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.
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?....
"...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!"