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!

Sunday, 17 June 2012


Hi, welcome to the new SHOUT blog! This is where we will keep you updated with our events, news and interest stories. SHOUT is the Sheffield Hallam Occupational Therapy Undergraduate Team - we are a student-led local group of the British Association of Occupational Therapists, Trent Region. We run monthly events on OT topics of interest for students and clinicians on Wednesday nights at our Collegiate Campus. The aim of SHOUT is to support learning, professional development and networking between students and clinicians. SHOUT events have now finished for the summer, but we will be back in October 2012 - come along and join us!

Contact us at shout.team@hotmail.co.uk
Follow us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/SHOUTevents 
Follow us on Twitter @shout_team