Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Interview with the Wonderful Claire Craig



This summer the SHOUT team had the opportunity to interview Sheffield Hallam University lecturer Claire Craig about her work at the university and Lab4Living. Over a quick cup of coffee before dashing off to a meeting, she discussed her research, talked about the thrill of receiving the COT Fellowship Award at this year's annual COT Conference and offered advice for students on conducting their own research.
  

Claire is part of the Active Aging project with Professor Gail Mountain, a community-based multi-million pound control trial intervention - the idea came from American research and has been translated for European use. 

Claire is also involved in the Euro-Education: Employability for All project, which looks at the role of OT education and aims to promote social change amongst disadvantaged groups in relation to work. Claire and an international team hastily wrote the bid for the £250,000 teaching grant over a weekend in Berlin - despite the exciting sounds and smells of the city drifting in through the hotel window, she regrets that there was no time to sightsee... 

And, as if that wasn't enough, Claire is working on Engaging Aging: practice-based research methods using art as a method of data collection, by using photography or children's drawings. Its an expression of what people have told them about their environments and their experiences, using critical articfacts to embody this. This project is now expanding to reach everybody, using the principle of "A Museum in a Box" to take the exhibiton Europe-wide, as Claire explains in more detail in the interview. 

Despite her huge success, Claire says that not everything has worked in the past but that she believes its important not to be overcautious in OT and not to worry if sometimes things don't work out as planned. 

"We're inventing the history of OT as we speak! It's an emergent profession, we're not there yet... but that's what is exciting about OT. We're not stuck like other professions." 

Claire says that what excites her most is seeing students take up this baton of enquiry, development and research. 

"Students are the future, its my privilege to teach and encourage."


Claire with colleagues from the EEE for All project. Photo property of Linkoping University 
SHOUT: Which piece of research are you currently working on?

Claire: "At the moment I am working on a piece of research with Professor Paul Chamberlain called 'Exhibition in a Box' - the work is taking place across 21 countries and seeks to understand the experiences of older people in these countries. We are using something called practice-based research methods focusing on critical artefacts as a way to stimulate discussion and to help older people to identify and articulate what is important to them. This is building on a previous piece of work which used exhibition as a method of data collection. That work was really interesting as part of it took place on the Taipei underground with the Museum of Contemporary art!!"

SHOUT: Could you ever have imagined that your research would reach this scale?

Claire: (Laughing) "I see myself as a completely normal person and what it shows is that if you have an open mind you can see where it takes you and achieve anything. When I first started researching, I felt that I would be rubbish at it but I remember Gail Mountain's words to me: research is an apprenticeship."

SHOUT: What inspires you about being involved in this research?
Claire: "This is a really exciting project. I really value its participatory nature - focusing on the older person as the expert and the scale of the work across all those countries!! It has the potential to be so wide-reaching and I think it could lead to some very interesting insights. Research is all about generating new knowledge and this project could offer a really useful starting point to understand how the experiences of ageing differ across countries."

SHOUT: What impact do you hope this will have on the health and social care sphere and on older adults?

Claire: "I really hope that in undertaking the research we can begin to understand more about the role that design plays in relation to quality of life for older people. Work from previous research projects undertaken has led to the design of real products that can improve well-being and increase participation in valued occupations."



SHOUT: Are there any areas of OT that you specifically feel need more research?

Claire: "As occupational therapists we definitely need to be involved in as much research as possible - research to enable us to understand the factors that impact on occupational engagement, research to explore the efficacy of our interventions. If we are to really demonstrate the effectiveness of occupational therapy we need the evidence base."

SHOUT:  Do you think there should be a greater number of randomly controlled trials conducted on OT interventions?

Claire: "This question of randomly controlled trials conducted on occupational therapy interventions is a very interesting one. We do need RCTs because they are a currency that the medical research world (and health) understand. They can provide a specific type of information, conducted in a specific way where variables are controlled as far as possible. Professor Gail Mountain (an amazing occupational therapist) is currently involved in a number of these and is really leading the way. 

However, and this is a big however, it is important to also recognise that we work with people and occupation doesn't fit into a tightly controlled box. There is a place for RCTs but there is also a place for more qualitative and participatory forms of research which seek to understand experiences and also work in such a way as to place the locus of control with the individual. I would say that different research paradigms have their place and one isn't necessarily better than the other - it just depends on what you are wanting to find out. The trick then is choosing the right approach to fit your question."

SHOUT: What advice would you give to students conducting a piece of research?


Claire: "The best advice I ever had about undertaking research is that research is essentially an apprenticeship. Don't worry that you don't know everything there is to know. I work with some amazing researchers who have been doing research for a long, long time and even these amazing people tell me that they are still learning. I think that is what is so exciting about it!!"
SHOUT: Have there been any particular pieces of student research that have caught your attention?

Claire:  "I think that every piece of student research I have supervised has caught my attention!! Each one is so individual - the subject chosen, the methodology and methods adopted, the findings of the research and the conclusions that are drawn. As a tutor I am always learning which is a lovely thing to be able to say.
"

SHOUT: How did it feel to be honoured with the COT Fellowship Award?

Claire: "The COT fellowship was extraordinary. The letter came through the post, and I just thought it was my annual subscription - so when I opened it and realised I was receiving the highest accolade that an OT can receive I thought they must have the wrong person! I felt incredibly moved and honoured. I am OT through and through.
It was such a lovely ceremony too, being able to share this with all of your peers. There aren't words really. I just feel very proud to belong to such an amazing profession. I think we are very lucky.
"


Monday, 10 December 2012

SHU's Claire Craig Delivers Final SHOUT Event for 2012



With the festive season nearly upon us, we're getting ready for the final SHOUT event for 2012. This Wednesday, 12th December 2012, our very own Sheffield Hallam lecturer, Claire Craig, will be speaking about her two passions: design and OT.

Claire will be joined by her colleagues Professor Gail Mountain and Professor Paul Chamberlain from Lab4Living (www.lab4living.org.uk) to talk about 'Why Design and Occupational Therapy Go Together' and sharing some of the exciting work they have been doing.
The Lab4Living creative partnership brings together research expertise spanning the fields of health, rehabilitation, engineering, ergonomics and user-led design, to create environments and propose creative strategies for future living in which people of all ages and abilities are enabled and empowered to live with dignity, independence and fulfilment.

Their approach adopts a holistic, human-centred one rather than focusing solely on medical or social care provision and at the same time addresses issues of identity, individuality and spirituality.


To book your seat at this popular event please email shout.team@hotmail.co.uk and, unless you hear from us, please assume your place is booked.
 
The talk will take place in our usual venue - The Robert Winston Building on our Collegiate Crescent campus. 

Registration and light refreshments, including some seasonal treats, are from 5.30pm. 

The talk begins at 6.00pm with a comfort break at around 6.30pm. SHOUT events usually finish before 7.30pm.


Costs: £2.00 for students and BAOT members, £3.00 for non-members.

Following the event we will hold an informal reflection session - Wind Down Wednesday - at a pub on Ecclesall Road. Join us there to discuss and tweet your thoughts on the talk content and how it may
impact your practice.


More about Claire....

This summer we had the opportunity to interview Claire about her work at the university and Lab4Living. Over a quick cup of coffee before dashing off to a meeting, she discussed her research, talked about the thrill of receiving the Fellowship Award at this year's COT Conference and offered advice for students on evidence gathering.
  

Claire's projects

Claire is involved in the Active Aging project with Professor Gail Mountain, a community-based multi-million pound control trial intervention - the idea came from American research and has been translated for European use. 


Claire is also involved in the Euro-Education: Employability for All project, which looks at the role of OT education and aims to promote social change amongst disadvantaged groups in relation to work. Claire and an international team hastily wrote the bid for the £250,000 teaching grant over a weekend in Berlin - despite the exciting sounds and smells of the city drifting in through the hotel window, she regrets that there was no time to sightsee... 


And, as if that wasn't enough, Claire is working on Engaging Aging: practice-based research methods using art as a method of data collection, using photography or children's drawings. It is an expression of what people have told them about their environments and their experiences, using critical articfacts to embody this. This project is now expanding to reach everybody, using the principle of "A Museum in a Box" to take the exhibiton Europe-wide, as Claire explains in more detail in the interview. 


But what if it doesn't work?

Despite her huge success, Claire says that not everything has worked in the past but that she believes its important not to be overcautious in OT and not to worry if sometimes things don't work out as planned. 


"We're inventing the history of OT as we speak! It's an emergent profession, we're not there yet... but that's what is exciting about OT. We're not stuck like other professions." 

The future

Claire says that what excites her most is seeing students take up this baton of enquiry, development and research. "Students are the future, its my privilege to teach and encourage."

See tomorrow's blog post for our full interview with Claire....

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Happy OT Week!

This week has been OT Week, an opportunity for occupational therapists across the UK to celebrate and promote OT to the public and talk about the difference it makes to people's lives. Here at SHOUT we like to be active in sharing our passion about this wonderful career and the way it helps people to overcome barriers in their lives and do the things that matter to them. So join us for our next evening seminar this coming Wednesday to hear how OTs help people with mental health problems find their way into work.  

"It works! The role of occupational therapy in employment support for mental health services" with Jennifer Fraser, Keeley Cassinello, Michael Russon and Michelle Cook on Wednesday 14th November 2012.

To attend this event about vocational rehabilitation, email the shout team shout.team@hotmail.co.uk to book your seat. Registration and light refreshments are from 5.30pm, and the talk begins at 6pm. Students and BAOT £2, non-members £3.

And here's what we got up to at Colette Beecher's talk on Cognitive Rehabilitation Techniques back in October...


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

SHOUT Tonight: Colette Beecher on Cognitive Rehabilitation Techniques

Tonight, SHOUT is back in its usual space in the Robert Winston Building with a talk by SHU lecturer and OT practitioner Colette Beecher on Cognitive Rehabilitation Techniques at 6pm.

About the talk: Cognitive rehabilitation principles can be applied to clients with cognitive impairment as a result of neurological disease, or trauma. Cognitive rehabilitation models guide the therapist to select appropriate assessment and interventions. The therapist needs to identify if the client has the potential to improve or due to the nature of their condition may need a more compensatory/adaptive approach.

Aims of the session:
· To explore cognitive rehabilitation techniques
· To explore new models of cognitive rehabilitation
· To explore current intervention resources 


Registration and light refreshments: From 5.30pm and the talk begins at 6.00pm with a comfort break at around 6.30pm. SHOUT events usually finish before 7.30pm.

Costs: £2.00 for students and BAOT members, £3.00 for non-members.

And that's not all!....

Wednesday Wind Down follows at Graze pub on Eccelsal Road for a drink and an opportunity to reflect on the session. We'll be tweeting our thoughts to our SHOUT twitter followers....


We hope to see you there!

And here's what we got up to at the last event with speaker Bob Collins on Themes in Recovery....






Thursday, 27 September 2012

An Inspiring Profession


On Monday the SHOUT Team helped support a listening event hosted by the Trent Regional Group of the British Association of Occupational Therapists at Sheffield Town Hall, focusing on membership engagement. As the day came to a close and the rainy night drew in, we sat around the vast table in the conference room talking and feasting on the left over cakes and sandwiches.

Naomi Hankinson, Chair of Council at the College of Occupational Therapists, posed the question: what inspired us all to choose occupational therapy? And so, one by one, we shared our personal stories of how we came to OT and the people or events that had moved us...

Both myself and another student felt a shiver run down our spine as we heard the OTs talk about how they had been drawn to a profession that made such a positive difference in people's lives. Some came from healthcare backgrounds, others had been school students who simply knew that they wanted to help people - all valued the practical way that OT could help people live and enjoy their lives. For those of us around the table that were students, we had varied reasons for choosing OT from the inventive ways an OT can help someone with a physical disability to the mentoring role an OT takes with people with mental health problems, piecing lives back together step-by-step.

Why didn't several of the students pick physiotherapy instead of OT, Naomi asked? A response came back: because OT is more beautiful. 

Treating a person as the unique, extraordinary person that they are, respecting the valuable place they have in society, and enabling that person to do what it is they choose to do is so human and so beautiful. Occupational therapy, more than any other profession it would seem, allows people to live, beautifully. What an inspiring path we have chosen.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Today! SHOUT's First Evening Seminar of the Academic Year

We're back! Autumn brings a new term and a new schedule of SHOUT events. We've worked hard over the summer to pull together a varied line-up of talks by academics and health and social care professionals.

Later today SHOUT holds the first evening seminar of the academic season with Bob Collins on "Recovery Themes in Mental Health".

Come and join us in the Mary Badlands Theatre at our Collegiate Campus from 6-7.30pm, meet students and local clinicians and hear Bob's experiences of working as a Recovery Co-ordinator at Bradford and Airedale Early Intervention Team.

The session will explore the holistic and personalised nature of recovery and the important role of occupational therapy in facilitating social reconstruction. Bob's work focuses on optimising social and occupational recovery for young people following a first episode of pyschosis. A locally developed tool, presented at this year's COT Conference in Glasgow, will be introduced as a structure for the OT process; the "LifeChart" is an assessment, goal setting and action planning tool which emphasises a strengths-based and solutions-focussed approach, as well as providing evidence of personalised recovery outcomes.

Not to be missed!
Registration and refreshments open at 5.30pm.
Entry is £2 for students and BAOT members. Email the SHOUT team to book a seat: shout.team@hotmail.co.uk or just turn up tonight!

And that's not all....."Wind Down Wednesday" takes place afterwards at The Botanical pub on Eccelsall Road: drinks and an opportunity to reflect on the session. Thoughts are tweeted to our SHOUT followers and a wider audience.

See you there!


Sunday, 23 September 2012

BAOT Listening Event at Sheffield Town Hall



Come down to Sheffield Town Hall on Monday 24th September (tomorrow!) to share your views and ideas on how occupational therapists can engage with the British Association of Occupational Therapists and develop a strong professional community.

This free listening event, hosted by the Trent Regional Group of the BAOT, will help you to explore why you should become a member of the BAOT and how you can get the most from your membership.

Drop in anytime from 12.30 - 7pm tomorrow to pick up information and speak to the Trent Regional Team and the COT Chair of Council, Naomi Hankinson.

The SHOUT Team will be supporting the event, so come and chat to us about our student-led group and find out how we promote OT and the BAOT. Our first evening seminar of the academic year begins this week on 26th September on our Collegiate Campus in the Mary Badlands Theatre from 6 -7.30pm. The talk is led by Bob Collins on Recovery Themes in Mental Health. Seats are booking up fast, so contact the SHOUT team at shout.team@hotmail.com to make sure you don't miss out! As always, refreshments are served from 5.30pm, and certificates of attendance will be presented at the end. We look forward to seeing you at both events!





Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hello First Years!

The world of occupational therapy welcomes 44 new students on 17th September 2012 at Sheffield Hallam University.



The new first years had a taste of the OT course today at a pre-enrollment day, trying their hand at crafts such as marzipan fruit making and experiencing equipment used by OTs to help people live more independently.



SHOUT was there to welcome students and run sessions about our student-led group. SHOUT is by students for students and is a great way for new and existing students to have fun promoting OT, network with local practising OTs and boost CPD by attending our evening talks. And of course, we were excited about giving away our stripy green goodie bags!



It was fantastic to meet the aspiring OTs, play some games, (eat lots of sweets!) and talk about SHOUT. We were keen to explain how our group can benefit students, how to get involved and how enjoyable the next three years at Hallam will be.


And then it was time to say goodbye, but not before all the students had picked up their little bags full of information about SHOUT and BAOT, freebies and treats...



We wish them every success with their course and look forward to seeing them on campus as fully fledged first year OTs in two weeks time! Congratulations, from all of the SHOUT team.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Goodie Bag Welcome for New SHU OT Students


Here at SHOUT HQ, we love freebies! And who better to lavish our collection of promotional materials on than the new first year OT students soon to start at Sheffield Hallam University.

We're looking forward to welcoming the new Level 4 students at their pre-enrollment day next Tuesday 4th September 2012: our sessions throughout the morning will explain who we are, what we do and how new students can join us, get involved and attend events. And then its time for the goodie bags! Sweets, information about SHOUT, OT and COT/BAOT, badges, pens, stickers and balloons! What more could a new OT student want? 

So, we'd better get filling our stripy green paper bags. One down, 43 to go.....


Monday, 16 July 2012

Quilting for a Cause

Help raise £2012 for Refuge by the end of the Olympic games! SHOUT would like to share a wonderful opportunity to help support the charity Refuge and win a beautiful quilt created by the one and only Jennifer Creek, author of Occupational Therapy and Mental Health.

Jennifer has spent 40 years working on this stunning handmade quilt, and it could be yours in a raffle draw taking place on 12th August 2012, the day of the Olympic closing ceremony. Visit the Just Giving page to donate today: www.justgiving.com/Katrina-Bannigan.

Each pound donated enters you into the raffle draw once, so the more you donate the more chances of winning you have. Give as much as you can - every little helps to support this good cause.


"Refuge is a national charity for women and children who experience domestic violence, providing emergency accommodation and emotional and practical support. Since opening the world's first women's safe house in London in 1971, Refuge has grown to become the UK's largest organisation of its kind, helping and supporting women and children experiencing domestic violence and acting as a national 'lifeline' for up to 80,000 victims of domestic abuse every year."

Monday, 2 July 2012

SHOUT Interviews Local OTs - Part Two




Here's the second part of our train interview, conducted on our way to Glasgow, with locally based OTs Helen Saunders (founder of SHOUT) and Sue Peters. They talk about their thoughts on COT conference 2012, share memories of past conferences and give advice to students on attending conference in future years. 

What are you looking forward to most at conference?

Helen: Being able to experience a good mix of presentations in one place, as well as the free ice cream and the possibility of a free ‘brollie!

Sue: The whole experience, plus the opportunity to network and get a showcase of what’s going on in other people’s practice and, of course, all the freebies you get!

Have you got any favourite memories from previous conferences?

Helen: This is the fourth year I’ve attended conference and in the past I’ve enjoyed presenting a Trent regional poster; one year there was a great workshop with Greg Stafford about the political environment; the parties we’ve been to have been good fun and past council member’s lunches have always been a good opportunity for meeting higher up people.

Sue: This is my third conference and I’ve always loved meeting lots of people in the profession and then keeping in touch with them throughout the years.

What advice can you give to students attending conference?


Helen: Go to as many seminars and workshops as you can, take time to go to the exhibitors and see the poster presentations.

Sue: Go out and meet lots of other students, compare and contrast your courses and what you do on them so you can find ways to improve your uni experience.

How does conference impact your practice?


Helen: Through past conferences I’ve learnt about, and developed my use of, MOHO for sensory integration and people with learning disabilities – that’s been really important to my practice.

Sue: After conference you go back to work feeling enthusiastic, prepared to make changes and knowing what to do to move things forward. You feel empowered and can give positive feedback to other team members about what is happening in other parts of the profession.

If you presented something at conference, what would it be and why?

Helen:  In the past I’ve presented a Trent region poster with Wendy [Ferguson]. We were really nervous when we discovered we had to give a seminar, but it turned out to be a really good experience and I think I would do something like that again with the regional committee to show what local groups, like SHOUT, are doing in the region.

Sue: I’d like to present something related to my practice with amputees, perhaps new guidelines for MDTs on how to work with new amputees. 

Why do you think it’s important for OTs to attend conference?

Helen: Conference is necessary to keep up to date with OT and practice. It also helps keep your CPD up to scratch for HPC, as well as enthusing you when you return to work.

Sue:  I think you can take so much away from conference as a full learning experience, but last year’s message of being a “meerkat OT” really worked for me! It describes OTs as forward thinking and staying involved, integrating with other services. Through conference you can link-in with others, use the network opportunities to create bench-marks and create the best care experience for your patients as possible. You also feel like part of the OT community, conferences help to prove our worth as a profession and with all the changes going on in the NHS at the moment using conference appropriately means that we have a better chance of keeping our jobs.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

SHOUT Interviews Local OTs


The SHOUT Team was lucky enough to share a train ride with local OTs Helen Saunders and Sue Peters on the way up to the COT Conference in June. We made the most of this opportunity and carried out a brief interview, finding out about their experiences as students and practising OTs, and tips for attending conference.

In between sips of tea they answered our hastily formed questions as we sped towards Scotland.
Look out for the surprise question at the end!


We're interested to know how long you've been practising and what area you've specialised in?

Helen: I retrained, having worked as a nurse, and have been practicing for 4 years. I started out in adult social services, then elderly mental health and have gone on to work in learning disabilities.

Sue: I've been practising for 7 years, and I'm a band 6 working in surgery and amputations at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. I started out in acute medicine through a rotational post, moving into surgery and then forensic learning disabilities. I then worked as a locum, with amputees, and in adult mental health.

What has changed since you first started practising?

Helen: The Agenda for Change.... And there were more jobs!

Is this where you imagined you'd be when you were a student?

Helen: Yes! I always knew I wanted to work with people with learning difficulties.

Sue: I thought I wanted to work in community mental health. I never thought I would want to work in forensics - but I loved it!

What did you love about studying at Sheffield Hallam?

Helen: The EBL (evidence based learning) groups were a good way to learn. EBL has its pros and cons but I found this a valuable part of the course. I also really enjoyed setting up SHOUT during my time there.

Sue: Its a great course with a good mix of theory and practice, and supportive staff. I agree about the EBL sessions - they help to prepare you for MDT working, can influence your practice and prepare you for continuous learning.

Helen, as the founder of SHOUT, what led you to set up this student-led group?

I wanted to bring students and clinicians together. I felt there weren't enough opportunities for students to mix with clinicians and make connections. SHOUT is also good for clinicians in practice, helping with CPD.

Can you think of any advice you'd like to share with current students?

Helen: SHOUT - get involved in it! Have a heart for it and be enthusiastic about it. For anyone working in the SHOUT team: get the networking going at the evening events, introduce students to clinicians and vice versa - get people talking! (SHOUT explained that this is one of our key objectives for the new term of events. We've noticed that people attending don't always feel comfortable talking to people they don't know, so we'll be going round getting people chatting and making introductions!)

Sue: Keep going. The 2nd year is hard but try to enjoy the student experience. And remember to network!

What do you enjoy most about being on the BAOT Trent Regional Board?

Helen: Meeting like-minded people and networking.

Sue: Yes, meeting other OTs, and the opportunity to stretch yourself and gain new skills. 

Are there any hot topics that have caught your interest at the moment?

Helen: Sensory integration. This is very new, only being incorporated into treatment in the last 10 years. I did my dissertation in autism, so this area really interests me.

Sue: Extending the scope of practice. I would like to see better support for people with acute needs out in the community. Discharge planning. Needs are constantly changing but there is no one to follow through prosthetic rehab. Also, funding: looking at what other services are doing in other areas and learning from this.

OK, time for a silly question I was recently asked in a job application: if you were an animal, which one would you be?

Helen: A zebra. 
SHOUT: Care to elaborate? 
Helen: No.
SHOUT: OK then.

Sue (as the train goes through a tunnel): A mole - I feel like one right now!

What good sports! Stay tuned for the rest of our interview with Helen and Sue on their previous experiences of attending conference and what they were most looking forward to at COT Conference 2012. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The SHOUT Team Gets Busy!


On Saturday 16th of June SHOUT helped out at the Sheffield Hallam Open Day, promoting SHOUT, occupational therapy and the university to prospective and new students.

Out green Tshirts were out in force as usual, and our stall choc-a-block with leaflets about SHOUT and  information about occupational therapy from the British Association of Occupational Therapists. We also streamed videos from the College of Occupational Therapists' website about how occupational therapy helps people live satisfying lives. We had fun setting up our stall in the Robert Winston building, as you can see...


Our mission was to demonstrate to prospective students that one of the special things about coming to Hallam to study OT is our active and exciting student-led group! We're always looking for ways to show how much fun it is to be part of SHOUT and how it helps with continual professional development (CPD). 

We also wanted to encourage students to get involved with SHOUT early on in their university life - the sooner the better! Its a great way to make friends, feel involved with the course and with OT, as well as develop skills such as team work and leadership. And of course, attending SHOUT events helps to increase CPD by improving learning on a wide range of OT-related topics and by providing opportunities to network with local clinicians.


We also got busy making perspex flowers with third year OTs - we love an opportunity to show off the creative side of OT :) And then it was time for a well earned rest! Phew, shouting about SHOUT can be tiring work ...


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Claire Craig Honoured with a COT Fellowship Award


On June 12th 2012, at the annual COT Conference, Sheffield Hallam University Senior Lecturer and researcher Claire Craig was honoured with a Fellowship Award in recognition of her special contribution to occupational therapy. 


As Naomi Hankinson, chair of the BAOT/COT Council said, Claire is a talented and inspirational educator who generates and implements innovative ideas in education and practice. Much of her work centres on the important role that occupational therapy plays in the well-being of older people and people with dementia. She is a role model and a wonderful ambassador for the profession nationally and internationally and is widely acknowledged by her peers and students.
SHOUT was there to witness it - what a wonderful occasion, we are so proud of you Claire! Congratulations from all the team.

Monday, 18 June 2012

SHOUT Attends the Annual COT Conference 2012!


The SHOUT Team attended the COT conference last week. We handed out leaflets and spread the word far and wide about the SHOUT, making many new contacts. And, of course, we made the most of the freebies!



On Tuesday 12th June, after a mad dash to get to the station on time, we boarded the first of three trains to take us up to Scotland. Despite having booked different coaches we found seats with Helen Saunders and Sue Peters from the BAOT Trent regional group and, being cheeky students, made full use of our captive audience - watch this space for our train interview!



We met other OTs, students and COT staff during the long journey, and arrived 5 hours later feeling energised to jump feet first into the conference.



As soon as we arrived in the huge and sunny central hall of the SECC the tiredness set in, but it was a quick dash to the loos and luggage store before heading straight into our first workshop of the afternoon.  And what a great start to the conference it was: Jennifer Creek with an Introduction to the European Conceptual Framework for OT.


“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about” stated Benjamin Lee Whorf  (1956) and this was echoed in Creek’s session: words represent concepts and are our tools for thinking and communicating. Defining terms, as the European Conceptual Framework has done, and using these in our shared professional language helps us all to understand what we are talking about and present ourselves with a level of professionalism to other medical and healthcare workers during a time when we need to prove our worth.  Creek asked whether, as a profession, we have been better at using poetic language than scientific language. We need to ensure that we are accurate and precise in how we communicate, using standardised terms and scientific language whilst still keeping the heart of OT and our unique way of expressing our understanding of the person.


During the Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture, Dorothy Gould got us thinking about communication and the language we use with service users when she spoke alongside Dr. Claire Ballinger. Her moving message is one to remember on placement: an OT’s most important quality is warmth. Ballinger also called for advocacy and clear articulation of OT in the political arena, inspiring us to brave collective action. Julia Scott reiterated this in her closing talk to the conference, encouraging us to share our stories and use words powerfully to speak UP for OT.

Not to miss out on an opportunity to promote SHOUT, we joined Twitter to participate in the conference buzz. Following tweeters, such as the BAOT, students and clinicians, was a great way to find out about interesting events going on or summaries of sessions we didn't attend. SHOUT was even tweeted by Mr Twitter himself, the COT Social Media Officer!


 Shouting about SHOUT!
Attending conference was a wonderful experience. We made new friends and felt inspired and honoured to be in the company of so many fantastic OTs and students. It was a real joy to be in the audience when our SHU lecturer Claire Craig received her Fellowship Award (see next post). We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to promote SHOUT to anyone and everyone who was willing to listen, and wore our green T-shirts with pride! 


 We're already looking forward to next year - COT Conference 2013, here we come!