Alexandra Thompson from West London Mental Health Trust shared her thoughts on the pros and cons of preceptorship. She gave a balanced view of some of the challenges that a preceptorship can bring, and the specific factors that she feels made her preceptorship a positive one.
Alexandra’s evaluation of her preceptorship experience listed some positives as regular meetings led by an experienced therapist, the opportunity to share things she was doing in practice that she was proud of, prompts to think critically about core OT skills and a structured way to start building a CPD portfolio. The challenges were around finding time to work on the preceptorship portfolio and that programmes can be very nurse led and lacking those opportunities to address core OT issues.
Working for a trust who have recently moved away from an OT preceptorship in favour of a multidisciplinary band 5 development programme and having never experienced the other side of this, Alexandra’s Brag & Steal offered some insight in to why an organisation might instead move towards a discipline specific preceptorship programme. Alexandra encouraged delegates to speak to their seniors about implementing this kind of programme in their workplace, with parting thoughts around it being a great initiative to encourage service development, and a medium that helps newly qualified staff to increase their confidence in practice early on in their careers.
Paper: Occupational Therapists’ research engagement: enablers and challenges
I was excited to see fellow BlogSquader Laura di Bona present her research experiences and once I had grasped the idea of a Randomised Control Trial being like a big Ferris wheel with lots of different components that you can’t just set up at once I understood what we were talking about; a specific phase of a larger piece of research during which Laura and her colleagues were developing an intervention around Community OT in dementia requiring the therapist participants to act in a dual role of clinician but within a research initiative, and the challenges that this brought for individuals.
The four main challenges for the participating occupational therapists were around learning the intervention, recruiting participants, fidelity and paperwork but what I really took away from this session were the enablers. Positive attitudes was the first, with Laura and her colleagues finding that a belief that it would happen and that research has true value being a big enabler in terms of therapist engagement in the research. Next came peer support on both a practical and emotional level, as well as management support. Laura outlined the importance of experienced management supporting therapists engaging in the research by providing links to research departments, funding to backfill protected time for research engagement and promoting the value of research within their teams. Finally came protected time, for which engagement in research needed to be considered a priority on a systems level.
Laura ended her portion of the session by saying that for occupational therapists to drive forward the research agenda being promoted at the conference there needs to be a change in research culture to increase practitioner engagement. Just as we would personalise an intervention for a client, we need to be personalising research for therapist participants and their contexts – keeping the design relevant and practicable, ensuring support structures are in place and avoiding the ‘research bubble’ that if anything is a hindrance to creating a culture of active engagement in evidence based practice.
Written by Ayla Greenwood, @AylaOT