#OTalk Blog Squad #RCOT2018

Would you like to be part of the #OTalk Blog Squad for RCOT 2018 annual conference?

blog squad 2018

For the second year the #OTalk and #OTalk Research team are forming a blog squad to provide a stimulating, engaging, personal insight into conference. Last years the blogs were very well received and reached a global audience and we are using the learning to inform what we do this year.

To make this happen we are recruiting a small team of writers who feel able to, and are excited by, the prospect of writing short engaging posts. Last year people from all stages of their career (students to profs) and a wide range of clinical backgrounds made up the squad.

How does a blog squad work?

Members of the squad will be asked to agree before conference which sessions they will cover and commit to writing and delivering a maximum of 2 short posts about the sessions. There are key sessions that we need to cover as well as some choice. It is important to understand that these are written and posted during the conference and so you do need to be willing to commit some of your conference time to writing the posts.

You will be asked to respect professional codes of conduct in what you write but the posts are very much yours to write in your style, using your words and any media you think will convey your experience. You can check out what people wrote last year here #COT2017.

What kind of writing experience do I need?

You need to feel confident in your writing as the posts will not be heavily edited and corrected by us. You also need to feel happy writing a short article to a tight deadline. This isn’t something you can take away and complete after conference. We will provide some guidance as well as an opportunity to connect with each other before conference begins to answer any questions you may have.

How do I get involved?

Firstly you need to have registered for conference.

Once you have done this complete the expression of interest form available here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MVL7H8L  and we will be in touch.

Deadline for completion Friday 4th May





#OTalk 24 April – Occupational therapy and volunteering


This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “volunteering” and will be hosted by Orla Hughes (@Orlatheot).

At the RCOT 2018 conference in June, I will be presenting a personal reflection on how I used my occupational therapy skills when volunteering last year. The aim of the presentation is to encourage others (especially students) to develop their professional skills by taking up volunteering roles at home or abroad. I hope this Twitter chat can help us recognise and reflect on the value we bring to our volunteer roles.

Here are the questions we will be discussing:

  1. Hello! Please introduce yourself and answer Q.1 which is ‘Have you ever volunteered, or do you currently volunteer with an organisation? Tell us about it.’
  2. What barriers stop you from volunteering?
  3. What do you enjoy about volunteering? Does it benefit you?
  4. What occupational therapy skills have you used in a volunteer role? Tell us about how you used them. What do occupational therapists bring that others do not?
  5. Do you think it is useful to volunteer abroad or is it better to volunteer locally where you are ‘culturally relevant’?
  6. Do you record your volunteer experience as CPD evidence? If so, how?
  7. Can you identity new roles for occupational therapy in the organisations that you have or still volunteered with?
  8. Finally, sharing is caring! Please share any opportunities where organisations are looking for volunteers. Do you know any organisations that provide funding for volunteer projects? Or even any literature on the topic of volunteering?



#OTalk 17th April – OT and personality disorder.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “OT and personality disorder” and will be hosted by Keir Harding (@KeirWales).

Here is what Keir had to say…

April the 16th is the first ever conference for Occupational Therapists working within the field of Personality Disorder.  We thought it would be good to take some of the learning from the conference and take it outside of the room so on April 17th, #Otalk is dedicated to exploring the themes of the conference.

Personality disorder is a highly contentious diagnosis associated with high levels of stigma and exclusion from services.  Staff often find the difficulties around self harm and suicide difficult to work with.  The challenges of working with people who find others to be threatening and untrustworthy can also impact on clinicians feeling effective.  Often the environment around people with this diagnosis adds to the stigma by labelling them as attention seeking and manipulative.

While there is a temptation to think that this is particularly related to the field of mental health, it’s worth remembering the people who get this diagnosis are over represented in physical health, particularly in the areas of fibromyalgia, chronic pain, diabetes and arthritis.  With a prevalence of around 1 in 10 of the population, the chances are high that we are working with people who might meet the criteria for this diagnosis – whether as our patients or colleagues.   As OTs, we could argue that we are less likely to be affected by stigma due to our tendency to be less focused on diagnosis.

The questions for the night might well be subject to change but for now….

1 – Should the diagnosis of Personality Disorder have any impact on how we work with people?

2 – Are standardised assessments useful for working with this client group (What do you use?)

3 – Specific OT or Manualised treatment done by OTs.  Where should we lean?

4 – What it the future of OT for people who are given this diagnosis?

Post Chat

Online Transcript from the #OT4PD on 16th April 2018

Online Transcript from the #otalk chat

PDF. #OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript April 17th 2018

The Numbers

1.883M Impressions
455 Tweets
49 Participants
364 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 10th April 2018 – How to record your CPD

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Recording your CPD” and will be hosted by Sarah Lawson (@SLawsonOT).

Here’s what Sarah had to say…

My name is Sarah Lawson @SLawsonOT, I am an Occupational Therapist and I think it’s safe to say a CPD geek. I am an MPhil/PhD student researching understanding of and engagement in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). I lecture to undergraduate Occupational Therapy students about all aspects of professional development, I carry out some clinical work in a specialist research hospital and am Regional Forum Lead for the Royal College of Occupational Therapists North West Region. Alongside all of this I work together with Deb Hearle @HearleD developing the TRAMm (Tell, Record, Activities, Monitor, measure) Model (Hearle et al. 2016) for Continuing Professional Development (www.TRAMmCPD.com). Deb is also studying for her Professional Doctorate researching the nature and process of CPD.

We have developed The TRAMm Model as a framework to encourage people to engage with CPD. CPD is a personal and subjective journey, as well as a professional and mandatory requirement. In order to be most effective, it is necessary to Tell others, Record and apply the learning from your CPD Activities, Monitor your progress and measure the impact. To facilitate this journey, we have developed tools to help you, the TRAMm Tracker can be used to record, monitor and measure your development and the TRAMm Trail enables you to record in a little more depth significant pieces of your CPD. The TRAMm Model, TRAMm Tracker and TRAMm Trail are collectively known as TRAMmCPD.

As part of our work we have examined what it means to be engaged in CPD (Hearle and Lawson 2016) and how to recognise when routine work activity becomes CPD (Hearle et al. 2015). Before beginning to record our CPD we need to consider how we become aware and recognise when we are engaged in learning which needs to be captured and recorded for our CPD.

For us in the UK keeping a ‘continuous, up-to-date and accurate record’ (HCPC 2017 p5) of CPD is an essential and mandatory requirement of our HCPC registration and yet some people are not sure what counts as CPD or how to capture the information (Qa Research 2015 p4). Recording CPD is one of the TRAMm stations, I have updated this mind map (Click here to view) which was originally included in our book (Hearle et al. 2016) which considers a myriad of ways in which you might record your CPD. You may have other elements you would add to this.

We need to engage in and record our CPD but how can we make the most from our everyday work opportunities when we are all having to manage increasing workloads and pressures, with less time, often less support from managers and the organisations we work in. Can we try to work smarter, rather than harder to ensure that we are gaining some personal satisfaction, enhancing our knowledge and skills, meeting requirements and improving the lives of our service users? How do you capture the more nebulous, anecdotal aspects of CPD? Particularly those aspects which may provide a measure of the success (or otherwise) of our CPD, such as feelings of confidence, service user/carer feedback, a box of chocolates, a text and social media interactions.

How you decide what to record? Do you use a traditional format of a paper portfolio, keep your CPD Portfolio on your personal computer, use an E-portfolio either free or pay a monthly subscription or do you do something different? Personally, I keep everything on my computer and my CPD memory stick. I scan, using an app on my phone things like notes, certificates, feedback and any other relevant items and keep them electronically rather than collecting and keeping paper copies.

A recent report commissioned by the Department of Health (Illing et al. 2017 p5) highlights that our current system of regulation operates in parallel to our employers’ annual appraisals system and makes recommendations that the two systems be joined up and feed into each other. As Occupational Therapists we work in a wide variety of settings, many have to engage in annual appraisal/professional development reviews. I have previously spent 10 years working within social care, our annual appraisal became more and more business focused, many aspects of which did not sit well with our professional ethos. Completing the appraisal paperwork felt to me like extra work, much of which was irrelevant for my CPD whilst other aspects were a repetition of my CPD just written in a different format. I was able to develop methods of recording using TRAMmCPD to manage this both within my supervisions and my annual appraisals to ensure that I was meeting my employer’s expectations whilst keeping the extra work required to a minimum.


Finally, it is worth considering how we ensure our online safety and maintain confidentiality when using cloud based or other applications. For this #OTalk I would like to explore the following:

Questions to consider:

  1. How do you become aware of and recognise that you are engaged in learning that is relevant for your CPD which needs to be captured and recorded?
  2. What do you record?
  3. How and where do you record your learning for your CPD?
  4. How do you record the more difficult to capture, nebulous, anecdotal aspects of your CPD?
  5. Do you record the impact that your learning has had, on yourself, your service users and your organisation?
  6. Have you developed a method of linking your CPD to your Supervision and Annual Appraisals without making more work for yourself?
  7. How do you ensure your online safety and maintain service user confidentiality? If you are using an online/cloud-based service do you read the terms and conditions of use? Do you know what they do with your information?

Having reflected whilst writing this blog, it is all very well developing effective methods of recording CPD, the next important aspect is to apply all this rich and varied learning to ensure we are meeting numbers 3 and 4 of the HCPC Standards for CPD (HCPC 2017)! A possible topic for a future #OTalk?


Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) (2017) Continuing Professional Development and Your Registration. London: Health and Care Professions Council

Hearle, D., Lawson, S. & Morris, R. (2016). A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model. Keswick: M & K Publishing.

Hearle, D. & Lawson, S. (2016). Are You and Your Team Really Engaging in Continuing Professional Development (CPD)? College of Occupational Therapists 40th Annual Conference Harrogate.

Hearle, D., Lawson, S. & Morris, R. (2015). When Does Routine Work Activity Become Continuing Professional Development? College of Occupational Therapists 38th Annual Conference. Brighton.

Illing, J., Crampton, P., Rothwell, C., Corbett, S., Tiffin, P., Trepel, D. (2017) What is the Evidence for Assuring the Continuing Fitness to Practise of Health and Care Professions Council registrants, based on its Continuing Professional Development and Audit System? Newcastle: Newcastle University

Qa Research. (2015). Perceptions and Experiences of the HCPC Approach to Continuing Professional Development Standards and Audits: Report for the HCPC. York: Qa Research


Post chat

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript April 9th 2018

The Numbers

10Avg Tweets/Hour
6Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants






#OTalk Research – Tuesday 3rd April: Coproduction in Research

April’s #OTalk Research is being hosted by Claire Ballinger and Tina Coldham and supported Lynne Goodacre from the #OTalk Research team.



There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the importance of patient and public involvement in research, with evidence that such involvement makes research more accessible, meaningful and successful.

Some go further and argue that coproduction or cocreation of research must be the way forward if we are to truly focus on service users’ understandings, perspectives and priorities.  As OTs, this has a synergy with our client centred practice. However, those new to research and coproduction might be wondering how it might work, how to ‘do’ it, and perhaps whether it is even possible!

In our OTalk we hope to discuss what coproduction means, hear from people who have experience of coproduction in research about what it is like, and share some ideas about how to work successfully together.

We offer the following questions as a basis for reflection and discussion:
1. What do we understand by coproduction in health research?

2. Why might coproduction in research be useful? For whom/what?

3. Has anyone had experience of coproduction health research? What was it like.

4. What were the highlights and surprises? Was there anything that concerned you or you wish had been done differently?

5. What principles, resources or tips could we share to guide coproduction?

Post Chat

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript April 3rd 2018

The Numbers

684.609K Impressions
295 Tweets
34 Participants
236 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

Data for #OTalk can be up to 15 minutes delayed


#OTalk 27th March – Students, practice educators and the key ingredients to a successful practice placement.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “practice placements” and will be hosted by Lucy Gordon (@LucyGordon83).

Here is what Lucy had to say…

I am a final year student with four months left at Coventry University. I have been lucky enough to have three excellent experiences on each of my practice placements, in a variety of different settings. Additionally, I have seen how peer support and MDT support during a placement can make a huge difference to student experience.

It is important that qualified occupational therapists provide practice placements for students because they have a professional responsibility to provide regular practice education opportunities for occupational therapy students where possible, and to promote a learning culture within the workplace (RCOT 2015).

Therefore, I would like to host an #OTalk exploring how students and educators can create great student experiences, but also to look at what students can bring to a service. I want to understand the strategies used by students whilst on placement to help them get the most from their experience, but I also want practice educators to share what they think makes a great student and what they expect during placement.

I hope that the chat gives students, health professionals and practice educators the opportunity to share strategies, advice and knowledge, in a supportive and friendly environment.

Questions to consider:

Q1. As students, occupational therapists and practice educators, how would you define a successful practice placement?

Q2. How can students and practice educators work together to ensure student placements are successful?

Q3. What can skills and knowledge can students bring to a service whilst they are on a practical placement?

Q4. How can practice educators support students in their learning?

Q5. What tips can you share for resources you have created whilst on placement to help you develop as a student?


Royal College of Occupational Therapy (2015) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. London: College of Occupational Therapy

Post Chat

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript March 27th 2018

The Numbers

1.258M Impressions
587 Tweets
61 Participants
470 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 20th March – Occupational Therapy and working with people severe and multiple learning disabilities.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “OT and learning disability” and will be hosted by RCOT Specialist Section for people with learning disabilities (@RCOT_PLD).

The RCOT people with learning disabilities specialist section are hosting their second #otalk on 20th March 2018. Choosing a topic has not been easy as we acknowledge there is a lot we can talk about. We asked our members at the last annual conference which was hosted at RCOT HQ on 14th October 2017 what they would like to discuss. The decision was occupational therapy and STOMP campaign. We held this #otalk on 21st November 2017. You can review the discussion at www.otalk.co.uk.

Our members second choice on the role of occupational therapy for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). We would like to gain a better understanding of what occupational therapists are currently doing when working with clients with PMLD and have posed five questions which will be asked during the #OTalk:

  1. What is the role of an occupational therapist working with people with severe and multiple learning disability (PMLD)?
  2. What strategies, techniques or assessment do you use when working with client with PMLD?
  3. What are the challenges or difficulties?
  4. Do you feel you have the right skills?
  5. Is there enough evidence to support you work?

Prior to the discuss we advice you to access the Lillywhite and Haines (2009) publication ‘occupational therapy with people with learning disabilities’ which can be found on our web page on the RCOT website.

Post chat

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript March 20th 2018

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1.551M Impressions
604 Tweets
62 Participants
483 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants