#OTalk Research: 2nd June 2020 – ‘That’s interesting’ – communicating your research with a non-research audience.

Hosts: Camilla Long and Sarah Travers, Bespoke Communications

GuidedByTheScience has become an unofficial mantra as governments worldwide adopt measures to combat the #Covid19 pandemic. Robust scientific advice relies on objective, rigorous research. And as the pandemic has highlighted, it’s often people outside your specialist field who have the power to amplify your research outcomes. That can lead to a friction between accessibility and clarity – the age-old ‘dumbing down’ conundrum.

Let’s for a moment imagine pre-Covid times – you’re at a family event. Or that you’re striking up a conversation with the person beside you on a flight home from a conference. Or maybe you’re meeting an old schoolfriend for the first time in years. In response to the question, ‘ so what do you work at?’, you reply that you’re in research. There’s an encouraging nod and a lull in the conversation waiting for you to elaborate. You describe your research. There’s a brief pause. Then the person who asked the question looks at you, says ‘that’s interesting’ in a tone of voice that means anything but, and the conversation continues as though you never spoke at all.


This may have never happened to you! But making your research understood by your family and friends is a great first step in research communication. Your research is intertwined with the needs of other stakeholders in your discipline – be they patients, funders or other healthcare professionals. Communicating your research is about making it relevant to those general audiences, audiences who are made up of people with family, friends and lives outside their workplace just like you. Connecting with people and their needs is the first step in great research communication.
Effective communication opens opportunity for collaboration, consultation and inspiration. You’ve already done this without thinking about it – that time you recruited participants for a study, or the public consultation you ran to assess views and attitudes. What about your blog post or video that got shared by an influential clinician? Or the time you gave a talk in a local school that ended up connecting you with an important local support group? Well planned research communication leads to research outcomes that are more robust, build trust and have greater impact. In other words, great communication moves the response to your research from ‘that’s interesting’ to ‘wow, tell me more, that’s exactly what we need’.
But we’re all busy. And we don’t have time to spend on non-core activities. So, to help you to communicate for maximum impact, here are some questions for you to consider for this week’s #OTalk:

  1. Does your Research Institute value public engagement?
  2. How has communication with non-research stakeholders helped you?
  3. What’s the biggest challenge for you in communicating your research with a general audience?
  4. What public engagement communication activity have your personally undertaken – written articles and blog posts, videos on social media, presentations and talks, media interviews, other activity?
  5. What’s been the most worthwhile research communication activity that you’ve been involved in and why?
  6. After tonight’s #OTalk, what will you do differently when communicating with a non-academic audience?

Bespoke Communications (@bespoke_comms) is a leading people-development agency, specialising in communication – public speaking coaching, presentation skills, internal communications and media training. We help technical experts and researchers to access stakeholders with coaching for pitches, presentations, interviews and events.

#OTalk 26th May 2020 – How important is Posture Management?

This week Lauren Osborne @LaurenOsborneOT is hosting here is what she had to say,

I’ve just completed my MSc in Rehabilitation and Posture Management and my dissertation was a scoping review looking at “What is the evidence for 24 hour posture management?”. I concluded from the literature that posture management is a pre-requisite to occupational performance and therefore, I feel that it should be central to our work as OTs when working with people with complex physical disabilities. I would like to see it as part of the pre-registration OT training and to develop national guidance and NICE guidelines. I believe that posture management is a safeguarding and human rights issue because the people who need it are unable to change position independently and therefore rely on others to protect their body shape from distortion caused by gravity, which can have devastating effects through the development of skeletal deformities and contractures, leading to compromised respiration, digestion etc.
My questions for the discussion are:
1. What is your understanding of the term 24 hour posture management?
2. Did your pre-reg course include any training on posture management and/or positioning for people with complex physical disabilities?
3. How confident would you feel to assess a person for postural seating or night-time positioning equipment?
4. When assessing people’s ADLs, do you consider their posture e.g. can they sit unsupported to use their hands freely? Can they hold their head up to see?
5. If someone is unable to sit upright with their arms free and hold their head up, how can we as OTs best support them to engage in activity?
6. What could you do in your setting to increase awareness and knowledge of the importance of posture management?

#OTalk 19th May 2020 – Yr1: Thriving not Surviving

This week’s #OTalk is explores well-being in the first year of practice. It is being led by Andrew Bates (@AndrewbatesOT) and Deb May (DMay_OT) of the year 1: Thriving not Surviving project team.

The project is funded by the Elizabeth Casson Trust and aims to develop a resource to support well-being in the first year of practice. The team comprises newly qualified OTs working with OT Dr Lynne Goodacre and writer Rob Young.   More information about the project can be found here (https://www.lgpersonaldevelopment.co.uk/year-1/) and details about the team is found here.

We know that the first year of practice can be hard. You suddenly feel as though you don’t know enough about anything. You’re not sure how you will fit into the existing team. The previous band 5 in the rotation was so amazing you may never fill their shoes. You arrive with models of practice and theoretical approaches and find that the team you’ve joined doesn’t fit anything you’ve learned. Suddenly you have your own caseload and you sign your own notes – with nobody checking on you or countersigning them. You have responsibility. Your work life balance may be totally altered. You may have a long commute. You have money burning a hole in your pocket. There are so many things to juggle. It can be frightening. It’s challenging and rewarding and fun and it’s exactly what you’ve worked so hard for but some days it can be utterly overwhelming. On those days, where do you turn?

We would as many newly qualified occupational therapists as possible to join us for tonight’s talk to explore how you are managing your own well-being in your first year of practice and to help us develop the resources which would help future cohorts of newly qualified OT .

The questions we will be exploring include:

  1. What support was available for you as a newly qualified OT?
  2. What made the biggest difference to your well-being during your first year of practice?
  3. What actions did you take to maintain a state of well-being during your first year?
  4. What would have better improved your well-being during your first year?
  5. What piece of advice would you give to new graduates to support their well-being?

 

 

OTalk – 12th May 2020: CPD Opportunities for Students

As the Derby Occupational Therapy Society, we encourage to increase continued professional development for students by either providing the opportunity to organise events, attend our events or support students to attend external events.
We facilitate an educational, charity, revision and social event each month, aiming to capture all needs of the student. This has proved successful in integrating cohorts and giving students the confidence to attend CPD opportunities.
We would love to facilitate discussion around how CPD is viewed and accessed amongst Occupational Therapy Students nationally and internationally! We look forward so speaking with you all (past and present students)!

 

  • What CPD events have you been able to access whilst being a student, has this been internal or external to your curriculum?
  • How easy do you think it is to access CPD as a student alongside your studies?
  • What barriers have you come across in terms of accessing CPD as a student (personally and structurally?
  • What changes have you seen in the ability to access CPD as a student during your studies / since your studies?

#OTalk Research: Managing your research during a pandemic. Hosted by Dr Eddie Duncan

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global life-changing event effecting all parts of society.  Research, as with all aspects of life, has been directly affected.  

My own research activities have been impacted. I am now working from home in a busy family household (with all the challenges that brings), studies that I lead and collaborate in have been paused indefinitely, new major grants awarded since lockdown are unable to start. 

However there are also opportunities. I have become actively involved in a number of funded COVID related studies, new opportunities of digital collaboration and remote working are becoming apparent, new collaborations are forming and the requirement for taking an interdisciplinary approach to research has never been more apparent!

This week’s #OTALK provides an opportunity for us to look at the challenges and opportunities that the global COVID-19 pandemic has had for occupational therapists involved in research.  I am looking forward to joining you all for a great discussion!

Questions to discuss:1. What has changed in your research activities as a result of COVID-19?

2. What challenges have you faced as a result of COVID-19 and how (if you possible) have you overcome them?

3. What areas should occupational therapists be leading or collaborating in as a consequence of COVID-19?

4. What can we learn from this time so that our future research, and research activities, becomes smarter, more focused, and more impactful?