#OTalk Research – 7th September 2021 – Writing productively

This week’s chat will be co-hosted by Katrina Bannigan @KatrinaBannigan from Glasgow Caledonian University with Nikki Daniels @NikkiDanielsOT on the #OTalk account.

Most of us are aware of the importance of writing, particularly peer reviewed papers, to ensure that our research findings have impact. That said, peer reviewed papers are not the whole story because so much of what we do as researchers is dependent on writing, for example, blogs, social media posts and patient information leaflets. Yet, even though writing is an important part of the research process, many of us struggle to write and most would argue it is challenging to find time to write. This is because we think we can only be productive if we have a substantial period of time to write. Rowena Murray has challenged us to rethink our approach to writing and there are a number of things we can do to become more productive writers.

One of the things she suggests is social writing— writing in a group with other people—which can increase motivation and promote accountability (Murray, 2015). To gauge if there was any interest in a writing group for occupational therapists, I wrote a blog and asked anyone who was interested to contact me. This led to me starting the occupational therapy writing group (@otwg_gcu) in February this year. Group sessions are held on zoom twice a week

  • 18.00-20.00 (BST) on Tuesdays
  • 09.00-11.00 (BST) on Fridays 

Only occupational therapists are invited to make it as comfortable and non-threatening an environment as possible. It seems to be working as we have had attendance at every session since it started usually between 9-18 people. Students who have attended the group found it so helpful they started their own group for students as part of their dissertation module; they wrote about their experience in a blog. Other people have described it as

  • The @otwg_gcu is excellent! Such as supportive space for a mix of academics, clinicians and students to set goals and focus on writing. Highly recommend” (Dr Carolynne White @Carolynne_OT March 18) 
  • …“I’ve seen great feedback on it, great way to protect time to do writing and get peer support” (Dr Mary Birken, @MaryBirken, March 2021)
  • This has been such a boost for my writing productivity..definitely time well spent. And joyous to connect with other OTs! (Dr Leisle Ezekiel, @lezeki, August 2021)
  • Starting a regular writing habit through @otwg_gcu has really helped me keep on track with writing and feel productive. Structure helps juggling competing demands” (Leona McQuaid, @LeonaMcquaid, August 2021)

This is why this month’s research #OTalk is focussing on writing productively. So whether you are a student, practitioner, researcher, manager, commissioner or policy maker please join in the discussion to share your experience and/ or learn about strategies for writing productively and how the @otwg_gcu is supporting occupational therapists to write.

Why not join in this #Otalk discussion and start to explore your writing habits? After all, our Chair of Council, Professor Diane Cox (2017), described writing about our work as being part of our lives as occupational beings. In the #OTalk discussion we will use the following questions to structure the discussion but please feel free to join in with other questions and perspectives:

  1. Is Professor Diane Cox (2017) right when she says writing about our work is part of our lives as occupational beings?
  1. Does anything prevent you from writing?
  1. Do you have any useful strategies, or writing habits, to support your writing productivity?
  1. Do you think a writing group can provide a source of writing accountability?
  1. What one habit will you adopt in the coming year to become more productive as a writer?


COX, D. (2017) The Dr Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture 2017: Life as an occupational being. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 80(9) 525–532. DOI: 10.1177/0308022617722331
MURRAY, R. (2015). Writing in social spaces. Routledge.


Host:  Katrina Bannigan. @KatrinaBannigan.

Support on OTalk Account: @NikkiDanielsOT

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?


#OTalk 31th August 2021 – Start as you mean to go on … how are you going to ensure you are prepared for the next HCPC audit cycle?

This weeks chat will be hosted by I am Sarah Lawson @SLawsonOT

For occupational therapists our Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) re-registration window is currently open. How did you feel as we approached the 1 August 2021 and the beginning of our HCPC renewal and audit cycle? Which of the following do you identify with?

Are you a Bull in the China shop? Collecting CPD Certificates, attending anything that says it is free CPD with out any consideration for how this learning benefits your practice or service users. You write lots of reflections, but they are all bit random and you’re not sure how to relate them to the HCPC Standards.

Are you an Ostrich? Do you have your head buried in the sand, you’ll think about CPD if you’re selected for HCPC audit? You’ve managed to escape this time and you don’t need to think about it for another 2 years.

Do you procrastinate and sit on the fence? You have kept some CPD records, but they need organising and you’re not sure how to go about it. You always have plans to get organised next week or next time you have annual leave but that time never comes…


Are you a strategist? Confident that your CPD Portfolio is up to date, accurate and that you could easily submit your CPD Profile with evidence if you were one of the 2.5% selected by the HCPC for audit? (Hearle et al. 2016; Hearle and Lawson 2020)

You may identify with aspects of some or all of these. You may be newly registered and wondering how to organise your CPD. The aim of tonight’s #OTalk to is help you think about CPD, to start as you mean to go on for the new audit cycle and set some realistic goals to achieve over the coming year or two.

Why me hosting this #OTalk?

I am Sarah Lawson @SLawsonOT, a PhD Candidate researching occupational therapists’ engagement in CPD and their use of the TRAMm Model. I research, think, write, and dream (!) about CPD alongside lecturing @GlyndwrUniversity | @GlyndwrOT and maintaining my clinical skills working @TheChristieNHS 

I am also co-author of A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model which is also available for members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) to read via their website.

The TRAMm Model (Hearle et al. 2016; Hearle and Lawson 2020) is based on the premise that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a personal and subjective journey, as well as our professional responsibility and mandatory requirement of registration. CPD involves the recognition of and engagement in lifelong learning. To be effective we need to Tell others, Record and Apply what we have learnt, Monitor our progress and measure the impact. I am really interested in the amount of learning we do as part of our everyday work and life that could contribute to our CPD if we recognise and record it as such. 

As we begin our new 2 year audit cycle, and renew our HCPC registration (if you haven’t yet renewed, information is available via the HCPC website) how are you going to ensure that you are organised for the new audit cycle? During this chat I’d like to encourage you to think about CPD and to set some realistic goals that we can plan to review at another #OTalk during 2022. 

  1. As a start point for tonight’s #OTalk I’d like to take a moment to consider why it is so important that we engage in CPD. Why are we a @The_HCPC regulated profession?
  1. As our professional responsibility, do you know and understand what the HCPC Standards for CPD are, how many there are and what they mean? If not, what might help you understand them?
  1. Within your everyday work and life how do you recognise that you are learning something that could contribute to your CPD?
  1. Reflecting on our learning and development is fundamental to CPD engagement, how do you ensure that your reflections capture your learning along with how you apply this learning in practice?
  1. How do you measure/evaluate the impact of your learning and development on yourself and others?
  1. What CPD goals are you going to set yourself now?
  1. What have you learnt from this #OTalk, how will you ensure that it contributes to your CPD?


Hearle, D., Lawson, S. & Morris, R. (2016) A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model. Keswick: M&K Publishing. 

Hearle, D. & Lawson, S. (2020a) A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model. (2nd Ed). Keswick: M&K Publishing.

Some Resources to support your CPD


CPD Engagement

Recognising and Capturing CPD Vlog/Podcast Elizabeth Casson Masterclass 

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)


HCPC Three simple steps to be ready for a CPD Audit

HCPC Recognise, reflect, resolve: The Benefits of Reflecting on your Practice



RCOT Standards for occupational therapy practice, conduct and ethics

Principles for CPD and Lifelong learning

Post Chat

Host: @SLawsonOT from TRAMm Model.

Support on OTalk Account: @colourful_ot

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in the chat you can download the below as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD

#OTalk – Launch a conversation – 24th August 2021.

This week #OTalk will be hosted by Steve Ford @SteveFord New CEO for The Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

I started as CEO for RCOT in April 2021.  My first priority has been to get a deep understanding of the profession.  So that was why I launched the #TalktoSteve campaign – I wanted to have 100 conversations with 100 Occupational Therapists in my first 100 days. I achieved that. Many more people wanted to speak to me and so I will continue until I’ve met with everyone!

And here’s a short summary of what I have heard.

Occupational therapy is a fantastic profession, you love what you do and can see the difference you make every day. You are optimistic about the future but fear that you’re missing opportunities. And at times you feel like the underdog, compared to other professions who are better understood, more confident, better supported and connected, and able to grasp opportunities. 

The profession is changing, with new recruits being more confident and demanding and having a greater focus on personal and professional development. The new skills and ways of working that have come about over the last 18 months are driving the profession. The inclusion agenda is seen as vital, but we’ve been slow and reactive, especially when dealing with minority groups. 

Our membership offer seems less relevant to students and junior staff. It’s not until you become more senior and get involved that you better understand and appreciate the whole offer. There is real appreciation of local staff and volunteers, but overall, we can be seen as slow, bureaucratic, and cautious. 

Many of you would like to have broader involvement in both the profession and RCOT. And while there are many impressive local leaders, who are driving forward strategic change, this influential community doesn’t feel connected or support by RCOT. 

Some of the campaigns that we’ve run have been meaningful and engaged members, but in general we are often in broadcast mode rather than engaging with members. The Specialist Sections and Regions have, especially through the pandemic, been an impetus for change, but the current structure isn’t working for everyone. 

The importance of research and the need for stronger evidence base is recognised and the research strategy and top 10 priorities provide a good basis to move forward. But research is not always prominent in the mindset of occupational therapists, there are challenges to methodology and limited career opportunities for clinical research. 

In the light of this feedback I have identified 4 possible strategic themes for the profession and RCOT and I’m eager to hear people’s views on whether these are the right ones for us to focus on together:

1 Movement

Build a social movement of proud and confident occupational therapists that show the world the power of what we do

We need to speak more powerfully and clearly. We need to strengthen our brand and campaigns. RCOT is wider membership sharing their collective experience and expertise.  We want everyone to feel that they belong to and have a voice in this powerful movement

2 Excellence:

A real, practical offer to support every occupational therapist to be the best that they can be.

We want to make our membership offer relevant for every occupational therapist wherever they are in their career.   This will include a refreshed approach to learning and development – using modern approaches to equip therapists with the skills that they need to make maximum impact

3. Evolve 

Grasp the biggest opportunities for occupational therapy to evolve and maximise our impact in a changing world.

This is now the time for occupational therapy. We need to be on the front foot, clear about the opportunities and establishing our case assertively. We need to support our influential local leaders with the tools and resources that they need. And we need to be dynamic in sharing emerging best practice across all of our services,

4. Transform

Become a modern, high-performing, insight informed and values-led organisation.

If we are to deliver these three themes, RCOT needs to modernise and focus its resources where they will deliver biggest impact. We need better data and insight to help us work effectively and we need to live out values that meet the expectation and needs of our members.

5 Questions

  1. How do you feel about these themes? What is missing? What needs to be dialed up?
  1. Do you feel part of a movement? What could make this a reality?
  1. How could RCOT help you to be the best possible occupational therapist?
  1. What do you think are the biggest opportunities for occupational therapy over the next ten years? How do we grasp them?
  1. What would make you proud of your professional body? What values are important to you?

Post Chat

Host:  @SteveFord CEO for The RCOT  Support on OTalk Account: @Kirstie_OT

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in the chat you can download the below as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD

#OTalk 17th August 2021 – CPD in Covid times

This #OTalk is hosted by Dr Nikki Daniels, Professional Development Manager, Professional Development Team, Royal College of Occupational Therapists @NikkiDanielsOT and Anne Keen, Professional Adviser, Professional Practice Enquiries Service, Royal College of Occupational Therapists @annekeen55

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an umbrella term for the various learning and development activities we engage in throughout our careers.  These activities are essential to ensure we continue to be safe, effective and ethical practitioners and monitor and improve the quality of our service (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2021). Additionally, CPD provides personal fulfilment as we extend our knowledge, skills and capabilities through our individual career development pathways (Interprofessional CPD and Lifelong Learning UK Working Group, 2019).

To maintain our professional registration, we are required to declare that we have continued to meet the HCPC’s standards for continuing professional development (CPD), emphasising the importance of CPD to each of us as a personal and professional activity. As part of a bi-annual re-registration process, 2.5% of occupational therapists will be required to submit their CPD profile to illustrate the activities they have engaged in and evidence that this CPD meets HCPC standards:

  1. Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of CPD activities
  2. Demonstrate that CPD activities are a mix of learning activities relevant to current or future practice
  3. Ensure that CPD activities have contributed to the quality of practice and service delivery
  4. Ensure that CPD activities benefit the service user

So, as we enter this professional registration renewal period, many of us are reflecting on the CPD activities we have engaged in over the past two years.  In light of the demands placed on the occupational therapy workforce over the past 18 months, it could be perceived that opportunities to engage in CPD may have been limited. Challenges may also have been encountered in capturing and evidencing how CPD activities have improved the quality of our work and benefited those who use our services. However, conversely, many opportunities have also been presented from which we can learn and develop. 

The Professional Development and Professional Practice teams at RCOT have produced an HCPC hub which provides a range of resources to support those called for audit.  In this week’s #OTalk, the team will help us to reflect on the range of CPD activities that we have engaged in, raise awareness of the types of activities from which we have learnt and developed, and think about how we can capture that learning and its effects.

So, whether you have been recently called for audit, need support to keep your portfolio up to date, or an HCPC registrant previously called for audit who can offer support from your experiences, this week’s #OTalk is an opportunity to explore further how we can all meet the HCPC CPD standards.


  1. Can you share with us examples of non-formal activities you have engaged in over the past two years which have helped you to learn and develop in your professional role?
  2. Have the events of the past 18 months offered new or different CPD activities which have contributed to your learning and development? Can you share examples?
  3. Can you share with us what works for you? So, what motivates or enables you to engage in specific CPD activities?
  4. Following on from this, what are your top tips to incorporating CPD activities into your working life? Or put another way, what everyday working life activities do you consider to be CPD?
  5. Let’s think now about how we evidence the effects of CPD. Who do you consider to be service users and how have you shown that CPD activities have benefited them?
  6. How can we ensure that CPD activities have contributed to the quality of practice and service delivery and how can we demonstrate or evidence the contribution made?
  7. If you’ve not been called for audit this time around (or even if you have), what are you going to do now in case you are called next time? What are your CPD resolutions? How can RCOT support you with these resolutions?


Royal College of Occupational Therapists (2021) Professional standards for occupational therapy practice, conduct and ethics Available at: https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/rcot-publications/downloads/rcot-standards-and-ethics [Accessed 09/08/2021]

Interprofessional CPD and Lifelong Learning UK Working Group (2019) Principles for continuing professional development and lifelong learning in health and social care Available at: https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/rcot-publications/downloads/rcot-standards-and-ethics [Accessed 09/08/2021]

HCPC Hub Available at: https://www.rcot.co.uk/supporting-you-hcpc-cpd-audit



#OTalk – 10th August 2021 – Trauma Informed Care

This #OTalk will be hosted by Deborah Murphy @Murphlemurph

Studies suggest that up to half of all adults living in the UK have experienced adversity or trauma as a child.   Not all of the mental health impacts will meet the diagnostic threshold for PTSD.  It is therefore suggested that professionals need to be well attuned and sensitive to presenting patterns of behaviour, relationships, and thought patterns that indicate an emerging trauma related response.  Traditionally trauma has been understood using a medical model, and its treatment was the responsibility of trauma specific services. The American psychiatric association define trauma as,.

‘Direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death. or serious injury, or other threat to one’s physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another’. (APA, 2000).

However, the substance abuse and mental health service administration (SAMHSA) broadened the definition to a less medicalised description of trauma, in recognition of traumas relationship with systemic factors that impact people though the course of their lives.  They assert that,

‘Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual is functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being’ (SAMHSA, 2014).

Trauma informed care was conceptualised following the SAMHSA led conference ‘Dare to vision’ in 1994.   At this conference, survivors of physical and sexual abuse spoke of the impact of re-traumatisation that frequently occurred in inpatient and residential settings.  They drew attention for the need for all services to operate with an awareness of trauma and its impacts. 

Trauma informed services are not designed specifically to treat trauma related difficulties, instead they seeks to address the barriers that those affected by trauma can experience while accessing the care, support and treatment they require for a healthy life.  Within such a model of care, trauma does not need specific diagnosis, as services are designed with an inbuilt assumption that all who come into contact with the organisation may have been exposed to trauma.

Although the language of adversity, trauma, and trauma informed care are common parlance in many areas of clinical practice, with guidelines emerging recommending universal training of health and social care staff, trauma and trauma informed care is not yet a core component of occupational therapy training.  There is however an argument that if we are not trauma informed, then we risk the potential of being trauma creating. 

This #OTalk will consider the following questions:

  1. The impact of trauma is far reaching.  What is your understanding of trauma, systemic trauma and trauma informed care? how does it manifest in the people whom you come into contact with in your daily practice?
  2. How confident do you feel in your understanding of the principles of trauma informed care, and how did you/ might you develop your knowledge?
  3. How do you feel trauma informed care is applied in your workplace setting?  What do you feel are the main barriers to having a trauma informed approach in your setting?
  4. What specific skills/approaches/interventions do you feel we can bring as Occupational therapists to a trauma informed approach?
  5. For staff to truly listen, bear witness to, and remain present to another’s trauma, it is important that we are adequately supported.  What support systems do you feel we need as OT’s to practice trauma informed care.


Duncan, G., (2021).  The future of mental healthcare in prison in the UK:  A National consultation and review.  Centre for mental health, London

Ford, K., Hughes, K., Hardcastle, K., Di Lemma, L., Davies, A., Edwards, S., and Bellis, M (2019.  The evidence base for routine enquiry into adverse childhood experiences: A scoping review. Science direct

Jones and Wesley (2006). Psychological trauma: a historical perspective Psychiatry 5(7) Elselvier. London pp.217-219

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2014).SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach. HHS Publication. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Treisman, K (2018). Becoming a more culturally, adversity, and trauma-informed, and responsive organisation.  Winston Fellowship report.  London

Post Chat