#OTalk 25th April – Media Club- Being human on the internet.

This weeks #OTalk is a media club on the topic of being human on the internet by Bill Wong (@BillwongOT).

The link for this week’s media club can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm0p2NQPB-M

Here’s what Bill had to say…

As a frequent attendee to occupational therapy conferences across the world since I was an OT student in 2009, I am aware that there have been constant discussions and activities on promoting the occupational therapy profession on the Internet. For example, major OT conferences have been tracking how their conference hashtags are doing on Twitter. Another example will be hashtags such as #ot365, #valueofot, #otdistinctvalue, #otphoto, #otmonth, #otweek.

Then, when occupational therapy made appearances on the Ellen show (a popular daytime afternoon show in the US) and Jeopardy (popular quiz show), it has gone viral on social media. Finally, the 2012 Eleanor Slagle lecture by Dr. Karen Jacobs is a notable scholarly speech on promoting occupational therapy. One of the byproducts is that there has been an increasing number of OT programs globally have introduced to their students the idea of Twitter as a professional development tool.

That said, despite all the buzz about promoting our great profession, I feel there have been two items that are not addressed as much. First, although many of us still feel we need to increase public awareness of our profession, it has been a challenge for many OT students and practitioners to constantly promote our profession on social media due to our busy schedules, social media competencies aside. Second, this is something I feel we have not addressed too much in our OT education, is to promote our profession with effectiveness. This represents the perfect transition of this week’s media club material and my reflection of it for the blog.

I started out my OT journey as a wallflower in OT school. I preferred to be in my own world more than in the company of others. Although I connected with majority of my classmates on Facebook, I did primarily for survival reasons, since I was below average for many of my OT classes in OT school. Meanwhile, since I knew OT was my second chance at a career, I also was trying to make network better than my undergrad days (which I did virtually no networking) so that I wouldn’t repeat my struggles of obtaining employment again. At that time, to the surprise of many people who know me now, I actually merely wanted to be a qualified occupational therapist. Although I had ambitions to achieve great things, I actually had not much idea on social media’s role in the profession. Also, not surprisingly, I still was searching for my professional identity as a member of the OT community.

As many people know, summer 2010 was a crucial point of my life personally and professionally. Making a long story short, finding out that I have Asperger’s Syndrome turned out to be a key foundation for my professional identity. After going through the grieving process through the help of some of my OT colleagues, I realized whatever I share about my lived experiences has immense value if I were courageous enough to share regularly. The kicker was that I must pass my placements and become a qualified occupational therapist. However, it was a difficult time for me because in the process of discovering my diagnosis, I walked out of my first hands-on placement. Because of that, I was in a position where I couldn’t afford to fail any more of such placements, as the consequence of walking out under most circumstances is a fail.

Then, when I became a qualified occupational therapist in fall 2012, I have decided to come full circle to support other OT peers while trying to expand my horizons professionally. At that time, I had received some positive feedback from the local OT community in California regarding my courage to share my lived experiences in autism. Also, I started to build my international connections in OT through participation of our great Twitter chat series. Finally, with the great Sarah Bodell as my preceptor for my OTD project, I was introduced to OT 24 Hour Virtual Exchange for the first time. All that added up to my boldness to share my personal insights from an OT perspective on social media.

Like many newly qualified occupational therapists, however, I had bouts of struggles of finding my voice. My primary struggles came from trying to balance out my two primary occupational roles- as an emerging autism self advocate and an occupational therapist. After all, although there were common grounds between the two roles on autism related issues, mastering the appropriate tones of what I say on social media was the most difficult challenge (which is not surprising given my autism diagnosis). The next most difficult challenge was about sharing my views on autism related subjects. I am thankful for my loyal peers in the OT profession for being patient through my trials and errors on finding my voice. Once I have progressed towards mastery, my social media presence exploded, which was part of the reasons why I was selected to do 2 TEDx Talks. Meanwhile, I have also set a continuous CPD goal since 2014 where I will try to master at least 1 new social media platform per year. Of course, I keep on breaking my Twitter impression records at OT conferences. That said, even though I understood the rationale of my social media related CPD goals, I have received mixed reviews from my peers when I mentioned these goals. The reactions I most often heard was “You are way up there with what you already do social media wise. I can’t even keep up with you. I don’t even understand how you do it, let alone you want to continue to innovate without losing your human touch, in spite you are working 40 or more hours a week.”

In researching for this topic, I also found this interesting fact. We all lie somewhere in the technology adaptation spectrum. 2.5% are innovators, 13.5% are early adopters, 34% are early majority, 34% are late majority, and 16% are laggards. (Source: http://www.ondigitalmarketing.com/learn/odm/foundations/5-customer-segments-technology-adoption/)

That said, watching this presentation has prompted me to create these discussion questions for our chat.

  • What social media platforms do you have? For each platform, what purposes are you using it for?
  • In regards to social media ideas, do you consider yourself an innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority, or laggard? Why?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how important is online presence in having success in the OT profession? Why?
  • What qualities are you looking for on an influential OT student or practitioner online?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how good are you trying to build rapport with your social media/online followers? Why?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you utilize your professional social media accounts (whether it’s for CPD or promoting OT)? Why?


#OTalk 18th April – When clients don’t get better.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “When clients don’t get better” and will be hosted by Keir Harding (@Keirwales).

Here’s what Keir has to say….

“With patients who do not get better, or who even get worse in spite of long devoted care, major strain may arise.  Those who attend the patient are then pleased neither with him (the patient) nor themselves and the quality of their concern for him alters accordingly, with consequences that can be severe for both patient and attendants”  (Main 1957).

Our training tends to prepare us for people who will come to see us with a problem, take our advice, then go away and get better.  The reality is that some people who are referred won’t turn up to appointments, some will ignore our advice, some won’t improve despite our best intentions and some will do things that seem to make their situation significantly worse.  I have sat in offices cursing people for not turning up and making judgements in my head about whether they want to get better.  On the other side of the scale I’ve worked with people who have repeatedly self-harmed in ways that are potentially lethal and made repeated suicide attempts.  I often hear this described as ‘attention seeking’ or ‘sabotage’.  These explanations are seductively simple.  After reading in someone’s notes the other week that they were self-harming ‘due to their diagnosis’, I wanted to spend some time promoting a more nuanced way of thinking about the things people do that seem to cause harm. I wonder whether we all do something on the self-harm spectrum and whether there is an impact of people we are there to ‘make better’ apparently making themselves worse.  To set the scene here is a paragraph ripped from my blog.  It would also be worth checking out “The Dark Side of Occupation” (Twinley 2013) which you can get free if you’re in BAOT.

“Let’s start by saying that I self-harm.  I self-harm regularly in a way that society tends to approve of.  Most Saturdays  I strap on my rugby boots and on a good day,  for 80 minutes large, hairy men will charge at me while I try to knock them over.  On other days I am punched, stamped on, scraped with studs, or just hurt.  Over the years I have broken my nose, chipped my teeth, ripped the skin under my chin open, split my forehead and all last week, sported a big purple eye.  I play rugby every week, not seeking pain but knowing full well that it is inherent in this activity.  The pain and damage that it gives me is worth it in terms of the other benefits that I receive. Now obviously playing rugby isn’t the same as cutting lines in my thigh, but I’m arguing that that both activities are on a spectrum of things that damage you but come with some reward that makes it worthwhile.”

Suggested Talking points:

1 What do we do in our own lives that isn’t totally in our best interests?

2 How do we understand what our client’s do that seems to make things worse?

3 What is our role in working with these clients?  Do we help them stop or do we facilitate harm?

4 What is the impact on us of our clients not getting better? (Or seemingly making things worse?)

5 How do we protect ourselves from making simple explanations to complex occupational problems? (Often in systems that will tend to reinforce that)


MAIN, T. F. (1957), THE AILMENT*. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 30: 129–145. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8341.1957.tb01193.x (Free online at http://www.ljaa.lv/download/dokumenti/the_ailment_by_t_main.pdf )

Twinley, R. (2013), The dark side of occupation: A concept for consideration. Aust Occup Ther J, 60: 301–303. doi:10.1111/1440-1630.12026


Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

996,404 Impressions
501 Tweets
60 Participants
401 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

OTalk Participants

#OTalk 11th April – Occupational Therapy and helping Seniors age in place.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of OT helping seniors to age in place and will be hosted by Julie Entwistle (@entwistlepower).

Here is what she has to say…

According to a report by the Canadian Medical Association, 63% of Canadians selected home and community care for older adults as a top priority.  Meaning that as baby boomers age and the over 65 population grows, home care is becoming an even larger industry that may put a strain on healthcare.

How can Occupational Therapists ease the strain on the healthcare system and how can we, as OT’s, capitalize on the senior market?

In a previous post on our blog, Occupational Therapy and Aging in Place, we discussed the top ways OT’s can assist older adults in their plan to Age well at Home which include:

  1. Proactivity
  2. Space Modifications
  3. Fall Prevention
  4. Preparing for and Being open to relocation
  5. Planning ahead for assistance
  6. Planning ahead for emergencies

Questions to discuss:

  1. What other aspects to you believe should be included in this list?
  2. What do you do to proactively meet the needs of older adults who want to age in place?
  3. Falls prevention:  beyond space modification, how are you educating to prevent falls in seniors?
  4. What fall prevention techniques do you use?
  5. How do you broach the difficult conversations with older clients including:  relocation to a safer home, long term care, ceasing of driving, etc
  6. How do you deal with adult children who have differing opinions to those of their aging parents?
  7. What tips and strategies do you provide to caregivers to help them learn about their role and to avoid burnout?
  8. Are there any apps/technology that you use with your senior clients to help them manage at home?

Post chat

online transcript

The Numbers

1,109,479 Impressions
338 Tweets
36 Participants
270 Avg Tweets/Hour
9Avg  Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk Research – Tuesday 4th April 2017

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of how NHS R&D departments can help occupational therapists and will be hosted by Prof Susan Corr, Head of Research and Development at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (@LPTresearch).


Here is what Susan had to say…


I took up my post at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2013 after many years as an occupational therapy academic and researcher. I thought it a great opportunity to enable clinical staff to become research active and support the development of clinical academic roles across all healthcare professions.

Being research active in an NHS organisation comes in many guises mainly conducting, facilitating and/or implementing research.

Many NHS staff conduct research, often for the purposes of obtaining a qualification but also there are now many more staff aware that a clinical academic career pathway is a possibility for allied health professionals and nurses. NHS R&D departments can support these staff with all aspects of undertaking research including study design, grant writing, establishing academic partners and obtaining necessary approvals.

Most NHS Trusts support studies that are on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), in that they have staff funded by the NIHR to enable service users and carers to be participants in national and international studies. Clinical staff can play a key role in facilitating this research in many ways including from taking on the role of local Principal Investigator for a study that offers their service users the opportunity to participate to handing out leaflets about studies. All these studies come to services through Trust R&D departments.

Accessing, critically appraising and utilising evidence in the workplace is key to ensuring care is high quality evidence based. NHS R&D departments can signpost staff to library facilities but may also deliver training or facilitate team discussions that help services to set up their own journal clubs for example. They may also host research events where recently conducted research is shared enabling clinical staff to learn about studies and discuss how to implement findings.


During this chat I would like to consider the following:


  1. What worked well when asking NHS R&D for support when conducting research?
  2. Service users consider research to be the ‘zone of hope’. How would you respond if asked what studies are happening locally?
  3. What helps utilising your/colleagues critical appraisal skills to discuss and implement research in your service?
  4. If you arranged a meeting with your Trusts R&D dept what would be your burning question/need?


Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1,460,757 Impressions
327 Tweets
24 Participants
262 Avg Tweets/Hour
14 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk OTea Party Time! 28th March 2017

This week we thought it was time we had a bit of a party….

OTea Party

Some questions to get you thinking…..

What inspired you to be an occupational therapist?
What do you admire in other occupational therapists?
What makes a good occupational therapist?
What do you like, love and loathe about occupational therapy?
We look forward to you joining us for our #OTalk OTea Party.

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1,487,608 Impressions
500 Tweets
51 Participants
400 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk Tuesday 21st March OT Interview Clinic


This week the plan is to engage in an OT interview clinic, if your looking to get your first OT post, your next job, or you think you have some good tips and hints to share with others,  please consider joining in Tuesday 21st on March 2017 at 8pm GMT.

Here are a few good blogs to read in preparation for Tuesdays chat,



Topics to think about ready for the chat

  1. Application – the do’s and don’ts
  2. Your social media profiles – what can future employers find out about you?
  3. Pre interview contact / visit what should i do?
  4. Preparation
  5. What to wear
  6. The questions
  7. Using feedback productively

Throughout the chat I’ll be posting my top ten tips for interviews.

Rachel @OT_rach

#OTalk 14th March – What does it mean to be professional?

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of professionalism and will be hosted by Sarah Lawson (@SlawsonOT).

Here is what Sarah had to say…

As I write this post in January 2017 I am beginning my Post Graduate MPhil/PhD journey researching continuing professional development and TRAMmCPD (www.TRAMmCPD.com/). In September 2016 I began lecturing to occupational therapy students at Glyndwr University. My first few lectures included ‘Introduction to Professional Practice’ and ‘Social Media in a Professional Context’.

I have spent 6 years working as a community Occupational Therapist in social care alongside being a member of the TRAMmCPD team, I am also Regional Forum Lead for the North-West Region of the College of Occupational Therapist, as well as being a partner, mother, daughter … I may be a glutton for punishment!

In preparation for my lecturing and research I have been reading and reflecting on what it means to be ‘Professional’ particularly as a health and care professional. Having reviewed the Health and Care Professions (HCPC) website for ‘fitness to practice’ investigations and ‘press releases’ it appears that some health and care professionals struggle to be ‘Professional’. I am intrigued to know if students/new graduates understood/understand what being an occupational therapist meant/means in terms of professionalism before they applied to be an under graduate.

Although wary, I am keen to involve my students in conversations and debates on social media, to encourage their interactions with the #otalk community which in my experience is a great forum to showcase ‘Professionalism’ and for them to consider what it means to be ‘Professional’ across all aspects of conduct, ethics, performance and social media use.

I am hoping to encourage occupational therapy tutors and students from Glyndwr University to participate or lurk in this chat, for some it will be their first time. As part of future lectures, on Reflection, Social Media use and developing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio I am hoping to use #otalk for examples of how to record and reflect on participation as part of CPD.

During this chat I would like to consider the following:

As a student or new graduate 

  1. How did/do you feel about the expectations placed upon you as a health and care professional? (Ethics/Conduct/Social Media etc)
  1. Were you aware of the expectations before you became an under graduate?

3.  Have/do you struggle with what is considered to be professional and/or personal?

  1. Is there anything you think may help you?

As a Practitioner/Educator/Academic

  1. Do you think the concept of being a Professional has changed or evolved? If so, how?
  1. Are there still aspects you struggle with or are unclear of?
  1. Are you aware of the following updated documents and what has now been included/changed?

post chat

online Transcript

The Numbers

872,182 Impressions
499 Tweets
59 Participants
399 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants