#OTalk 25th September 2018 – Cultural Competence: Do we need to immerse ourselves in other cultures?

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Cultural Competence” and will be hosted by a Team from Coventry University (Via @TanyaRihtman).

Here is what they had to say…

Occupational therapists are increasingly practicing in a multi-cultural context, resulting in a need to ensure cultural competence capabilities. Students are exposed to various opportunities for developing cultural competence, from exposure to a range of different cultures in the classroom to opportunities for travel to different countries.

A group of 10 Coventry University undergraduate occupational therapy students about to commence their second year will be visiting South Africa in September 2018 on an immersive occupational therapy fieldtrip. The learning outcomes for the trip are to:

  • Understand the nature and context of occupational therapy services in the South African context
  • Understand the impact of the diverse cultural contexts of South Africa on consideration of ‘environment’ as a key component of occupational therapy practice
  • Explore the nature the challenges and opportunities faced by occupational therapists in South Africa
  • Reflect on the differences between influences informing occupational therapy services in South Africa and those in the UK
  • Develop a critical understanding of learning needs and career options to explore career development

Engagement in this experience has raised questions about how we understand cultural competence, and whether we need to immerse ourselves in other cultures to become culturally competent occupational therapists.

Some questions to consider:

  1. How do we ‘immerse’ ourselves in another culture? Does this necessarily require travel? If not, how might we encourage engagement with cultural competence without travel?
  2. As occupational therapists, we are closely familiar with the impact of varied verbal and non-verbal communication styles. How might the opportunity to travel to different cultures expand our understanding of the impacts of these nuances in communication?
  3. How has first-hand experience of travel informed your clinical occupational therapy practice in general, and specifically in relation to your cultural competence?
  4. How might occupational therapy students and practitioners overcome their anxieties about travelling to other cultures with the express purpose of viewing different cultural lived experience from an occupational therapy lens?

#OTalk 18th September 2018 – Recognition of OT

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Recognition of OT” and will be hosted by Jen Gash (@OTcoachUK).This chat is one in a series of chats being hosted in collaboration with the OT Show (@TheOTshow).

Here is what Jen has to say…

Ever since I became an occupational therapist around 25 years ago, there has been a constant narrative regarding the lack of recognition of the profession as a whole. Generally, I agree. Forgetting for now the poorly understood name of our profession, we are a small profession compared to other health care professions, rarely mentioned in the press (although this has definitely improved in the last couple of years) but there continues to be poor public awareness about what we do, a lack of acknowledgement regarding the importance of people’s occupational needs and a lack of occupational therapists in positions of leadership and influence.

People kinda just know what a nurse, physio, social worker or doctor is, don’t they and it’s so frustrating.

However, I believe that at this time more than ever before, occupational therapy needs to be recognised in numerous ways:

  • Recognition of what human occupation truly is, how central it is to human wellbeing and also to that of wider communities/societies – health is not merely achieved through a medical approach
  • Recognition that many of societies current difficulties could be alleviated through a grounded occupational approach
  • Recognition of the staggering work that occupational therapists continue to do to support health, social and education systems and that our impact as a profession could be magnified through more consultation opportunities and funding support.
  • Recognition of the trail blazers in our profession and the new frontiers they are exploring

This OTalk will explore the following questions in relation to “recognition” in occupational therapy:

  • What makes us (occupational therapists) feel we lack recognition at work and in broader society?
  • What sort of recognition would society value and make a real difference to our profession?
  • What examples do you all have, that demonstrate that OT is being recognised?
  • What other ways outside of the usual, might give occupational therapy the recognition it needs?

If you want to get some recognition for you, your staff or service, don’t forget to nominate people for this years OT Show Awards! Details here : https://www.theotshow.com/awards

#OTalk 11th September 2018 – TRAMm Model Updates

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “TRAMm Model updates” following on from their research and will be hosted by Sarah Lawson (@SLawsonOT).

Here is what Sarah had to say…

Hi, I am Sarah, I am an Occupational Therapist, MPhil/PhD student, volunteer member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) North West Regional Committee and Conference Development Team and along with @HearleD we develop TRAMmCPD.

TRAMmCPD is the TRAMm (Tell, Record, Apply, Monitor and measure) Model and its tools the TRAMm Tracker and TRAMm Trail, which collectively are known as TRAMmCPD.  Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a personal and subjective journey, as well as our professional responsibility and a mandatory requirement of our registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In order to be effective we need to Tellothers, Recordand Applywhat we have learnt through our CPD activities, Monitorour progress and measurethe impact (Hearle et al 2016). We have previously hosted a variety of #OTalk’s where we have explored elements of CPD and TRAMmCPD, in our experience people are usually doing more CPD than they recognise or record. For this #OTalk we would like to briefly introduce the updates to the TRAMm Model which are based on our research. I presented these initial findings from my doctoral research at the RCOT Annual Conference 2018(p38 Session S53.1) Whilst this #OTalk is to introduce the updates to TRAMmCPD the elements of the TRAMm Model are relevant to all students and practitioners who need to engage in CPD.

I can only provide a brief overview of TRAMmCPD here, there is more information and free downloads available from our website www.TRAMmCPD.comIf you are a member of RCOT our book is available to view free via their website.

TRAMm Station T – Tell.

Along with our earlier research into CPD Engagement(Hearle & Lawson 2016), TRAMm station Tell includes the importance of sharing CPD plans and learning with others. The updated Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) document Continuing Professional Development and Your Registration(HCPC 2017) now includes the importance of learning with others as a means of encouraging self-reflection. There may be more benefits of learning with others for our CPD, including:

  • raising awareness of when we are learning
  • encouraging engagement in learning
  • the application of learning in practice

The importance of Learning Communities will now be explicitly included within TRAMm Station Tell

TRAMm Station A– Apply

This station was previously ‘Activity’ and has now been updated to Applyto reflect the importance of Applyingour learning from our CPD activities. For the HCPC (2017) any activity from which we learn and develop can be considered as part of our CPD as long as we can demonstrate that we engage in a mixture of activities (HCPC CPD Standard 2) and apply our learning to benefit our practice (HCPC CPD Standard 3), our service users (HCPC CPD Standard 4) and the organisations for which we work. An interesting finding within the literature has been that managers and organisations may find it difficult to support CPD activities when they do not explicitly see the value they or their stakeholders gain from it, hence the importance of not onlyMonitoringand measuringthe impact of our CPD on our practice, our service users but also the service/organisations for which we work. Whilst within TRAMmCPD it has always been implicit that the application of our learning from activities is important, following our research we have decided to make it more explicit within the TRAMm Model hence the update of TRAMm Station A – to Apply.

Save the date: we have an #OTalk scheduled for 23 October 2018 to explore in more depth the application of learning in practice for our CPD.

TRAMm Station M – Monitor

Some recent research recommends that CPD should be linked to our annual appraisal process, for which there are positive and negative aspects. Some organisations/managers already include the need to engage in CPD within annual appraisals with progress towards identified learning needs regularly Monitored throughout the year, linked to personal outcomes, with engagement and impact on the individual, service users and/or the service/organisation measured.Having reviewed our work with TRAMmCPD we have revisited the importance and potential of the annual appraisal process. Whilst we have included using the annual appraisal process as a form of recording achievements, highlighting learning needs and CPD, in future this will be included has a potential means of Monitoringand measuringprogress.

Questions to explore:

  1. How would you define your learning communities? Are they face to face or virtual?
  2. If you are the only Occupational Therapist in your team how do you ensure that you are not professionally isolated and keep up to date with your CPD?
  3. How important do you consider your learning communities to be for your CPD? What do you gain personally and/or collectively from your learning communities?
  4. What tips would you give for people finding and/or setting up learning communities?
  5. Do you actively consider how you are applying learning from CPD activities in practice?
  6. Do you link your CPD to your annual appraisals? Do you revisit this tomonitoryour progress regularly throughout the year or only at the next annual appraisal?
  7. What do you think the positives and/or negatives might be of linking CPD to annual appraisal process?


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

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

Hearle, D., and Lawson, S. (2016). Are you and your team Really Engaging in Continuing Professional Development? College of Occupational Therapists 40th Annual Conference and Exhibition. Harrogate.

Post Chat

Chat Host: Sarah Lawson (@SLawsonOT).

Support on the Otalk Account: @kirstieot

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript September 11th 2018

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1.386M Impressions
326 Tweets
37 Participants
261 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 4th September 2018 – Creating a vibrant occupational therapy research community – the way forward?

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Creating a vibrant occupational therapy research community” and will be hosted by The Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Gillian Ward (@TheRCOT and @DrGillianWard).

This is the second chat hosted by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.  The aim is to feed into the Research and Development Review being undertaken to create a new RCOT vision, strategy and action plan for research and development that is fit to guide the profession’s progress and direction of travel over the next 10 years.

The Review was launched in June 2017 and over the last year there has been a series of listening events and consultations across the country, including all 4 nations, with a wide variety of occupational therapists including; clinical staff, academics, researchers, service managers, consultant occupational therapists, post-graduate research students, specialist section R&D leads and RCOT staff.

RCOThave heard a lot about barriers and obstacles to engaging in and with research and are keen to turn this around to focus on what is working for folk; what are the small (or large) changes that have gained traction and moved things beyond ‘problem’ towards ‘solution’. One of the key themes emerging from the R&D Review and a discussion point with several contributors was a real need to invest in building the occupational therapy research community and network, with the Royal College taking a strong lead in doing this for the profession. Currently, there is no opportunity for occupational therapy researchers to come together to develop a community of practice to share their passion for research and learn how to do it better.

This is where we need your help, and that’s what we’d like to chat with you about during tonight’s #OTalk.  The questions forming the basis of our discussion are:

  1. What are the important ingredients in creating and sustaining a vibrant research culture?
  2. What networks and collaborations are important to cultivate to underpin and facilitate a culture of research?
  3. Thinking on a national level, what would a vibrant research community look like and feel like to be part of?
  4. How can RCOT help to build the occupational therapy research community and network (making no promisesJ)?
  5. What are the most effective ways to capture and evaluate the impact of an emerging research community?

We are really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas, which will be a very welcome contribution to the development of the R&D Strategy. If you get a chance ahead of the #OTalk session, it would be really helpful if you could give some thought to the ingredients that create a good environment to support occupational therapists’ engagement in and with research and how we could develop the occupational therapy research community.

We’d really love to hear all of the creative ideas that you can come up with as we move into the development phase of the RCOT R&D Strategy.


Chat host:  The Royal College of Occupational Therapists and Gillian Ward (@TheRCOT and @DrGillianWard).

On the @OTalk Account:

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript September 4th 2018

The Numbers

1.395M Impressions
450 Tweets
34 Participants
360 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 28th August 2018 – Occupational Therapy and the Creative Arts

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “the creative arts within OT” and will be hosted by Corinna Keaney (@CKeaneyOTservices, Marie Baistow (@MrsBaistow) and Orla Hughes (@OrlaTheOT).

Here is what they had to say…

Corinna, Marie, and Orla are hosting this week’s OTalk exploring how the creative arts are used in occupational therapy practice. They have personal and professional experience of seeing how occupations such as music, art, drama, dance, creative writing (the list goes on) can boost people’s physical and mental well-being. As a result, this OTalk would aim to discuss and evaluate how creative arts are currently being used in occupational therapy practice. We hope you can join the discussion and share your experiences.

Questions that will be discussed:

  1. What’s your favourite work of art? It can be a song, a painting, a dance, a film, etc… Please share it in the comments and tell us why it’s your favourite.
  2. What are the benefits of the creative arts as a therapeutic tool?
  3. What are your experiences of using the creative arts in occupational therapy practice?
  4. What are the challenges of using creative arts in practice?
  5. Do you feel occupational therapy and the creative arts is evidence based practice? Link any interesting research you’ve read around the topic.

Post Chat

Chat hosted by Corinna Keaney (@CKeaneyOTservices, Marie Baistow (@MrsBaistow) and Orla Hughes (@OrlaTheOT).

On the @otalk_ account @OT_rach

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript August 28th 2018

The Numbers

621.434K Impressions
255 Tweets
37 Participants
204 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 21st August 2018 – Influencing Equipment Provision, It’s within our gift.

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Equipment Provision” and will be hosted by Adam Ferry (@AdamFerry3). This chat is one in a series of chats being hosted in collaboration with the OT Show (@TheOTshow).

Here is what Adam had to say…

The experience of equipment exhibitions for many Occupational Therapists working within the public sector (NHS/Local Authority) is likely to have been similar to my own.  The relatively undirected amblings of someone looking longingly at equipment they know will never be available to them.

That was certainly my experience some years ago until I dipped my toe into the private sector.  From that point exhibitions became a lot more interesting as I understood that my awareness and understanding of the market played a critical role in ensuring recommendations within that sector were current, accurate and exhaustive.

For this reason I can understand, based on my experiences, why manufactures/providers of healthcare products often appear to focus more on the private market and indeed why whilst making my way through exhibitions I hear Occupational Therapists saying to the exhibitor “sorry, I work in the NHS”.

However, working in both statutory and private services concurrently has afforded me opportunity to both expand my product knowledge and influence decision makers within the former.

At The OT Show 2017 I was shown a moving & handling product, a non-mechanised standing aid, very similar to a popular but more expensive model often used by my Occupational Therapy team.  The product we had been requisitioning in increasingly high numbers needed to be approved by a weekly clinical panel based on clinical reasoning and availability of reconditioned alternatives but was reducing significantly the need for mechanical standing hoists which were currently a standard stock item.  The approval process and subsequent ordering meant that clients were often waiting for 2-3 weeks for this piece of equipment with hospital discharges managed with alternatives that were not ideal.

On discussion with the exhibitor some recommendations were made for minor alterations to the product that would make it more flexible within the home environments we work in.  We discussed costs per unit and availability of stock.  Based on reduction of mechanical stand-aid provision and the lower cost of this new product I felt able to build a business case that suggested its inclusion as a standard stock item off-set by making the mechanical device a ‘special’ requiring panel approval.

This business case was approved, the equipment trialed and has now been ordered in bulk as a standard equipment store item.

My personal experience demonstrates how Occupational Therapists use of an exhibition is not dependent on which sector you work in but more about mind-set.  Wherever we work we are the expert in our clients and their needs.  Equipment providers need us to tell them what we need, so be brave and take control.

Exhibitors also need to take ownership; engage Occupational Therapists from every sector.  I may have ordered 1-12 of these products a year in my private sector role but have just influenced the order of more than 30.

Tell exhibitors what we need so that they can go and find or design it; that makes an exhibition a true collaboration of expertise.

So lets start a revolution and have the equipment our clients need on the approved list, not what is cheapest or what a non-clinical manager tells us we need.

Chat Objectives:

  • Participants will reflect on their potential impact on commissioning of equipment.
  • Acknowledge skills and demand for specialist knowledge within manufacturing & design.
  • Reflect on our use of exhibitions as a ‘2 way street’.
  • Develop an understanding of how we can influence change, both in design and procurement.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What do you want to get out of an OT conference exhibition?
  2. Is there a difference in mind set between private & statutory sector OTs within an exhibition?
  3. Have you had any experiences of influencing change to equipment procurement?
  4. What do you think that exhibitors want from us?
  5. Describe your perfect conference exhibition. How would it be different?

Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting news coming soon from The OTalk Team & The OT Show!

Post Chat

Chat host @AdamFerry3

On the #OTalk account @helenotuk

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript August 21st 2018

The Numbers

293.969K Impressions
148 Tweets
15 Participants
118 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 14th August 2018 – Meaningful Occupation in Dementia.

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Meaningful Occupation in Dementia” and will be hosted by Mary Mulry (@murlymary).

Here is what Mary had to say…

Dementia is a syndrome characterised by deterioration in memory and cognitive functions. Dementia is progressive in nature with the focus of treatment being to delay further memory/cognitive decline and enhance the older adult’s quality of life. There are many therapies well researched in this area e.g. cognitive stimulation therapy (Spector et al, 2013), sonas apc (Connors, 2000), doll therapy, reminiscence therapy, errorless learning etc. However, despite all of this research, older adults with dementia are engaging in activities with little meaning to them and these activities are not reflecting their life experiences. The aim of this OTalk is to explore this area of meaningful occupation with the dementia population in more detail.

The following are the main aims to consider during the OTalk:

  • Define occupation and identify what is meaningful occupation.
  • Understanding the significance of meaningful occupation with the older adult with dementia.
  • Understanding the importance of gathering information about the older adult with dementia in order to empower them to engage in meaningful occupation.
  • Identify the barriers and facilitators in Occupational Therapists carrying out occupation-focused therapy.
  • Explore risk management in relation to enablement


Hosting the chat @MulryMary.

On the #Otalk account @kirstieot

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript August 14th 2018

The Numbers

1.294M Impressions
350 Tweets
51 Participants
14 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants