#OTalk 26th September 2017 – Recognition and OT.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “Recognition and OT” and will be hosted by Jen Gash (@OTcoachUK) as part of the OT Show Team.

Here is what Jen had to say…

2017 has been a great year for occupational therapy in the UK: we have had the professions centenary celebrations ; the second part of the “Value of OT” project has been launched; there has been increased media coverage with OT’s getting on national TV, radio and other media too; and we have seen continued growth of OT’s working in diverse and emergent roles. Occupational therapy continues to be reported as one of the top careers with great job satisfaction, so we have much to celebrate.

In its third year, the OT Show Awards seek to celebrate and showcase grassroots occupational therapy practice in the UK. To me, these awards are about:

  • shining a light on practice that doesn’t often get seen, such as OTs who beaver away with little recognition or reward
  • showcasing OT staff who work may not be recognized by other organisations or structures e.g. early stage innovations, informal ‘research’ and perhaps emergent and quirky things too!
  • showing value beyond traditional measures of value such as saving money etc. Whose says what is of value anyway?
  • acknowledging how much we value service user contributions and of course OTTI’s/OTA’s as part of our OT team

This year the nomination process has been simplified and the award categories are:

  • Outstanding OTTI/OTA/Service User Contribution Award
  • Outstanding Occupational Therapist Award
  • Outstanding Occupational Therapy Leadership and Innovation Award

When I speak with OTs, they often find it difficult to see how amazing their work is. They find it much harder to shout about it and celebrate their practice. Other professions, other work sectors, don’t seem to feel this way. Hopefully this chat will be a good way to encourage more OTs to apply for an award or nominate someone they know.

The questions for discussion tonight are maybe a little contentious.

  1. I often feel OTs hid their light under a bushel e.g. they work away and don’t show how amazing they are. Do you agree?

2. As a caring profession, do we find “showing off” somehow distasteful or is a confidence thing or is there something else going on?

3. What makes OT practice outstanding?

4. What do you think the future of OT will see us doing, say in 30 years time?

5, If you had the resources, backing and time, what OT project or innovation would you set up?


#OTalk 19th September – Digital Occupations and Smartphone Apps

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of digital occupations and smartphone apps within occupational therapy will be hosted by Rebecca Crouch (@RebeccaCrouch).

 Here is what Rebecca had to say…

 The past decade has experienced a rapid development and adoption of digital technologies, which have changed the way people live and carry out their daily activities (Gretton and Honeyman, 2016). Figures show that 66 per cent of British adults own a smartphone and, with it, opportunities to participate and engage in meaningful digital occupations (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008; Ofcom, 2015).

Occupational therapists work with people to improve their health, wellbeing and ability to participate in meaningful and purposeful activities of daily living (Hills et al., 2016). As smartphones are increasingly used by the public, service user participation in meaningful and purposeful occupations could include the use of inbuilt features or downloadable smartphone apps. Diamantis (2013) suggests that digital occupations are being overlooked by occupational therapists as they are not considered as traditional occupations. Diamantis (2013) believes them to be an essential part of everyday life that should not be dismissed. This sentiment is echoed by opinion pieces published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, which call for all occupational therapists to take advantage of the opportunities offered by mainstream technology (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008), and more specifically, of smartphones apps (Stow and England, 2016).

 From personal experiences, I have found smartphone apps helpful in managing my physical and emotional wellbeing. As these apps enable a variety of meaningful digital occupations for myself, I would like to explore your perception of digital occupations, along with your experiences of smartphone app use in your personal life, at your place of work, and their potential use in a therapeutic context with service users.

Questions to consider:

  1. What is your understanding of digital occupations?
  2. Do you think digital occupations can be used to support both your health and wellbeing, and that of your service users?
  3. In your personal life, do you use any smartphone apps to support your health, wellbeing or ability to participate in meaningful and purposeful occupations?
  4. What are the benefits and barriers of using these smartphone apps?
  5. At your place of work, do you use any smartphone apps to support your ability to participate in work-based occupations?
  6. What are the benefits and barriers of using these smartphone apps?
  7. At your place of work, do you consider the digital occupations of your service users?
  8. Are there any smartphone apps available which could support the strengths and needs of your service users?
  9. What do you consider to be the benefits and barriers of using smartphone apps with service users?
  10. What support would you need if you were considering smartphone app use with service users?


Diamantis A (2013) Broadening the horizon of occupation in paediatric practice: A challenge. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 76(6): 253-253.

Hills C, Ryan S, Smith DR et al. (2016) Occupational therapy students’ technology skills: Are generation Y ready for 21st century practice? Australian Journal of Occupational Therapy 63, 391-398.

Gretton C and Honeyman M (2016) The digital revolution: eight technologies that will change health and care. Available at: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/eight-technologies-will-change-health-and-care (accessed on 29 May 2017).

Ofcom (2015) The UK is now a smartphone society. Available at: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/cmr-uk-2015/ (accessed on 28 May 2017).

Stow J and England S (2016) The rise if inclusive mainstream technology: Implications for occupational therapists. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(8): 457-458.

Verdonck MC and Ryan S (2008) Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: Technophobe or technogeek? The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 71(6): 253-256.

Verdonck MC and Maye F (2015) Enhancing occupational performance in the virtual context using smart technology. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy 79(6): 385-390.


#OTalk 12th September – Practice Placement Education

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Practice Placement Education: Engaging with people, investing in relationships – a collaborative problem solving venture” and will be hosted by Maureen Shiells of the RCOT (@MMShiells).

Here’s what Maureen had to say…

I’ve been working at the Royal College now for three years as education manager responsible for pre-registration occupational therapy education.  Always a fan of education and growth at all levels, my previous post at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was in practice development for qualified occupational therapists. I’m fascinated by the learning journey and how (I hope) it never ends.

None of us are strangers to the changes in the way health, social care and education provision are being delivered right across the UK, and beyond. Education reforms, constraints on national budgets for health and social care, the increasing need to work differently and creatively to deliver robust educational experience for our student occupational therapy population is clear. We need to ensure that our newly qualified occupational workforce is competent, capable and ready to take on their new career with confidence.

With that – and you – in mind, this OTalk will focus on practice education for student occupational therapists, in particular on the placement experience and arrangements for both students and educators. Practice based education makes up a third of the occupational therapy degree programme which constitutes a significant chunk of learning. Involvement in delivering and receiving practice education is rewarding, fun, sometimes challenging, and hard work, but being involved also makes a huge contribution towards continuing professional development (Ellis & Tempest 2016).  As members and guardians of the profession, it is our duty as registered healthcare professionals to devote time and expertise in supporting our students to become occupational therapists of the future. So with over 37,000 registered occupational therapists in the UK (and approx. 5,500 students in education at any one time), why is it often difficult to secure placement opportunities?

This OTalk will build on work already underway to investigate how we at The Royal College can lead the change in the way practice education is supported and developed to meet the needs of today’s students, educators and the ever changing health and social care landscape. Of course we also embrace non-traditional placement education and are keen to address how role emerging and diverse placement opportunities can provide an excellent opportunity to grow into the role of an occupational therapist (RCOT 2017).

Using Tanmay Vora’s Social Mindset theory, our aim is to seek and engage talent in all corners of our profession in order to; reduce barriers to communication, encourage collaborative problem solving and create empowerment among our communities by engaging in virtual conversations via email and social media (Vora 2017).

Don’t be alarmed however, we also do face-to-face conversations when we can!

As a result of the feedback received so far from people who have been involved in the work, we have created an action plan which broadly covers the following points, which I hope to discuss during this Tweetchat;

  1. What are the main ingredients for a successful practice educator/student/HEI relationship?
  2. How can we improve the consistency in the quality of the student experience?
  3. What type of resources can help to support practice education?
  4. What are the enablers for practice educators to offer student placements?
  5. What are the barriers and how can we overcome these?

We look forward to welcoming a range of stakeholders to the Tweetchat, including students, practice educators, academics, service users , other healthcare professionals and any interested parties.


Ellis and Tempest (2016) Practice Placement Education: The ultimate learning opportunity? OTnews Available at https://www.joomag.com/magazine/occupational-therapy-news-october-2016/0726852001476272133?short accessed on 23/8/17

RCOT (2017) An investigation into occupational therapy practice education across the UK. Available at https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/students/practice-education accessed on 23/08/17

Vora T. (2017) Social MIndset: A key to engaging people. Available at http://qaspire.com/2017/05/08/social-mindset-a-key-to-engaging-talent/ accessed on 23/08/17


Online Transcript

The Numbers

2.456 M Impressions
1,088 Tweets
90 Participants
870 Avg Tweets/Hour
12 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants