This week @GeorgiaVineOT and @margaretOT360 will be hosting here is what they had to say.
Being able to empathise rather than just sympathise with a service user will enable a better therapeutic relationship but, when the understanding is so strong it can be challenging to deal with the emotional response.
I’ve always been open about that fact that I’ve had occupational therapy input when talking with service users, and I always will be, although, because I have had occupational therapy myself it holds me back during intervention implementation.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am very determined and like to aim high in anything I do especially when it comes to my studies, but this emotional barrier is proving to be more difficult to get over than I initially thought.
I’ve had OT input ever since I was born and have always been a service user so, it’s hard to believe that I’m suddenly playing a collaborative role in the professional decision-making process. It’s okay that I feel this way and I’m grateful that my previous educator pointed this out as without her input I probably wouldn’t have realised it was holding me back so much and that’s even worse. This is because if I didn’t know what the problem was then how could I have done anything about it? Not that I’ve reflected I think I was holding back as I didn’t believe in my professional capabilities since I’vealways been the service user. Although I’m not a service user now it’s still hard to believe that I’m the professional as the tables have been completely turned.
Supervision is key, placement is a massive learning opportunity and, it enables me to make more sense of my situation and gain insight into what my limitations are going to be in the world of work.
Due to my disability being so visible I can’t make a clinically reasoned decision to disclose.
I’m always going to get questions about my disability and my capabilities within occupational therapy. These questions don’t annoy me as such because me disability is always going to be the elephant in the room, we all know how diverse OT is, so I know there is a role out there for me. However, I’d be lying if I said that at times, I don’t question myself about my future role.
Am I a service user, a student, a healthcare professional or all 3? At times I get confused over who I am, and which role plays the biggest part. Am I lacking in confidence because I’m a student or is it because I’ve been on the other side of the fence? I’m still working on this transition as it’s not going to happen overnight and will be a slow process.
As a second-year student this transition needs to happen sooner rather than later, because I have only got one more placement left after this one, and I want to feeling competent.
Now, I am doing a ground-breaking, virtual placement my confidence has grown, as I now know the area of OT that I want to work in, but due to that nature of my virtual I’ve had minimal contact with services users. In which this makes me feel a bit apprehensive for my next placement as when I go on placement it will be over a year since I’ve had face-to-face service user contact.
I want to leave the course feeling like I gave it my all with my personal experiences adding to my journey.
I wanted to do an OTalk to ask questions to those who may have had similar experiences, to enable me to make sense of my situation in order for me to reflect on my past, present and future as part of my placement experience …
Q1. What experience do you have of being a service user e.g. family members, personally, or an extended family member?
Q2. How does this experience effect your own views on the delivery of occupational therapy and its values?
Q3. Have you ever been in a situation as a therapist where you’ve had to disclose your own experiences of being a service user, if so, how did this affect the outcome?
Q4. What is the most useful piece information you could share with the OT community, about your experiences to enhance practice?
Q5. What online communities are you or your client’s part of, and how is access to these communities useful to you?