Sunday, 24 June 2012

I got a little too excited when I saw this....

Me being the OT geek that I am, can't seem to escape OT, even when I'm on my holidays! Whilst away with some friends in Newquay, outside the restaturant/shop part of the complex, I spotted this beach wheelchair. I'd never seen a wheelchair specifically designed for use on a beach before (you might think, being an OT student that I would have figured out such a wheelchair exists, but I'd never thought about it really!). There was a slight gradient to get down on to the beach, and I thought it was awesome that they had left this out so that passers by could see that the beach is fully accessible.

When I googled 'beach wheelchairs' lots of different types and models came up, and it's quite interesting to see the range of wheelchairs available. The OT in me was loving seeing this, as not only is it enabling individuals to remain engaging in those activities they enjoy most, but it is also sending out a clear message that disability is not a barrier!

Loved seeing this!

Ps Thanks to Will  for getting the snap, would have hated to have missed it!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

'No Won't, No Can't, Only How'

Spencer West, 31, Toronto.  I'd not heard of his name or known anything of him until today when I read that he has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (which in itself is an incredible achievement). But Spencer West had reached the summit with a special difference. A rare spinal disorder meant that Spencer had had his legs amputated when he was a child. Doctors told him that he "would never do much with his life". This led to Spencer beginning his journey to defy this by becoming a motivational speaker and starting his 'Redefine Impossible' campaign to raise money for Free the Children's sustainable water initiative in Kenya. Spencer West climbed the summit by using his hands alone for an astonishing 80% of the journey. The climb was completed over 7 days and West has raised an incredible $500,000 for the initiative.

When I read the name of the campaign, I couldn't help but keep saying it. It really struck me as a very powerful and emotive title which challenges the attitudes which were expressed regarding West's recovery. The clinical judgements or subjective opinions from health care professionals (based on a generalisation of previous experience relating to prognosis or future outcomes) can be very damaging and distressing for the individual and family. I feel it is really important to challenge these attitudes in the workplace, and as a newly qualified OT I will want to work in a person-centred way, and approach interventions as  possibilities, instead of settling for the easiest, and often risk adverse option. In my experience, interventions can sometimes be held back because a team attitude may deem an intervention 'impossible' without any concrete and transparent justification or evidence. Of course, I recognise there are limitations in practice, and each individual has personal limitations, however I do feel that sometimes in practice, incredible opportunities can be missed because they are not given a proper chance.

On West's blog, he talks about each stage of the journey, and this part I thought I'd leave you with. You can read his blog here :

" Things do happen, good and bad, to all of us. But what defines us is not what we look like, the colour of our skin, or how many limbs we have. Not even close. It's who we are inside, and what we choose to do with the time we are fortunate enough to have on earth.

Today I reached the top of the tallest free-standing mountain in Africa by, for the most part, walking on my hands.

What is possible for me has now been redefined. That is my hope for all of us.

You don't have to climb a mountain to redefine your possible. But thank you for climbing this one with me.

How will you redefine your possible?"

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Postcode Lottery

Hello readers! (if I have any....) I have been on holiday for 10 days and so have not had a new post up here for some time; I'll get back on it now that I am home again!

Here's one to get you started: I watched an inspiring story on BBC's 'Week In Week Out' programme. It tells the story of Helen and her battle for her mother to receive NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. Helen's mother, who had severe dementia, was not considered ill enough to receive this until her final hours of life. Helen is campaigning for carers rights in Wales and is working hard at promoting her cause. Helen's story is available to watch on BBC iPlayer here: which is definitely worth a watch. Alternatively you can check out the BBC article here:

It really made me reflect on the difficulties that health care professionals face when completing assessments which may sometimes affect the eligibility for service-users' care. The director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales, Tina Donnelly, explains that the union was concerned about the tick-box style tools nurses had to use to assess eligibility for free care. This concern can be applied across different areas when completing assessments, and Helen's story highlights how entitlement to care can change (depending on who completes the assessment and the location in which the service-user may reside). It's something to consider in practice.

If you would like to show your support for Helen, you can follow her campaign on twitter @dementia_tch

More posts to follow shortly :-)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Cannabis- Are you aware of the risks?

 A part of an OT's role in some areas of practice is to educate. Taking an educative approach to practice means that both the service-user and the people around them can be enlightened and made aware of how and why a particular condition is effecting their occupational performance, and how other factors in their life may be affecting them also.

As the BBC reported today, new results from a survey on 1000 adults conducted by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) found that a third of respondents wrongly believed that cannabis did not harm health. Of the 1000 adults, 88% incorrectly thought that tobacco cigarettes were more harmful than cannabis, when the risk of lung cancer is actually 20 times higher. The BLF say that the lack of awareness is "alarming". So, do you know your facts about cannabis? Check out the link heeeeeeeeeeeeere to see more:

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

In 12 months time...

So, the scary fact is that in twelve months time, I and many other OT-to-be's will be job hunting as newly qualified occupational therapists (that is, if I am successful in passing the final year... GULP). It seems that everybody is pretty terrified about the prospects of entering the job market, especially as each time you turn on the television or read the newspaper, you can't escape the public sector cuts and the challenges that the private sector is facing in terms of growth and development. To put it bluntly, it's a pretty scary time for us OTs along with the rest of the UK.

To try and make sense of those fears, last month's May edition of OTnews has provided some very useful articles which are helpful for newly qualified OTs in approaching the current job market.
In particular, the article 'Emerging Markets' by Andrew Mickel highlights that there is a shift away from the traditional NHS rotational posts and towards opportunities in both charity and the private sector. It also identifies that generic roles are increasing due to budget pressures and that some new graduates are taking on work as a lower band OT in order to gain some experience, while still looking for a Band 5 job.

 In the article, Fiona Fraser, who is the College of Occcupational Therapists' education manager for student services, identifies that leadership and entreprenurial skills are becoming ever more essential in OT practice, particularly with the changing working environmental. Despite the changes in the job market, the article confirms that the vast majority of graduates find jobs in statuatory health and social care services, although changes of UK policy suggests that emerging settings may be the place to keep your eyes peeled for jobs.

This month's OTnews also has a feature about making the most of your CPD to create your own success. Zoe Parker looks at how to make the most of the available resources provided by COT and BJOT, particularly for newly qualified OTs. Zoe advises reading this resource for guidance for pre-registration OTs to identify your strongest skills, knowledge and aptitudes in order to decide the areas you want to work on for future learning. The link might only work once you've logged on to the COT website:

Another resource that Zoe recommends checking out is the Post Qualifying Framework (2006), which guides your practice according to best current practice, and assists with the planning of future learning for career development, including routes to development in practice, education, management and research. You can download a hard version, from this link:

Also, check out the Health Professionals Council website and look under the Education section which is designed for students:

The main message in this month's OTnews is to use the skills we've learnt training to be an OT, but also to be prepared to use these skills in different ways. So, it's time to take the plasic cover off OTnews and see how it can help you! Come on guys... twelve months will soon fly by!

The next blog post won't take as long to come up; no more assignments to write or presentations to do...Yay!

Sian x

P.S.  The article on social media and professionalism is worth a read... it might make you reconsider those frapes and detagging some of those dodgy never know when your potential future employer may indulge in a little facebook stalking! On that note...