#OTalk Research – Tuesday 4th April 2017

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of how NHS R&D departments can help occupational therapists and will be hosted by Prof Susan Corr, Head of Research and Development at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (@LPTresearch).


Here is what Susan had to say…


I took up my post at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2013 after many years as an occupational therapy academic and researcher. I thought it a great opportunity to enable clinical staff to become research active and support the development of clinical academic roles across all healthcare professions.

Being research active in an NHS organisation comes in many guises mainly conducting, facilitating and/or implementing research.

Many NHS staff conduct research, often for the purposes of obtaining a qualification but also there are now many more staff aware that a clinical academic career pathway is a possibility for allied health professionals and nurses. NHS R&D departments can support these staff with all aspects of undertaking research including study design, grant writing, establishing academic partners and obtaining necessary approvals.

Most NHS Trusts support studies that are on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), in that they have staff funded by the NIHR to enable service users and carers to be participants in national and international studies. Clinical staff can play a key role in facilitating this research in many ways including from taking on the role of local Principal Investigator for a study that offers their service users the opportunity to participate to handing out leaflets about studies. All these studies come to services through Trust R&D departments.

Accessing, critically appraising and utilising evidence in the workplace is key to ensuring care is high quality evidence based. NHS R&D departments can signpost staff to library facilities but may also deliver training or facilitate team discussions that help services to set up their own journal clubs for example. They may also host research events where recently conducted research is shared enabling clinical staff to learn about studies and discuss how to implement findings.


During this chat I would like to consider the following:


  1. What worked well when asking NHS R&D for support when conducting research?
  2. Service users consider research to be the ‘zone of hope’. How would you respond if asked what studies are happening locally?
  3. What helps utilising your/colleagues critical appraisal skills to discuss and implement research in your service?
  4. If you arranged a meeting with your Trusts R&D dept what would be your burning question/need?


Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1,460,757 Impressions
327 Tweets
24 Participants
262 Avg Tweets/Hour
14 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk OTea Party Time! 28th March 2017

This week we thought it was time we had a bit of a party….

OTea Party

Some questions to get you thinking…..

What inspired you to be an occupational therapist?
What do you admire in other occupational therapists?
What makes a good occupational therapist?
What do you like, love and loathe about occupational therapy?
We look forward to you joining us for our #OTalk OTea Party.

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1,487,608 Impressions
500 Tweets
51 Participants
400 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk Tuesday 21st March OT Interview Clinic


This week the plan is to engage in an OT interview clinic, if your looking to get your first OT post, your next job, or you think you have some good tips and hints to share with others,  please consider joining in Tuesday 21st on March 2017 at 8pm GMT.

Here are a few good blogs to read in preparation for Tuesdays chat,



Topics to think about ready for the chat

  1. Application – the do’s and don’ts
  2. Your social media profiles – what can future employers find out about you?
  3. Pre interview contact / visit what should i do?
  4. Preparation
  5. What to wear
  6. The questions
  7. Using feedback productively

Throughout the chat I’ll be posting my top ten tips for interviews.

Rachel @OT_rach

#OTalk 14th March – What does it mean to be professional?

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of professionalism and will be hosted by Sarah Lawson (@SlawsonOT).

Here is what Sarah had to say…

As I write this post in January 2017 I am beginning my Post Graduate MPhil/PhD journey researching continuing professional development and TRAMmCPD (www.TRAMmCPD.com/). In September 2016 I began lecturing to occupational therapy students at Glyndwr University. My first few lectures included ‘Introduction to Professional Practice’ and ‘Social Media in a Professional Context’.

I have spent 6 years working as a community Occupational Therapist in social care alongside being a member of the TRAMmCPD team, I am also Regional Forum Lead for the North-West Region of the College of Occupational Therapist, as well as being a partner, mother, daughter … I may be a glutton for punishment!

In preparation for my lecturing and research I have been reading and reflecting on what it means to be ‘Professional’ particularly as a health and care professional. Having reviewed the Health and Care Professions (HCPC) website for ‘fitness to practice’ investigations and ‘press releases’ it appears that some health and care professionals struggle to be ‘Professional’. I am intrigued to know if students/new graduates understood/understand what being an occupational therapist meant/means in terms of professionalism before they applied to be an under graduate.

Although wary, I am keen to involve my students in conversations and debates on social media, to encourage their interactions with the #otalk community which in my experience is a great forum to showcase ‘Professionalism’ and for them to consider what it means to be ‘Professional’ across all aspects of conduct, ethics, performance and social media use.

I am hoping to encourage occupational therapy tutors and students from Glyndwr University to participate or lurk in this chat, for some it will be their first time. As part of future lectures, on Reflection, Social Media use and developing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio I am hoping to use #otalk for examples of how to record and reflect on participation as part of CPD.

During this chat I would like to consider the following:

As a student or new graduate 

  1. How did/do you feel about the expectations placed upon you as a health and care professional? (Ethics/Conduct/Social Media etc)
  1. Were you aware of the expectations before you became an under graduate?

3.  Have/do you struggle with what is considered to be professional and/or personal?

  1. Is there anything you think may help you?

As a Practitioner/Educator/Academic

  1. Do you think the concept of being a Professional has changed or evolved? If so, how?
  1. Are there still aspects you struggle with or are unclear of?
  1. Are you aware of the following updated documents and what has now been included/changed?

post chat

online Transcript

The Numbers

872,182 Impressions
499 Tweets
59 Participants
399 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


Making Your Own Wellbeing #OTalk 28th February 2017

This Tuesdays #OTalk will focus on how making something can have a positive impact on your wellbeing and that of your service users. I was recently doing some coaching with a friend and this process encouraged me to stop putting it off, stop finding reasons not to do it and find more life balance and resume crafting with a view to improving my own wellbeing. I have started #ThisMonthsMake with the view to making one thing each month and if you would like to join please do.

When planning this talk I searched the definition of “Making” and found more than just the process of producing something. There were words like: ingredients, potential, invention, forging and so on. I particularly like the idea of possessing the right ingredients to forge one’s own well being. What I like about making things is the process of learning, getting lost in flow and having something tangible as an end result.

I haven’t hosted a chat in a while so I may be a little rusty! I’m also noting that its pancake day, so if you’re making pancakes please reflect on how this process made you feel,

Some interesting pre reading-





  1. Do you engage in “making” or creative occupations? If yes what do you do? If no, why?
  2. How does making something make you feel?
  3. What are the barriers and enablers to making things?
  4. What are some of the skills “ingredients” needed to forge our own wellbeing? How can we build this in OT?
  5. Are you able to use “making” in your practice as an OT? How? Why? Why not?
  6. Do you think you could try to make something every month and reflect on whether this improves your wellbeing?
  7. How do you think we could measure improvement?


Post chat

Online transcript

The Numbers
1,040,826 Impressions
456 Tweets
46 Participants
365 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 21st February – Stress and burnout.

This weeks chat is on the topic of stress and burnout and is hosted by Samantha Tavender (@SamOTantha).

Burnout is a stress-related syndrome that often affects professionals working in emotionally loaded and highly interpersonal environments (Volpe et al, 2014).

The term ‘Burnout’ is a multidimensional concept which was originally introduced by Freudenberger (1974), which consists of emotional/ physical exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of feelings of personal accomplishment following a prolonged exposure to stress in the workplace.

Burnout is associated with low job satisfaction, higher staff turnover rates, sickness absence and poorer consumer outcomes (Scanlan and Still 2013). It is therefore in everyone’s vested interest for occupational therapists to make themselves aware of stress and burnout and how to reduce stress and what factors in the work environment may induce stress or burnout.

“One of the main coping strategies for managing stress and burnout is recognizing stress – to develop coping strategies we must first understand stress and burnout” (Scanlan & Still 2013).

Stress inducing factors:

Seeing little positive change or no change in service users over time:

Caseload Size:

Organizational Procedures:

Team Climate:

Stress reducing:

Strong Professional Identity and Professional Resilience:


Reflection and Recognizing signs of stress:

The first aim of the chat will be to address this issue and allow participants a chance to reflect on there own stress levels/ early warning signs.

 What is does stress and burnout mean to you?

what are the signs of stress and how can you tell that you are stressed?

 The second aim of the chat will be to focus on ways in which occupational therapists can reduce stress, and prevent burnout.

How do you manage stress inducing factors such as large caseloads and organizational procedures?

How do you maintain your professional identity within the MDT?

How do you look after emotions after a difficult day?

How do you make the most out of supervision?

What are your self care top tips

References and relevant articles:

Ashby, S.E., Ryan, S., Gray, M. and James, C., 2013. Factors that influence the professional resilience of occupational therapists in mental health practice. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal60(2), pp.110-119.

Brice, H.E., 2001. Working with adults with enduring mental illness: Emotional demands experienced by occupational therapists and the coping strategies they employ. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy64(4), pp.175-183.

Brown, G.T. and Pranger, T., 1992. Predictors of burnout for psychiatric occupational therapy personnel. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy59(5), pp.258-267.

Edwards, D. and Burnard, P., 2003. A systematic review of the effects of stress and coping strategies used by occupational therapists working in mental health settings. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy66(8), pp.345-355.

Freudenberger, H.J., 1974. Staff burn‐out. Journal of social issues30(1), pp.159-165.

Scanlan, J.N. and Still, M., 2013. Job satisfaction, burnout and turnover intention in occupational therapists working in mental health. Australian occupational therapy journal60(5), pp.310-318.

Volpe, U., Luciano, M., Palumbo, C., Sampogna, G., Del Vecchio, V. and Fiorillo, A., 2014. Risk of burnout among early career mental health professionals. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing21(9), pp.774-781.


Online Transcript

The Numbers

1,502,522 Impressions
570 Tweets
44 Participants
456 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 14th February – Media Club “Beyond Winning”

This week #OTalk is a media club and is being hosted by Bill Wong (@BillwongOT).

 The subject is “Beyond Winning By Janet O’Shea at TEDxUCLA” and the video can be accessed below


 Here is what Bill had to say about his topic;

For you #otalk regulars, some of you might have read that I will be doing a TEDx Talk for a second time in March 2017. In preparation for the vibe of this historic moment in OT, I have decided to go on a listening binge on non-OT TED Talks. By doing so, I thought it will be awesome to do a change of pace of my typical media club content, as I will use a TED Talk by a non-OT and use our OT lens to discuss the topic shared by these speakers.

For those of you who know me, I am a highly competitive person, especially in things I believe I am either at least decent at or I want to be good at. In my early OT career, I dreaded losing, as I only had winning in mind. Losing gracefully was very hard for me. (Some of you might have noticed my bitter Facebook statuses I made when I lost out on a meaningful opportunities in OT at that point of time.) The fact that I lose or got rejected more often than not in such situations made things worse. At that time, I remembered I wished, “If someone can just give me an opportunity, it will erase all the disappointments I accumulated over the years.” Not surprisingly, because of how I handled losing relatively poorly (since I vented on social media a lot back then), I got a fair share of constructive criticism from my peers.

Fast forward to now, I still am a competitive person. However, I have learned to handle losing more gracefully when I miss out on meaningful opportunities in OT. Instead of lamenting and expressing my disappointments on social media, I have learned to put things in perspective. Sure, having some awesome accomplishments since then has helped. But, I began to accept sometimes that moral victories are just as good, if not better than physical victories. I also have learned that great champions not only know how to win, but also how to lose.

An example of which was a difference in how I viewed opportunities from AOTA to further my CPD and CV. As recently as 2 years ago, I heard quite a bit of peers saying that I deserved to make the Emerging Leaders Development Programs because they believed I was a strong candidate for it. In addition, some of my friends who made that program wondered why I got snubbed by the process 3 times. As I am a competitive person, my mindset was “Emerging Leaders or bust”. Each time I received a rejection letter, I would almost cry in disappointment and wondered I wasn’t good enough. Although I would get over such disappointments in a day, I would make posts on Facebook about how disappointed I was.

Looking back, I realized I focused too much on the near-sighted results. Because of that, I completely overlooked the process I went through to put myself in position to compete for such things. I also overlooked that I was very resilient in trying to come back for more, in terms of going for opportunities in OT that don’t always have 100% success rate. Finally, I realized that the actual outcomes have little or no bearing on whether my peers view I am successful. Simply put, I was like a beauty conscious peacock.

Now, although I still feel some disappointment whenever my peers have opportunities to do things I wanted to do in OT, I have learned to move on without letting my disappointments dwell in my mind instead. I also constantly reminded myself that my attempts were already moral victories. One example of which was that I had none of my conference abstracts accepted for the 2017 AOTA conference, which is probably the AOTA conference with the most historical significance in this generation for OT students and practitioners. The old me would have been throwing tantrums on Facebook. The new me simply just told myself, “All I can do is try. There is always next year. Besides, since I go to so many conferences nowadays, you have more chances to succeed.” I was really proud of myself on handling such disappointments with grace in this instance, and my peers have noted my improvements in handling such situations now than a few years ago.

Bottom line, winning is not everything! Enjoying the process and experience is far more important. So, here are some discussion questions.

  1. On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 = not important at all; and 10 = it means the world), how much do you value winning as a kid? Why?
  1. Using the same scale, has anything changed now? If so, why so? If not, why not?
  1. What do you think of play’s significance across our lifespans?
  1. As OT students and practitioners, what can we do to help our clients to not get too caught up with winning across the lifespan?

 Post Chat

online transcript

The Numbers

1,222,059 Impressions
428 Tweets
57 Participants
342 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants