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.

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