This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “professional boundaries” and will be hosted by Bob Collins and Jo Southall (@BobCollinsOT and @JBOccyTherapy).
With a bit of help (as we couldn’t resist it!) from:
Anne Keen: Professional Advisor – Professional Practice Enquiries Service, Royal College of Occupational Therapists: @annekeen55 @EnquiriesRCOT
Dr Stephanie Tempest: Professional Development Manager, Education and Research Team, Royal College of Occupational Therapists: @setG75
Heres what they had to say…
“How much should I disclose about my own life to service users? What constitutes ‘therapeutic use of self’ and what is telling people too much?
How do I balance my existing friendships with line management responsibilities now I’ve been promoted to lead the team (who by definition have become my service users)?
Is it ok to give informal advice to my best friend to help him look after his mum?
Can I be friends, in the real or virtual world with my service users?
What do I do if I feel an attraction to someone who I met through professional channels?”
The idea for this #OTalk grew from discussions during an #OTalk last year (we’ll blame Bob!) and from reflections on previous ones, so we thought we’d host an event to talk about professional boundaries in occupational therapy. But we won’t be giving concrete advice or indeed directly answer the questions above. Rather, we aim to:
- Encourage debate on the meaning of what professional boundaries means to you;
- Create some space to share some reflective questions and ideas that may help us to think about where we, as individuals, draw the line;
- Discuss the options on what to do if we have concerns.
But first of all, let’s define what we mean by ‘service user’. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC 2016) use a broad definition:
Service user: Anyone who uses oris affected by the services of registrants… (HCPC pg. 31 2016)
So, service users could be those we traditionally think of in the clinical settings or equivalent. But they can also be our staff, students, research participants, professional body members and so the list goes on.
When we provide services to anyone, we hold responsibility and power through therapeutic or professional relationships. As we know, with this privilege comes a duty of care in order to keep people safe from harm. We must not abuse the power we hold; we need to remain aware of the nature of the relationships and know how to interact in a way which maintains integrity.
To support us, we are bound by a number of standards and principles including:
- HCPC (2016) Standards of conduct, ethics and performance
- RCOT (2015) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
So, we’re looking forward to thinking about what these standards and principles look like in practice; to sharing reflective questions with each other to support our professional judgements; and discussing what to do if we have any concerns.
Bob, Jo, Stephanie and Anne
HCPC (2016) Standards of conduct, ethics and performance: http://www.hcpc-uk.org/assets/documents/10004EDFStandardsofconduct,performanceandethics.pdf Accessed 9th January 2018
HCPC (2016) Guidance on conduct and ethics for students: http://www.hpc-uk.org/registrants/standards/students/ Accessed 9th January 2018
Nolan (1995): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life (accessed 17th January 2018)
RCOT (2015) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct https://www.rcot.co.uk/sites/default/files/CODE-OF-ETHICS-2015_0.pdf (accessed 17th January 2018)
HCPC (2017) Guidance on social media http://www.hpc-uk.org/assets/documents/1000553EGuidanceonsocialmedia.pdf accessed 17th January 2018)
RCOT Professional Practice Enquiries Service https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/professional-practice-enquiries-service/about-professional-practice-enquiries-service
602 Avg Tweets/Hour
9 Avg Tweets/Participant
Data for #OTalk can be up to 15 minutes delayed