This weeks chat will be hosted by Laura Rossiter @OTTimeout1
It is understandable that upon entering clinical practice we can experience a plethora of emotions. These can range from excitement and pride to anxiety and fear. Working in the healthcare sector can be challenging and exhausting for anyone, regardless of how long they have been in the role. Limited experience and that little word beginning with C and ending with 19, can certainly exacerbate any concerns that newly qualified OTs (NQOTs) have.
In these uncertain and unprecedented times, many NQOTs are starting new posts working remotely, interacting with not only service users that they have never met but colleagues too. They are working in psychologically demanding, traumatic situations with reduced opportunities for supervision and support, and without a point of reference for knowing what that setting was like pre-COVID. How much does real-life Occupational Therapy practice during a pandemic differ from services pre-COVID and then again from the theory and models we are taught in our training?
The Elizabeth Casson Trust has awarded a grant to The University of Southampton to create a virtual support network for the 1,120 NQOTs across the UK. We have called this network OT Time Out. On two dates each month, OTs can attend meetings for free over Microsoft Teams with up to seven other OTs. Meetings are facilitated by members of the OT Teaching team at the University of Southampton. OTs can discuss any concerns – do they feel happy and well? Do they have a good work-life balance? Do they feel supported? Are they able to manage stress? Are they enjoying their role? This is a place for honest and supportive listening and discussion where every OT is welcome.
We invite you to attend our OTalk on 16th March to talk about the needs of NQOTs and the network that we have set up.
- What did it feel like when you entered practice as an OT?
- What does it feel like (or what do you think it feels like) to enter practice during COVID-19?
- What would you like from a virtual support network for newly qualified OTs?
- What can workplaces do to support newly qualified OTs?