"Nat Jones, who trained at Sheffield Hallam came to talk to us about Professional Leadership.
She gave us an interesting insight into her life experiences and career as an occupational therapist. As an OT there are lots of definitions to choose from and we are constantly challenged to define our role. Nat spoke about when describing what OT is to someone it is best to speak 'from the heart' and keep it real and meaningful in terms of what your experience is of it and what it means to you.
Nat spoke passionately about seeking opportunities to promote OT as a profession though getting involved with specialist organisations and professional bodies such as SOTCA (Sheffield occupational therapy clinical academics). This builds confidence and helps build your leadership skills, which are important when it come to influencing others positively as an OT.
Nat told the story of how she applied to the research and development board for RCOT with little confidence in her abilities initially only to find she had so much to offer the role and developed so much from it. She urges occupational therapists and students to take chance and apply for things even if they doubt their capabilities. By engaging in these opportunities you yourself are building the occupational therapy profession.
Nat advises bringing occupations into your work will enhance the therapeutic role with clients and reminds how important occupation is to connect to culture and our own personal worlds. Having your own occupations and skills can be useful to bring into practice.
In 2011 Nat began research of her own exploring how Nintendo Wii can benefit upper limb rehabilitation. From here she did her masters in clinical research and went to Utah to teach about the NHS and stroke rehabilitation. She described one of the main highlights of her career (when asked) as meeting HRH Princess Anne who is now the patron for RCOT.
Through telling her story Nat illustrated how taking one opportunity can lead to another and unexpected things can happen! So remember to stay connected with other occupational therapy groups and no matter how much you may doubt yourself always apply for different opportunities and challenges as you never know where they might lead!
To find out more about building research capacity in clinical settings visit: http://www.catch.org.uk/