#OTalk Research 1st November 2016

Research Training Opportunities for Occupational Therapists with NIHR and HEE

Research is essential to the NHS and is even recognised as part of the NHS constitution. There’s increasing evidence that NHS trusts which are really engaged in research actually deliver better outcomes for patients. For the NHS staff directly involved in research; the option of pursuing a clinical academic career is seen as both really rewarding and highly stimulating.

If you are an Occupational Therapist interested in getting into research or you think that a clinical academic career might be for you; the NIHR and HEE have several opportunities to get you started or build on your existing research career. The HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic programme allows healthcare professionals to develop their research career alongside their clinical career. Options range from internships for those brand new to research to senior clinical lectureships for established clinical academics looking to become leaders in their field. The NIHR Fellowship Programme provides similar options ranging from PhD-level fellowships for people looking to start a research career, to Senior Research Fellowships for researchers who are already independent.

Whichever level or programme you are interested in applying for, NIHR and HEE are looking to fund the brightest and best individuals interested in pursuing a career in applied health. Starting out on a clinical academic career can seem a daunting prospect at first but one which can be really rewarding. As a clinician you have the opportunity to help hundreds of patients but as an academic clinician you have the opportunity to help thousands.

Pete Thompson (@peteianthompson) and Nicola Melody (@NixMelody) from the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre (@NIHR_Trainees) are joining us for an #OTalk on Tuesday 1 st November at 8pm. They’ll be answering questions like the ones below about starting or progressing a clinical academic career and giving you the chance to ask questions and hear about opportunities. Join us

for what we hope will be a really exciting #OTalk

1. I have no research experience but I’m really interested; where should I start?

2. I have a PhD and really want to continue my research career; what opportunities are there?

3. I really want to continue working as an OT while developing my research career; how can I do this?

4. I want to apply to one of the programmes; is there any help I can get to put my application together?

5. How does OT research fit with the remit for the NIHR?

Nikki Daniels (@NikkiDanielsOT ) from the #OTalk Research Team will be support the chat.

Here are some of the links that NIHR referred to during  the chat:

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers
1,364,136 Impressions
567 Tweets
101 Participants
12 Avg Tweets/Hour
6 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants



25th Oct 2016 – Impact of poor motor skills development on other areas of functioning.

This week’s #OTalk (25th October, 2016) will be hosted by members of Goldsmiths Action Lab, using the @GoldActionLab Twitter account.

Motor skills support every aspect of our daily life and, in early childhood, enable some of the first opportunities for a child to learn about their environment and to interact with others. Motor difficulties are characteristic of certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy. But they are also common in children that fall under the umbrella of ‘neurodevelopmental disorder’. A particular focus of our research interests is children with a diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (DCD), which is often referred to as ‘dyspraxia’ in the UK. However, children with dyslexia or a language impairment, as well as those with an autism spectrum disorder, may also be differentially affected.

DCD is diagnosed on the basis of motor coordination difficulties and is thought to affect around 5-6%, which means that at least 1 child in a typical school classroom of 30 children would meet the criteria for DCD. Children with DCD are often referred for occupational therapy to help support motor skills training and increase functional outcomes. Certainly, difficulties with motor skill (including speed/accuracy of movements) and sequencing of motor actions will have repercussions on daily living skills (e.g., using cutlery, dressing) and in the classroom (e.g., handwriting). But, we believe, it is also important to be aware of how motor ability impacts on other aspects of development.

One strand of our research at the Goldsmiths Action Lab (http://www.goldactionlab.co.uk/) concerns how poor motor skill relates to social behaviour (for example, see Sumner, Leonard, & Hill, 2016). We find that children with motor difficulties also experience problems with developing peer relations. During this #OTalk we are keen to hear about the thoughts and experiences of practising and training OTs in relation to supporting and developing motor, and related, skills. We hope to stimulate conversations about how to support motor difficulties and what can be done to raise awareness of the impact of motor difficulties. The following questions are some points for discussion to get us started:

  1. Should we consider motor skill to be an important development skill? Why?
  2. What are your experiences of supporting children and/or adults with motor difficulties?
  3. How do you approach motor skills training: one approach fits all, or person-centered? Do you use a particular model?
  4. Have you observed how motor skill/difficulties impact on other aspects of development/functioning? In what way?
  5. How can we encourage teachers/parents to identify and support motor difficulties and their impact?


Note. Abbreviations for our Twitter talk: DCD = Developmental Coordination Disorder; ASD = autism spectrum disorder, although can be shortened to ‘autism’ to save characters!

Post Chat 

The Numbers
1,660,256 Impressions
672 Tweets
91 Participants
28 Avg Tweets/Hour
7 Avg Tweets/Participant

Online Transcript

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 18th October 2016 – (OT Show) Clinical assessments for pressure relieving cushions

This week’s #OTalk is being hosted by Joanne McConnell (@JoMcEarlgrey). This chat is part of a series of chats supported by The OT Show (@TheOTShow) in the run up to this years show on 23rd & 24th November.


 ‘Clinical assessments for pressure relieving cushions’.


At this year’s Occupational Therapy Show, Posture & Mobility Group (PMG) and the National Wheelchair Managers’ Forum (NWMF) will be providing Posture & Wheelchair Essentials training sessions. The sessions aim at providing advice on posture and wheelchair assessments, including basic wheelchair assessments for therapists referring to wheelchair services and the wheelchair solutions available for clients. They will also look at special seating assessments, which can be applied to wheelchairs or static seating solutions, depending on the needs of the client.


Another session taking place as part of Posture & Wheelchair Essentials, is being presented by Joanne McConnell and will look at assessing clients for pressure relieving cushions. Joanne’s session will discuss the statistics of incidences of pressure ulcers and their main causes. It will also provide a revision of the classification of pressure ulcers, advice on how to minimise the risk and an up-to-date choice of different materials for pressure cushions, including the pros and cons of each option.


Prior to the The OT Show, Joanne will be hosting #OTalk on Tuesday 18th October to discuss pressure relieving cushion assessments, and will focus on the following questions:


  1.      How can therapists be sure they offer good advice on the best type of pressure relieving cushion for their client?
  2. If a client has a pressure relieving cushion on their wheelchair, do they need a pressure relieving mattress on their bed too?
  3. If a client has purchased a cushion privately, but they feel it is not right for them, will the NHS offer them an assessment?
  4. Many clients with a history of higher graded pressure ulcers require an air cushion, but what can be offered if this is too unstable?
  5. How often should a client get their pressure relieving cushion reviewed and who is qualified to do this review and offer advice?”


Post Chat 

Online Transcript

The Numbers
1,547,065 Impressions
448 Tweets
35 Participants
19 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 11/10/16 – Strategic Professional Development.

This week Stephanie Lancaster @TheOutloudOT will be hosting a blog on strategic professional development. She has already written a blog post on the topic here.


Post Chat Transcript

Online Transcript

The Numbers
1,870,468 Impressions
642 Tweets
57 Participants
514 Avg Tweets/Hour
11 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants