#OTalk 24 November 2020 – Practice Placement Advice

This weeks chat will be hosted by Nina Bedding & Cath Turner @OT_ninabedding. @CathTurner7.

During September we, alongside other universities across the country, have welcomed back returning and new students in a very different way to previous years. The use of technology and virtual learning is at an all-time high as we are forced to stay safe throughout this global pandemic. It is lovely to have such passionate and enthusiastic students who are flexible and willing to adapt to the various learning and teaching methods. Students will be wondering about if and how practice placements will be incorporated in to their courses, as well as having the usual anticipatory feelings about the new experience coming their way.

Every Occupational Therapist began as a student. We expect every one of us in the occupational therapy community had apprehensions about placement at the same time as being super excited. Some of our students have had placements cancelled and therefore desperate to get out into the ‘real world’ others are more cautious as they are now in second year and have still not had that valuable placement experience. So what better way than for us to use this reflective #OTtalk opportunity to share our experiences and advice around practice placements. This hour will also offer students the opportunity to share advice and ask questions about the journey they have embarked upon. As you will be sharing examples, please remember to maintain the confidentiality of the people that you worked with and the places where you were on placement.

For any new students please jump in and ask questions as the hour goes by.

  1. For our students out there, what are you most looking forward to and least looking forward to?
  2. What preparation would you advise a student to do in the lead up to a
  3. What was the highlight of your placement experience, were there any light bulb moments?
  4. If you could give one bit of advice to a student about to commence a
    placement what would it be?

#OTalk Research – 3rd November 2020 – Uncovering ‘hidden’ research

This months research chat will be hosted by Dr Kim Stuart @KimStuartOT and Teresa Cook @tcookot and supported by Dr Jenny Preston MBE @preston_jenny on the @OTalk_ account.

Generation and creation of new knowledge is key to informing current and future clinical practice, ensuring that we achieve the best possible outcomes for our communities. Evidence is generated in many ways and the opportunities for sharing, disseminating and changing practice can be complex and challenging.

Despite an increase in the number of occupational therapy publications over the years there is recognition that publication within peer reviewed journals can be onerous and daunting and for many of us starting out in research can feel almost impossible to achieve.

Dissemination of evidence however is not solely dependent on publication in peer reviewed journals and increasingly we are seeing a range of creative methods for dissemination which is exciting and extremely helpful in informing practice.

However there is still a concern that some nuggets of evidence remain ‘hidden’ away from view. We know that there are a variety of reasons for this which have been extensively discussed in previous chats.

This week we are keen to uncover some of the hidden evidence. Could you be sitting on the next game changer for occupational therapy, or hold the key to unlocking the solution for an area of practice? This #OTalk is for you if you have evidence to share or if you want to hear more about the knowledge that others are generating.

Why don’t you join us to discuss evidence that has not yet seen the light of day by sharing your work within a safe and encouraging environment? This might lead to future collaborations for those with similar research interests. Who knows what we might learn on the night?

We are also keen to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to uncover hidden evidence beyond the chat by cultivating a culture which allows us to effectively disseminate new and emerging evidence.

In preparation for this #OTalk we would like you to consider the following questions:

  1. Do you have an example of ‘hidden’ evidence that you would be willing to share?
  2. Where is this evidence and why is it hidden?
  3. What kind(s) of evidence is ‘hidden’?
  4. What support or resources might help uncover some of this evidence?

#OTalk 20th October 2020 – Application of Theory to Occupational Therapy Practice, during Practice Placements – a current debate.

Hi, my name is Emma Spellman (OTEmmaS @EmmaspellmanOT) and I have been an occupational therapist for over 24 years. During my student years, practitioner years and now as an academic I have heard stories from students, practice educators and academics about the challenges occupational therapy students have when trying to apply theory to practice. This application is especially important for the purposes of preparing for, using during and reflecting upon post practice placements. Is this something that is commonly discussed within our occupational therapy profession?

Below I have outlined the questions constructed from both current related literature and golden threads from narratives I have heard, that I think are the most important ones for our discourse on Tuesday ../8/20 during OTalk at 8 pm. Can we as a community shed a modern light on this issue and find some common agreements? Please join us.


  1. Why is applying theory to practice important please?
  2. Please can you provide one example of a theory that you think is useful in occupational therapy practice?
  3. What do you think currently drives occupational therapy students to learn theory and use it in practice please?
  4. What do you think are the current barriers that occupational therapy students face learning and applying theory to practice please?
  5. How do you think student’s ability to both learn theory and apply it to practice be improved please?

#OTalk 13th October 2020 – Online groups: current occupational therapy practice

This weeks chat will be hosted by By Sam Pywell, @smileyfacehalo.

In the current world (due to COVID-19), it is possible that services where occupational therapists provide groupwork can face delivery restrictions due to social distancing, regional lockdown areas, shielding, and the personal choice a client has of wanting to engage in a group but not physically attend (perhaps due to caring for someone, or wanting to keep their bubble of exposure small).   Access to a physical space where the group and staff can socially distance may be a challenge.  Certain activities within a groupwork session e.g. messy crafts may not be possible due to difficulties with cleaning regimes.  Traditional face to face groups and groupwork may therefore not always be possible for a variety of reasons.   

Occupational therapists have the potential to deliver groupwork online depending on the individuals digital skills, access to training, equipment and access to platforms to name a few (NHS England, 2019; see @NESnmahp tweets on August 20 about “delivering digital groups”). Traditionally taught and delivered in a face to face setting, there is potential to mobilise occupational therapy groups either in part, as a whole or create a new group (e.g. to address the long covid population) online.  This could lead to additional innovate practice lead by occupational therapists for the benefit of our clients.  However, it cannot be assumed the client has the same digital access.  The clients digital skills, access to training equipment, platforms and reliable internet can all become barriers to access. It could be argued the therapists role is to explore this and enable access to the online group as well as providing the group itself. 

My interest in this area has come from delivering a module which contained groupwork, to include current practice due to COVID-19.  In order to connect pre-registration students, and colleagues who may have experienced F2F groupwork in the past, and to share best practice, the questions for this evening #OTalk are: 

1. what groups are occupational therapy staff running online now for which client groups (either as a result of COVID-19, prior to, or intend to run in the future)? 

2. what platforms are occupational therapy staff using and why? 

3. what are the barriers to running online groups? How can navigate these? 

4. what are the differences of a face to face group to a virtual group re: preparation and running? 

5. Under the NHS England (2020) and HEE (2020) definition of TECS: what would you define your group as (telehealth, telemedicine, teleconsultation etc) and why. 

6.What do you include in your risk assessment about the digital environment/ online groups (as if with F2F groupwork, you would have a risk assessment) 

By Sam Pywell, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy @ The University of Central Lancashire, Preston. #AHPsintoAction #digitalAHPs #mobilisethedigitalOT #UCLanOT @UCLanOT 


NHS England (2019) A digital framework for allied health professionals https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/a-digital-framework-for-allied-health-professionals/ 

HEE (2020) Rapid Expansion of AHP placements: Simulation and Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) webinar  

NHS England (2020) Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) https://www.eng

#OTalk Research 6th October 2020 – Reflexivity in Research

Welcome to this weeks #OTalk Research. I am Sarah Lawson, (@SLawsonOT) a PhD Candidate, Lecturer Practitioner at Wrexham Glyndwr University and co-author of TRAMmCPD. I am carrying out a qualitative study and one of the things I am grappling with is the concept of reflexivity. I am interested to explore the concept and hear your thoughts on this important aspect of research.

Being reflexive within our research is integral to the research process at any level. As researchers we are constructing and creating knowledge through a process of interpretation (Braun and Clarke 2019) which is based on our own values, assumptions, biases, social and cultural contexts (Creswell and Creswell 2018; Etherington 2004; Finlay and Gough 2003) . These aspects also influence our choice of research topic, paradigms, methodology and methods. Our reality is socially and personally
constructed and being reflexive is a crucial, ongoing and active process which may be challenging but is necessary to provide context, and tackle concepts such as validity, trustworthiness and reliability within our research (Clancy 2013) .

Within qualitative research researcher subjectivity through reflexivity may be considered as positive rather than negative although as with many areas within research this is often contested. To explore reflexivity further we would like to consider the following questions within this chat:

Q. 1 Can you share any experiences of reflexivity and/or the types of studies in which you have experienced reflexivity being used?
Q.2 What do you understand to be the difference between reflective practice and reflexivity?
Q. 3 How have you recorded or demonstrated reflexivity or observed it being demonstrated?
Q. 4 How has reflexivity added to your study or research you are familiar with?
Q.5 What do you find challenging about ‘reflexivity’?
Q. 6 What do you need to consider next? How will you use what you have learnt from this #OTalk?

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2019) Reflecting on Reflexive Thematic Analysis. Qualitative research in sport,
exercise and health. 11 (4) pp. 589-597.
Clancy, M. (2013) Is Reflexivity the Key to Minimising Problems of Interpretation in
Phenomenological Research? Nurse Researcher. 20 (6) pp. 12-16.
Creswell, J.W. & Creswell, D. (2018) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative & Mixed Methods
Approaches 5th Ed. London: Sage Publications.
Etherington, K. (2004) Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Ourselves in Research. London: Jessica
Kingsley Publishers.
Finlay, L. & Gough, B. (2003) Reflexivity: A Practical Guide for Researchers in Health and Social
Sciences. Oxford: Blackwell.