#OTalk 22nd Oct 2019 – Transition from Clinician to Academic

This week  Bill Wong @BillWongOT his hosting this is what he has to say.

When I started occupational therapy school in 2009, my instructors thought I would be a researcher because of my statistics background. They thought I could be a great person to consult for in developing powerful quantitative evidence based assessments. They thought I could be a great scientist our profession need badly. Little did my former instructors know, I contributed in our profession in other ways even though I just started in academia earlier in 2019.

During my student days, I was not too confident in my clinical abilities. My expertise in autism was still developing. After I had great confidence that I would pass my first placement towards my license in California, I applied to attend the clinical doctorate program at University of Southern California (USC). During the second placement a few months later, I found out that I was conditionally accepted to the program. As I became confident that I would pass that placement, I started reading about past capstone projects on the department’s website. The idea that quickly jumped to my mind was by one of my former instructors- as she developed a course for her capstone project. Then, I asked my network of peers who went through the same program recently. I found out that my preceptor (aka project consultant) can provide remote supervision would only need to supervise me on an as needed basis. Thus, it became a slam-dunk decision for me to do my capstone project on an autism course.

When I met USC OT department’s faculty to verify what I have learned and proposed my initial idea, the department gave me the approval for the course development as a capstone project. As a condition for the academic year, I must acquire teaching experience and read at least 20 related books on autism- notably autobiographies. I was elated because it was a project that would be meaningful to me while increasing my likelihood to successfully complete the clinical doctorate degree. I ended up finding @OTSalfordUni as my preceptor after consulting the #otalk crew 7 years ago.

In 2012, one of my biggest hurdles was public speaking. I had bouts of struggles with doing presentations for OT school. I remembered I told myself, “I need to be good at something. If I want to go far with autism in OT, I must be at least adequate in public speaking. Sure, I can write awesome courses on paper. But, I will stunt my potential if I can’t deliver.

Over the years, I submitted to various OT conferences to build up my confidence. I reflected on my performance of each experience. Over time, my confidence improved. My TEDx Talk at TEDxGrandForks in 2015 was a key building block for my confidence because I could deliver speeches under immense pressure. My TEDx Talk at TEDxYouth@AlamitosBay in 2017 was another building block because it was my first time I had any courage to publicly speak about subjects other than my go-to OT topics in such a high stakes environment.

In late 2018, I decided to apply for a couple faculty positions around Los Angeles OT and OT assistant programs. I was rejected by a masters of OT program. However, I was invited to interview for an OT assistant program. Given that I am autistic, I knew it is important to be as prepared as possible for my interview. Fortunately, I was able to ace the interview even though it was unexpectedly rescheduled. 

Going into this “slow transition” for almost a year now, I have observed a few things.

1. When you guest lecture, you do your lecture and move on. However, when you formally have a class of students for at least one academic term, you need to put them in positions to succeed in the classroom and out in the field.

2. You must learn your institution and department’s academic policies. You must also be aware of rights of students who might require reasonable accommodations. Since I am in the United States, this means I must be aware of Americans with Disabilities Act.

3. If teaching is your secondary job, you must find ways to have it co-exist with your primary job. You need to maintain constant communication with your primary job’s employer regarding teaching schedule.

4. If you are unfamiliar with a prospective uni that you are interested in teaching, taking placement students from that uni can be wonderful opportunities to get more insights to the uni’s courses and culture.

5. Teaching is a small world! News can spread within a department quickly! 2 days after my interview at Stanbridge University’s Los Angeles campus, the placement coordinator from its Irvine campus was aware that I interviewed for an adjunct faculty position! Then, when I went to my first day of orientation at the Irvine campus, I recognized half of the OT faculty from the university because I met them at various conferences over the years!

6. Before I started teaching, @shawnPhippsPhD gave me this advice, “You may have to teach something in a subject that you might be uncomfortable with.” This advice couldn’t ring more true with my teaching assignment this year. To be honest, physical disabilities is one of my worst subjects in OT school. To teach a lab course on this is actually quite a challenge!

7. It has been quite a learning experience for me to grade students! Consistent and fair are qualities students are looking for. Out of the 3 practicals I graded so far, I have 2-4 students requesting me to adjust their grades due to inconsistencies. While I strived for no more of such instances, at least my students appreciated that I try my best to strive to be consistent.

8. It is important to keep professional boundaries between you and your students on social media, as eluded in previous #otalk discussions. I allow my students to follow me on Instagram because the school’s student organization (aka OT society) has an account.

On my final note before my questions, I have come to appreciate my former instructors a lot more. It is not as easy to teach OT subjects as it seems. Academia is more than just teaching a course or understanding university policies, it is also important in building rapport with students and fellow faculty.

Now, here are my questions for everyone-

1. Are you a student or a practitioner? Are you in academia right now?

2. If you are in academia now, what led you to be interested in it? What are some common myths associated with academia?

3. If you are not in academia now, what led you to be away from it? If there are things that could entice you to work in academia in the future, what are they?

4. What are some tips for either practitioners transitioning to academia, or students preparing for their futures in academia?

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#OTalk 15th Oct 2019 The Elizabeth Casson Trust launch of their International Scholarship award. 

This week the chat will be hosted by The Elizabeth Casson Trust who are proud to announce the launch of their International Scholarship award. 

Earlier this year, The Elizabeth Casson Trust launched their Conference Awards. These were designed to enable Occupational Therapists to attend an occupation focussed conference within the UK, either as part of their ongoing learning or in order to present their work.  So far, the conference awards have funded 40 individuals to attend national and international conferences. The feedback we have received from recipients has been very positive with great enthusiasm and ideas on what to take back to practice.

We are now launching our International Scholarship providing successful scholars an opportunity to reorient their careers and lift themselves to a higher professional level.

Our future plans also include the launch of an impact award. 

Aim of the Twitter chat

  • We aim to introduce these awards 
  • Give individuals a chance to explore ways in which the grants could be best used
  • Provide guidance on how to compile a successful application
  • Answer any questions.

Some questions to consider 

  • How could I use the opportunity?
  • What tips do you have for a successful application? 
  • What are the post scholarship expectations?
  • What other opportunities and future awards are the trust considering?
  • Is this opportunity for me?

 

  • What will the international scholarship funding cover?
  • What support will I have while I am away?
  • Which countries could I plan to visit on my itinerary?

 

#OTalk 8th Oct 2019 – Occupational Therapy and Work

This week the RCOT Specialist Section for work @RCOT_Work will be hosting here is what thy had to say.

Work is one of the most significant determinants of health and life expectancy. Occupational therapists can give people the skills, belief and confidence to remain in or return to work, which benefits their longer-term health outcomes.

Workers who are injured or become ill on the job are best able to return-to-work or stay in work when stakeholders (occupational therapist, client and line manager or HR department) involved in their case collaborate and communicate.

In our experience particular communication challenges include managing how our feedback is delivered to client’s with limited insight in a way that is honest but preserves their wellbeing, as well as how to share information with the client’s workplace in a way that preserves dignity and trust whilst being robust, relevant and applicable in order for the employer to gain awareness of the client’s condition.

In this OTalk we would like to hear from other OTs working in the field of occupational health or vocational rehabilitation about their experience of managing these difficulties by asking the following questions:

  1. How can we facilitate a return to work for a client with poor insight?
  2. What methods have you used to give honest feedback to the employer in work meetings whilst maintaining the client’s trust?
  3. How do you manage risk when things don’t go to plan?
  4. How do you stay up to date with the latest evidence?
  5. Final thoughts, any additional resources you would like to share.

The RCOT Specialist Section for work hope that information shared within this discussion allows participants to expand their knowledge and awareness about this growing field of practice.

#OTalk Research blog Tuesday 1st October 2019: Jane Horne R&D Lead for the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section Neurological Practice.

 

This week Jane Horne will be hosting the chat from the @RCOT_NP account (RCOT Specialist Section for Neurological Practice).  Jane has been the Research and Development lead on the National Executive Committee for six years.  About to complete her term of office, the opportunity to facilitate this week’s #OTalk is timely. Shaping the growth and development of the specialist sections research and development roles, is key to ensure members have the opportunity to easily access research activities in their area of expertise. Ultimately, leading to a research active community.

The  Royal College of Occupational Therapy’s strategic, two year, research and review is drawing to a close and will culminate in the publication of a New RCOT Research and Development Strategy 2019-2024 (Autumn 2019). The strategy aims to inform, guide and direct the development of research in the occupational therapy profession in the UK.

Capturing members ideas on how we work together to achieve the overall aim of building a culture of research capacity within our profession, is essential. Using the best evidence to provide effective and efficient occupational therapy to deliver best practice, for the benefit of the people we treat, is why we do the jobs we do.

‘When clinicians and healthcare organisations engage with research there is the likelihood of improvement in their health care performance, even when that has not been the primary aim of the research.’ (1)

Occupational Therapists have a professional duty to use national guidelines to underpin daily practice and engage in research.  However, in reality, our busy clinical working lives often prevent us from doing this. It is easy to see research as a separate entity, something that academics do, and not that relevant when you are managing a busy caseload or service.

The aim of this #OTalk is to explore how specialist sections might help you navigate through this research agenda.  What can the specialist sections do for you? What do they do already that you may not be aware of?  Exploring how to better connect with our members to help them to develop their skills and knowledge in research and research activities, is important. Your thoughts and opinions would help guide our activities and help you to get the most out of your membership.

 

Here are some questions to consider during #OTalk chat to help facilitate discussion:

Are you aware that the specialist sections can help you access their membership for the purpose of identifying research participants for ethically approved studies?  Anyone had any experiencethey would like to share?  
What would make you more confident to conduct research in your locality/area of expertise?
Some specialist sections offer research grants.  How best could we use this funding to develop occupational therapy research capacity?
How would you like to see specialist section support early career researchers?
Some specialist sections successfully conduct an ejournal clubs, providing network opportunities and developingknowledge of the evidence. Is this type of activity something that interests you?  Have you been a participant, what was your experience?
What other ideas do you have for projects that might develop your research skills?
What can the specialist sections do better to help you to engage in a research agenda?
What are the benefits of raising our research profile?
What do we need to do next?

References:

 

1.Boaz A, Hanney S, Jones T, Soper B. Does the engagement of clinicians and organisations in research improve healthcare performance: a three-stage review. BMJ open. 2015;5(12):e009415.

#OTalk 24th Sep 2019 – Spatial Inattention

This week Ailie Turton and Louise Clark will be hosting the chat from the @RCOT_NP account (RCOT Specialist session for Neurologic Practice.) Here’s what they have to say,

Unilateral spatial inattention (often referred to as ‘neglect’) is a common cognitive effect of stroke. Spatial inattention will be the preferred term used in this #OTalk as ‘neglect’ is not liked by people who have personal experience of the problem.

The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) 26% of stroke admissions screened positive for spatial inattention. It is a syndrome of impaired spatial awareness, in which patients have difficulty directing attention to one side; affecting their awareness of the body or the environment. Presence of spatial inattention in the early weeks is associated with poor long-term outcomes with decreased likelihood of living independently, increasing burden on informal carers and economic costs.

It is frequently Occupational Therapists in stroke teams who identify the presence of spatial inattention. Subsequently they may be influential in determining the therapy provision for those patients. They will also be able to put into place treatments and compensatory strategies to help some patients with poor attention.

The aim of this #OTalk is to explore how spatial inattention is identified, how it effects therapy provision, and what strategies Occupational Therapists use to help patients with spatial inattention to overcome their inattention and improve their independence in activities.

This #OTalk has been hosted by Ailie Turton and Louise Clark from the Stroke Forum of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section for Neurological practice, in response to member feedback for topics. We hope you enjoy it and carry on the conversations in your workplace.

Questions:

How do you explain spatial inattention to patients/family and are there any resources you use to assist this?

How do you think spatial inattention or spatial neglect affects engagement in Occupational Therapy?

How do you screen or assess patients for spatial inattention?

What strategies and interventions do you use to help people to attend to their body or space around them?
We would ask participants to look out for 3 short feedback questions posted with the transcript in the week following this #OTalk. We’d really appreciate your feedback in helping us evaluate and plan our sessions.

Ailie Turton and Louise Clark

Post Chat updates:

Online transcript click here

PDF of transcript #OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript September 24th 2019

The Numbers

1.022MImpressions
275Tweets
52Participants

#OTalk 17th Sep 2019 – Stigma – Intervention into toxic environments

This weeks #OTalk will be hosted by Keir Harding – @Keirwales
stigma

noun

noun: stigma; plural noun: stigmas; plural noun: stigmata

“a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”

On October 3rd the study day “Occupational Therapy and the Diagnosis of Personality Disorder” takes place in London.Personality Disorder is an interesting diagnosis in many ways, not least because of the amount of stigma associated with it.This #OTalk is based on one of the sessions taking place that day.

As occupational therapists, we are encouraged to look at the things people want to do, need to do and are capable of doing (Volition, Habituation and Skills).We also consider how the environment either supports or inhibits a persons ability to function.While it’s easy to pay attention to the physical environment and consider how it can be adapted, this is less obvious in the social environment.

In this #Otalk I’m going to suggest that stigma, prejudice and discrimination is a toxic part of the social environment that severely inhibits functioning.It has the potential to attach to a variety of people (normally disempowered minorities) with the effect of shaping staff attitudes and thus their ability to support those in their care.Equally the way that the environment responds to us will shape how we think about ourselves, others and the world with a profound effect on the occupations we are able to engage in.While my interest is predominately in mental health I’m very interested in this concept within the whole of healthcare.

On the night we will consider:

1 What do we think of the idea that Stigma is part of the social environment?

2 How do we see Stigma played out in our work environment? What is done? What isn’t done? What gets said?

3 What is the impact of stigma on those we are supposed to care for?
4 What is the impact on us and the staff we work with?

5 How do we adapt the social environment to facilitate optimal functioning? How do we challenge stigma?Is this a core part of our role?

If my dastardly plans come to fruition, we will all leave this talk convinced that an awareness of stigma and a determination to challenge it is a vital role for OTs. We should also have picked up a few tools to ensure that we have the best chance of success.

You can book onto the study day here:

There’s discounted places for service users. Let @Keirwales know you booked because you saw it on #otalk and he will give you a gift card for a coffee shop.

Post chat updates:

#OTalk 10th Sep 2019 – Supervision – what’s the point?

My name is Margaret Spencer @margaretOT360 I have been qualified for almost 35 years, and I am as passionate, motivated and enthusiastic about the profession as I was when I started my training in 1982.

I work a couple of days a week as a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, and the rest of the time I provide occupational therapy professional supervision. I also run relationships and sexuality workshops for Love2meetu a dating agency for people with learning disabilities. It’s safe to say occupational therapy is the lens through which I view life.

In the early years of my career, I spent a whole year without seeing or talking to another occupational therapist(it was before technology arrived). I delivered occupational therapy in a day centre in Peterborough. After a year as a band 5, all the other qualified Occupational Therapy staff (3) moved on and I was left to manage 15 occupational therapy support staff, delivering a service to 50 people with a learning disability. I was 22 and it was a baptism of fire that I survived.

When I finally had professional supervision I had been qualified for over five years, had moved jobs and locations 3 times.These days thankfully we should all be having regular supervision, I now pay for my own invaluable supervision.

I deliver professional supervision to over 60 occupational therapists, from every different clinical background you can think of, right across the country from Aberdeen to Guernsey. They include newly qualified band 5’s to Directors of Services. Each supervision session is unique, in frequency, duration and content. At the heart of every session is the high standard delivery of occupational therapy.

I use the Proctor model of supervision which covers the normative, formative and restorative aspects of professional life. So supervision for my occupational therapists is a safe space to reflect, off load, regroup, explore problems, identify solutions, explore work life balance, review current standards of practice and guidelines and have their clinical work linked to HCPC standards.

Working with Occupational Therapists, undertaking on the University of Derby and Sheffield Hallam University APPLE placement educator training course, as part of the workshop activity we looked at the use of supervision within placements, the educators were asked to identify, from their personal experiences, what they saw as positive supervision experiences and best practice and then to identify poor experiences and things to be avoided. This information was gathered from educators over three courses and was reviewed to identify themes.

The themes relating to best practice identified were the need for it to be positive

and motivating, organised, to be developmental, for there to be good communication, for it to be given dedicated time and take place in an appropriate environment.

The themes relating to poor supervision, with themes identified around supervision being negative and critical, unstructured, not being prioritised and given time or being cancelled, there being poor communication and taking place in inappropriate environments. Further issues included breaches of confidentiality and an imbalance of power.

Questions

  1. How often do you have professional supervision, and how long does your session last?
  1. What is the most important thing to you about having professional supervision?
  1. What do you see as the difference between mentoring and supervision?
  1. Do you use a model to underpin your supervision?

 

  1. How does having regular supervision make a difference to your practice?
  1. Does it make an difference having supervision from another person who is not an occupational therapist?
  1. How do you link the outcomes of supervision to your HCPC requirements?

Post chat updates

Online transcript here

PDF of transcript:

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript September 10th 2019

The Numbers

1.457MImpressions
432Tweets
63Participants

#OTalk Participants

References

Davys A and Beddoe L (2010) Best Practice in Professional Supervision A Guide for the Helping Professions Jessica Kingsley Publishers London

Hawkins P and Shohert (2012) Supervision in the Helping Professions fourth edition Open University Press Maidenhead

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) (2017) Continuing Professional Development and Your Registration. London: Health and Care Professions Council

Healey J and Spencer M (2008) Surviving your placement in Health and Social Care

A Student Handbook Open University Press Maidenhead

Thomas N T (2013) Solution-Focused Supervision A Resource-Orientated Approach to Developing Clinical Expertise Springer New York