#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

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