving dining chairs. He had pitched to Dragon's Den but was unsuccessful - they made a mistake in my view - I can see it having mass appeal for many areas where carers are struggling.
  • perusing the poster exhibition - again demonstrating the varied and diverse areas in which OT is represented
Thursday 14th June

First thing was mine and Jackie's paper: "Understanding service user stories about experiences of community health care". Jackie presented this on our behalf and I think I am right in saying that it was well received. 

Whilst this was happening, the student papers were being delivered. The feedback from this session has been great. Jennifer Creek can be seen talking about the session in this video

Lunch time arrived all too soon and a decision made to leave before the end of the day - having completely exhausted all our reserves of energy. 

So, homeward bound, again in Sarah's car, we used the time very productively in identifying three potential projects involving a website, a pilot experience in metal health and a fairy story - details not ready to be released just yet - but watch this space......

And so, conference over for another year.... great to meet you all..... here's to next year!!!