Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fiona Fraser Fules Fire for Finding Fifty Shades of Green

Yesterday, despite snow, ice and several traffic jams, Sheffield Hallam OT students piled into the Robert Winston Building lecture hall to hear COT Education Manager Fiona Fraser talk on "Fifty Shades of Green". Anyone expecting something similar to the popular book might have been disappointed, but not the students who attended, who had the much more exciting chance to hear about how to develop their fledgling careers and find their path in the OT profession!

Drawing on her own personal journey, Fiona talked about the different shades of "green" she has experienced, that is, the varying degrees of connection she has felt with the OT profession, during her career. She used a COT tool to map her journey from newly qualified OT, to working as basic grade OT in a day hospital to her work at COT and undertaking her Masters Degree, plus additional activities along the way such as audits and study days. She recommended the tool to students as a way to understand how the activities we get involved in are shaping our future careers, whether they are linked by a common theme that interests us or are simply opportunities that help us develop a wide range of skills.

Stressing the importance of CPD, Fiona encouraged us to get involved in groups such as SHOUT and our local BAOT regional group. She left us with the thought that we are the makers of our own destiny. We must carve out our own niche in OT, whether it is on a physical rehabilitation ward, in a mental health setting, with older adults, in paediatrics, research, with the COT or any of the myriad areas OTs can work in. "You are the future and the future is bright", she said.

 "You are the future, and the future is bright"

Answering questions at the end, Fiona revealed she had not always been a confident public speaker. Her advice: fake it 'til you make it! Step into the role, act confidently even if you don't feel it inside and visualise yourself succeeding. She recommended Amy Cuddy's fantastic TED talk on body language and confidence:

Fiona also spoke about student leadership and using the Leadership Competency Framework to help guide our development.

And here's some of the feedback we received about the evening::

What did attendees think of the talk?....

"Very informative and inspiring"

"Clear and accessible style, easy to follow, good PowerPoint with pictures instead of text"

"It was very interesting to hear about her career narrative"

"Informative about the different roads OTs can go down"

"... appropriate and useful for the future"

"...will be something to keep in mind throughout practice"

And what did they take away from it?....

" has made me think more about being occupation focussed"

"Make the most of opportunities even they don’t seem very significant – look a bit deeper"

"Be pro active, continuously develop CPD - an OT doesn’t necessarily have an OT title"

"Keep up with what is going on in other settings and keep core OT transportable philosophy"

"Will use the career narrative tool"

"Very enthusiastic lecturer, so glad I came, thank you!"

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Andy Burnham's Speech to The Kings Fund

Have you read Andy Burnham’s speech to The Kings Fund? As shadow health secretary he is setting out his ideas for the NHS and an integrated health and social care system.

Mr Burnham’s views on the healthcare system are food for thought and some of the values expressed might be considered to align with OT principles. Here at SHOUT we are strictly non-political, so this post does not back The Opposition’s position on health and social care reform nor undermine the current Government’s attempts to streamline the NHS and deal with huge costs. The Government may have received criticism of its spending cuts, and the creation of a (possibly) more commercial healthcare system, but we must also remember that Andy Burnham was in government during the time of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal. It stands us in good stead to be balanced when we read political speeches and apply the critical appraisal skills we are learning at university to political rhetoric.

However, there are ideas in the speech that some OT students may find interesting and resonate with our principles of holism, personhood and choice. In the light of the Mid Staffs scandal of systemic failure, profits before patients and a culture of bullying and neglect, putting people first seems sensible to help us move away from 
    “…a 20th century production-line model, with a tendency to see the immediate problem – the broken hip, the stroke – but not the whole-person behind it.” 
Essentially, the client-centred model.

Our OT approach of treating the whole person - their social, physical and mental health needs - might be truly realised in Burnham's idea of an integrated health and social care system:

“…one service co-ordinating all of one person’s needs: physical, mental and social. Whole-Person Care.”

Many people would like to see an NHS more responsive to people's needs. Rapid response teams are already on the front line, helping people with urgent needs to prevent hospital admissions and the speech holds up an example of effective occupational therapy in Torbay:

"Occupational Therapists visit homes the same day or the day after they are requested; urgent aids and adaptations supplied in minutes not days."

Burnham seems to point to an expanding role for OTs in preventative health and helping people stay independent at home:

"A service that starts with what people want – to stay comfortable at home – and is built around them."

His vision is of a health and social care service that is cohesive, that moves away from the medical model and puts the person at the centre. But how would he make that a reality and could it be funded? Browse the speech... see what you think.

We are the future of the NHS. We are all passionate about being part of an institution that is key to our country's health and wellbeing. But we need more than education and desire. We need to be able to ask questions, to be challenged. We need to engage with the changing health and social care landscape and policy, and be inspired to be the best we can be in representing and advocating for our profession.

Are you happy with the way the NHS is currently operating? Are there any areas you’d like to see changed? And what do you think could be done about it? 

Maybe you really loved your placement and feel that the NHS is working incredibly well – having hands on practice with patients or clients, or seeing good MDT working, can be a beautiful thing! 

What would you like to see happen over the next few years to deliver best patient care and have satisfaction in your job as an OT?

Let’s start talking about health and social care...