#OTalk 21st Jan 2020 – What is Professional Identity?

This week Fiona Page @FionaPageOT is hosting this is what she had to say

I am Interested in facilitating a conversation about what Professional Identity is and what it means to us as Occupational Therapists. We work in such a wide range of settings; with a wide range individuals and groups. We cover a wide range of conditions and situations within our practice.        As individuals and within the wider profession what does it mean to be an Occupational Therapist. 

Has our individual professional identity changed since we qualified and started within this profession? Where and how will our professional identity develop in the future?

This OT Talk coincides with a time when final year Occupational Therapy students are starting to think about making their next steps. So this is a valuable topic to reflect on as an experienced professional, but also important for those more recently or soon to be qualified, as our professional identity will change and evolve with them.

The questions for consideration are:

1 What does professional identity mean to you?  What internal and external influences are there for this?

2 How has this identity changed since you qualified or started training? 

3 How does our professional identity need to develop in the future? What will the opportunities and challenges be?

4 What wider skills do we need to develop as part of our Professional Identity?

Fiona Page, Senior Lecturer

University of Derby

#OTalk Tuesday 14th Jan 2020 – OT and Electronic Assistive Technology for People with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

This week Amy Wright  @OT_South is hosting here is what she had to say

For people with significant cognitive disabilities there is a potential lack of opportunity to trial and to develop electronic assistive technology (EAT) use to enhance participation.  People might use a single switch to operate lighting, telly, music, their favourite toy or a bubble machine at their friends birthday party! 

Evidence is weak, service provision is inconsistent.  In 2010, Professor Jim Mansell produced his ‘Raising our Sights’ report which highlights the importance of assistive technology (AT), the need for appropriate funding and research.  Assistive Technology also features in the PMLD link ‘Core and Essential Service Standards for Supporting People with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities’.   

The WFOT have a position statement on OT and AT, stating that ‘assistive technology provision is a core competency within OT practice’.  https://www.wfot.org/resources/occupational-therapy-and-assistive-technology.  However, not all OTs have knowledge of EAT or where to go for help and guidance in assessment and provision, to enhance occupational performance and improve quality of life for individuals.  And where do the equipment and resources come from?

Last month I helped to run a study day led by @zoeclarke77 and https://communicationmatters.org.uk/.  OTs attended alongside other professionals, technology suppliers and parents.  Presentations were given to share practice and workshop style consultations took place.   Discussions concluded that more needs to be done to improve services for people with cognitive disabilities, to allow them to use EAT for increased autonomy and reduce the level of assistance required to participate.  Professionals need to promote equitable access to EAT, to enable participation and well-being of a persons with disabilities. One suggestion was to get talking on twitter and so here I am leading this week’s chat!

Chat Questions:

  1. What is current practice in your area? How are people identified as needing EAT (electronics assistive tech such as a single switch to turn on TV)?
  2. What needs to happen next to enable OTs to develop flexible and locally specific strategies to increase access to high quality, affordable assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities?
  3. What barriers and supports are there using EAT for people with cognitive disabilities to enhance occupational performance and reduce their level of dependence on others? 
  4. What examples do you have where EAT has enhanced participation for an individual or group?

Post chat updates:

Online transcript from HealthCare#

PDF of trancript #OTalk Transcript 14 Jan 2020

The Numbers

944.212K  Impressions
335  Tweets
61  Participants

#OTalk Participants



#OTalk Research 7th January – join us for a reflection.

As we move into a New Year and a new decade the #OTalkResearch team have been doing some reflection and we wanted to use the first #OTalk Research of 2020 to engage, as a community, in celebrating what we have achieved over the last 12 months and thinking about our research intentions for 2020.

It is all too easy to think about the things we haven’t done and forget to take time to celebrate the things we have achieved. It may be presenting your research for the first time, starting or completing a dissertation, learning a new method, finishing analysing your data or getting your first publication. We’d love you, for a moment to step into this space and to take a moment to share the journeys you have travelled.

But this #OTalk isn’t just about looking back it’s also about looking forward. There is something compelling about setting down our intentions in public, finding the courage to make a commitment to moving forward, to stand in that space of saying publicly, ‘this is what I am going to do in 2020.’

When we started #OTalk Research three years ago it was with the intention of increasing the profile of research within the #OTalk community. After 3 years we are wondering whether we have now reached a stage now where we no longer need a regular monthly research focused spot. We want to spend the last part of this talk to explore this question together.

The questions we will be exploring are:

Q1. What are you celebrating about your engagement with research in 2019?

Q2. What are your research intentions for 2020.

Q3. What do you need to put in place to make sure you achieve them?

Q4 What have you gained from engaging in the research specific OTalk Researches?

Q5 How can OTalk continue to contribute to your CPD in relation to research

Q6. Is it time for research to become the same as any OTalktopic or does it still need its own dedicated spot?

We are looking forward to starting 2020 with you.

@lynnegoodacre, @preston_jenny, @NikkiDanielsOT and @hooper_ek.

Post Chat Updates

Click here for the online transcript from HealthCare#

PDF of the transcript #OTalk 7th January 2020

The Numbers

1.317M Impressions
327 Tweets
63 Participants

#OTalk Participants






@lynnegoodacre, @preston_jenny, @NikkiDanielsOT, @hooper_ek.

#OTalk 17th Dec 2019 – Why Do Men Become Occupational Therapists? 

our last OTalk of 2019 is being hosted by Marcus Dean @MarcusD88167580 here is what he had to say,  

This OTalk is about men as occupational therapists as well as the impact of gender on occupational therapy and the occupational therapy workforce. Although I am the only male OT student within my cohort, I believe there should be no reason why there isn’t more of an equal gender representation based on population in the profession. I am keen to attract more men to consider OT as a viable career option. 

Discussions by prominent OT and AHP authors suggest that it is important to consider the effect of gender imbalance within the AHP professions on opportunities for client choice (Brown 1991 and Bohn et al. 2019), reduced availability of positive role models for clients (Ortiz 2018, Brown 1991 and Redman 1992) and for OT what could be seen as a waste of talent for a career that has major recruitment issues in some parts of the UK (RCOT 2017). 

There are currently 3,155 male OTs in the UK, which equates to 7.9% of the total number of OT professionals (HCPC 2019). Whilst there are over a thousand more male OTs practicing than in 2005 (HCPC 2017), this is representative of a growing field rather than a growth in the number of men moving into the profession as the overall percentage of male OT’s in 2019 (7.9% HCPC 2019) shows no real change since 2005 (8.1% HCPC 2017). However, underrepresentation of men as occupational therapists must not be seen as a power dynamic issue as men are relatively overrepresented in OT management positions in comparison to the proportion of men in the general OT workforce (Beagan and Fredericks 2018 and Bohn et al. 2019). 

This talk forms part of a sounding board prior to the commencement of an MSc dissertation entitled “Why do Men Become OTs?” This research aims via a survey to explore the reasoning behind why those men who chose OT have made this decision and to explore if there is a shared set of characteristics present that may have led these men to become occupational therapists. My main goal is to uncover insights from male OT’s that may be used to promote the profession to other men. Whilst I will not use any comments discussed here directly in my research, I am quite keen to be influenced by OT’s perceptions into the impact of gender representation in the OT workforce.  

With this in mind please consider the following question:

  1. Why do you think that there are a significantly lower number of male occupational therapists in comparison to the number of female occupational therapists?
  1. Considering the small amount of men who are occupational therapist why do you think that some men become OT’s?
  1. Do you think that there are certain employment areas of occupational therapy that are more or less accessible to work in based on an OT’s gender?
  1. What do you think are the implications of a predominantly female OT workforce?
  1. What should be done, if anything, to try and encourage more men to become occupational therapists?

Post chat update

Online transcript from HealthCareHashTags

PDF of transcript #OTalk 17th December 2019

The Numbers

2.223M Impressions
516 Tweets
88 Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 10th Dec 2019 The importance of evidence-based practice in OT

This week #OTalk will be hosted by Susan Griffiths – @SusanGriffiths5  here is what she had to say;

The use of evidence-based practice has become increasingly important in occupational therapy practice.  As occupational therapists we all want to provide occupation-based interventions for our clients that actually work. However, in reality this is challenging especially in the UK where the NHS services are underfunded and yet we are still expected to deliver evidence-based interventions on limited resources.

This has got me wondering what interventions is everyone using in practice. I know in my workplace, the OTs are using a mixture of OT interventions but not all of them are supported by research evidence (at least not yet).

In a society where we are under pressure to provide evidence based interventions on increasingly limited resources, why do we as OTs still persists in using interventions that have limited evidence? So, with this in mind, I would like to invite you all join me in a discussion where the following questions will be asked:

  1. What evidence-based interventions are you currently using in practice?
  2. What are or have been the challenges or barriers to providing evidence-based interventions?
  3. What interventions are you using that you know has limited or emerging evidence and why?
  4. Should we only be using evidence-based interventions?
  5. What can we do to increase the evidence for occupation-based interventions in our daily practice?

Post Chat Updates:

The Numbers

1.683M Impressions
402 Tweets
69 Participants

Online transcript from HealthCare HashTags Project.

PDF of the transcript: #OTalk 10 Dec 2019

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk Research 3rd Dec 2019 – Inclusive research for people who lack capacity to consent

This month’s #OTalk Research will be hosted by Dr Naomi Gallant (@naomi_gallant) on the important topic of how we can include people who lack capacity to provide informed consent in our research. Here’s what Naomi has to say:


The Mental Capacity Act (2005) stipulates that in order for a person to be deemed to have the mental capacity to make a decision they must be able to:
understand the decision they are making and the information relevant to it
retain the information relevant to the decision
weigh up or use the information to inform the decision making
– and be able to communicate their decision (by any means)



One of the most important principles of the assessing mental capacity is that each assessment is decision and time specific. Somebody may have the capacity to understand, retain, weigh up and communicate what they would like to eat or drink in a set moment but may not be able to use the same thought processes to make the decision about a discharge plan home from hospital. The ability to make any decision can also fluctuate.

Understanding and retaining the information needed to make an informed decision to participate in research can be a complicated one! As a group, people who lack capacity to consent to participate in research are often excluded. As clinicians we may be familiar with the MCA principles and feel confident performing mental capacity assessments. Researchers on the other hand, may not all have the clinical experience and so assessing capacity becomes a cumbersome part of recruiting participants for research. Consequently, there is a huge gap of important people’s voices in important research projects.

I’d like to explore the following questions in the Twitter Chat:

1) Which groups of people may be excluded from research due to lack of capacity?
2) What are people’s experiences of including people who lack capacity to consent in research and what barriers did you experience?
3) How can we overcome the barriers to including people in our research who lack capacity to consent, particularly when inviting them to participate?
4) What research methods can be more inclusive for people who lack capacity to consent to participation?
5) What can we offer as researchers who are Occupational Therapists to include more people who lack capacity to consent?

Post Chat Updates:

The Numbers

747.494K Impressions
241 Tweets
49 Participants

Online transcript Health care Hashtags #OTalk 3rd December 2019

PDF of transcript: #OTalk 3 Dec 2019

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 26th Nov 2019 – Driving After a Stroke

The RCOT Specialist Section Neurological Practice (SSNP) Stroke Forum welcomes you to the #OTalk on driving after stroke and invites you to participate in a tweet chat on driving following stroke. The chat will include the meaning of driving to us, the assessment of driving ability, methods of rehabilitation, and adjusting to life without returning to drive.

Driving is an occupation that, to many of us, represents a means of independence. This can include the independence to travel to work, to visit our family and friends, to support our everyday lives such as travelling to the supermarket, and to undertake our leisure activities. Much of our domestic and social lives are supported by us being able to drive and losing this ability would be highly likely to significantly impact on our lives.

In the UK, following a stroke, people are not permitted to drive for at least one month. After this time, people must not drive if there are enduring physical and cognitive limitations. Doctors may give the go-ahead for returning to driving if they consider that the person’s abilities are adequate. When there is uncertainty around a person’s abilities, a referral may be made to a driving assessment service where the person will be tested with a combination of physical and cognitive assessments and an on-road test.

As stroke is a condition where varying degrees of recovery is possible, rehabilitation may be a means to improve a person’s ability to increase the chance of returning to drive. Rehabilitation to improve independence in most occupations usually includes the practice of that occupation, but this is not possible with driving as people cannot legally drive before being assessed as competent. Thus, occupational therapy must depend on indirect methods of assessment and rehabilitation towards an outcome that is not guaranteed of returning to drive.

Please consider the following questions:

  1. What does the occupation of driving mean to you?
  2. How do you determine whether somebody can resume driving following the first month after stroke or whether testing at an official assessment service is required?
  3. How do you rehabilitate a person’s driving?
  4. How can occupational therapy help those who do not return to driving?

We hope the conversation resulting from the above questions will help us to understand different perspectives on driving after stroke and to discover methods which occupational therapists use to assess driving ability, to provide rehabilitation and to work towards developing alternatives to driving.