Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Watch this space

I've just returned from my trip visiting students at the University of Salford and an event for students at Leeds Met, the University of Bradford and the University of Huddersfield. At the end of last week I enjoyed a day at the University of Northampton! So I've clocked up a few train miles recently.
Are you celebrating OT week in true OT style!? I'm going to give Wikiflash a go shortly - visit the Salford Blog for more info.
Tomorrow I'm back at COT, attending the Learning and Development Board meeting (LDB). This is one of the "functional" boards of the organisation with a representative from the board sitting on the COT council. I will present my paper, highlighting the projects I'm currently working on. Members of the board will provide feedback on these projects and typically provide some useful suggestions - this structure enables members to ultimately steer the work that goes on at COT.
Watch this space about the latest news on the 2009 student conference.
I'm just awaiting a couple of details to be confirmed -
but will be announcing the date and venue very soon.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Google, Yahoo, AltaVista....OT?

I had a mini light bulb moment tonight...that I had to share! I was reading one of Yerxa's articles over dinner (sad but true) and spotted a wonderful quote! In the context of explaining the OT role she stated,
"we are 'search engines' for potential".
I thought it was a wonderfully descriptive statement, made of only a few words, that has so much relevance within today's web based culture. What makes it even more thought provoking is that she wrote it in 1998 - so long before the concept of an entirely online distance learning MSc in Advanced OT would have been considered even possible!? As OT's we want to place emphasis on ability not disability - and I thought this was brilliantly encapsulated in this simply quote. Maybe something to ponder next time you are using Google.....?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Waving at you

A photo from the Bangor and Cardiff University student conference in Gregynog. Thank you to all the students and lecturers for such an interesting and enjoyable day.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Popty Ping

I'm back from a great couple of days visiting students in Wales. The Student Research Conference for accelerated students from Bangor and Cardiff University of was a real success. The students did an excellent job presenting their research proposals and the 1st years in the audience were so supportive and maximised the opportunity to pick up tips for their turn next year. The venue, Gregynog, is an amazing half timber building near Newtown, and the fact the event is residential enabled the students an staff teams from the two universities to come together and swap stories and network over dinner (and glass of wine!).

On Thursday morning, I headed off to Wrexham to visit the students on part-time programme at Glyndwr University. I wish I could have stayed for their afternoon session as it was the OT philosophy - which would came in very handy for my assignment! However, I was back on train...and completed my 8th train journey in approximately 48 hours - with only a 6 minute delay overall!!!

While I was away I discovered the Welsh for microwave is "Popty Ping" - there is no going back for shall be the Popty Ping for evermore!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Memory Lane

I'm visiting students from the accelerated programmes based in Bangor and Cardiff tomorrow - they have a residential student conference to enable the students to present their research proposals and bring together the two programmes. It is being held at Gregynog, near Newtown - so to ensure I'm on time and able to fully participate, I'm typing this from a B&B in Hereford. Heart stopping moment when I arrived here - as the owner didn't have my booking! She thought she had probably deleted it with the her "spam". Thankfully, she had a room available!
I changed trains in Newport on the way here - a trip down memory lane, as I had my first practice placement at Newport Social Services. I can still remember my first day on I went to the wrong door and I had to be directed around the building to actually locate the appropriate office!

Got down to some serious reading on the train - learnt more about the history of our profession - well worth exploring. I'm discovering our history is so much more complex than just basket weaving and it really does influence how we have developed and can certainly inform how we develop in the future.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The ultimate teamwork model

I did something completely different for a change last night...and went to a classical music concert at the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea. My colleague had some free tickets so I thought I would maximise my evening my doing something different.
Instead of just sitting there listening to the music....of course...I start thinking occupation! Everyone in the orchestra was so clearly engaged in an "occupation" that brings so much meaning and structure to their day! Once I had exhausted my occupation observations...I then realised the orchestra was a brilliant illustration of ultimate teamwork. Everyone had their own unique contribution to make and role in the group, they were following the same music (so not going off in a different direction), had a shared goal (nice sounding music) and the conductor (their "manager") was providing guidance and encouraging them to produce their best work. this might be a bit nerdy...but it really jumped out at me! So if you have any free time ...I would recommend trying something completely different (it doesn't have to be a classical music concert!) and enjoying yourself...but also stopping for a moment to consider some of the observations you can make?

I enjoyed my visit to Brunel University today. The building work has been completed now so the campus looks really good. Dana, the student local group co-ordinator at Brunel University preceded my presentation with an overview of the Brunel Group and promoted the next meeting. It was great having the opportunity to combine information like this and hopefully will assist the Brunel group in growing even more.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Occupational Therapy Week

I bet we have all experienced that blank expression from someone, when they have asked us what we do... when we uttered the words "Occupational Therapy"...its either the conversation stopper at a social event or certainly the topic that takes up a bit of time. In an attempt to raise the profile of the profession amongst members of the public and colleagues - Occupational Therapy week is taking place between November 3rd-9th. This is one week when we (the profession and BAOT members) can join together to celebrate our work. Although time is ticking still have time to plan something at your University - even a message on your Blackboard system could be effective? If you don't get around to doing anything this year...don't worry OT week will be back! If you want more information on OT week visit;
It was great being in the office today. It felt good being able to catch up on my emails. On Thursday I'm off to Brunel University to see the 1st year students and meet with the BAOT student local group co-ordinator. I've got some serious article reading to do as well over the weekend! I've been set my first 1000 word assignment (only a bit longer than a page in OTN...and I keep saying to myself!) I will reflecting on the role of Occupation and Health for the next few weeks.
I was pleased to see the Facebook Group "Occupational Therapy Students: Get Connected" now has over 150 members....I'll add somemore DVD suggestions as soon as possible!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Full Circle

I'm back in London having completed a circle around England! I left COT on Thursday...and headed off to Bournemouth, then over to Somerset for the weekend, then up to Manchester on Sunday, to then go to Middlesbrough this morning. Travelling back to London this afternoon completed my circle. I must confess I'm glad to my on my sofa again!

In addition to meeting 1st year students..I've had the opportunity to catch up with some students from some of the other years. Its great hearing about plans for Occupational Therapy Week (1st week of November). For example, the BAOT student local group in Middlesbrough will be manning a stand in the city centre, talking to members of the public. What have other people got planned?

Something new this year is WikiFlash - set up by the "OT On The Net" group. Check out the link for more information. Its a great opportunity to increase the range of information "out there" about occuapation therapy.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Unpacking and Packing

I've finally had a chance to unpack my bag from my trip to Berlin....and I'm now packing ready for my trip to Bournemouth. I'm seeing the new students early on Friday morning so will head to Bournemouth late tomorrow afternoon.
I'm back at my parents in Somerset this weekend - for a school reunion! Mixed feelings about seeing everyone...its been a very long time since we all caught up. I went to a school specifically for people with dyslexia and still consider myself lucky to have received the help I did - as I use the coping strategies I was taught everyday, I don't even notice anymore.

I once worked in an OT department where we were all dyslexic! I certainly feel it enhances our verbal communication skills as talking doesn't show up spelling mistakes!?? The support Universities offer students with dyslexia is far more robust now - so I hope everyone with similar issues has been able to tap into the appropriate support? I'm still worried I might send an email saying "incontinence" instead of "inconvenience" so I double checking things before sending!

Thank you to all the UEA students for staying awake during my session this morning (although I did notice a few people nodding off! :-) A 9.00am start in a very warm room was quite a challenge! I have a similar time slot next week at Brunel University - so might take some sweets!

I've added another picture form Berlin...I was having a look through
my album again and noticed this picture.
Instead of looking at it from an photography perspective...I thought about the picture with an occupation focus and saw a lot more in my photo? What do you think?

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I'm back

I'm back from Berlin...and am now in Norwich! I haven't had a chance to update my social networking sites have been blocked on the COT computer system! I'm in discussions to try and get my access unblocked! I'm here in I'm speaking to the new 3 year full-time students tomorrow morning at 9am!

Berlin and the ENOTHE event was brilliant. I have come away with lots of thoughts and ideas about how UK students can get more involved in European developments...maybe through the agenda of the student conference? Next year is the "European Year of Creativity and Innovation"....what a fantastic topic for a group of OTs to tackle!? I'm also going to explore the possibility of exchanges and update the programme leads of the various UK OT programmes on the work of ENOTHE, via a newsletter the COT education team distribute plus the various meetings I attend. Watch this space! The next ENOTHE, same time next year is
in Northern food for thought.

Interestingly, one of the main discussions of the event or at least the main point I have taken away is the debate around Occupation, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and how they relate to each other. My first MSc module is now underway...and I need to read an article from Ann Wilcock on these very I'm sitting in my Travelodge considering if "Occupation and Health: Are they one and the Same?" To contrast my article reading...I have included some pictures from Berlin - the programme included a bus tour on our way to the social evening. I'm quite pleased my picture came out through the bus window! If you want to see more - I'm putting together an album on my Facebook profile...and on the Facebook group "Occupational Therapy Students: Get Connected. (Photography is one of my main leisure occupations!)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

I'm in Berlin till Sunday!

I'm packed and reading for Berlin! I'm attending an event put on by the "European Network for Occupational Therapists in Higher Education" (often known as ENOTHE). The first day is all about Occupational Science...which I'm looking forward to getting to grips with again.

I will be separated from my computer until Sunday evening....but I will use pen and paper to capture my reflections and will post a BIG message when I'm back.

I'm taking my camera..and will also add an album to the Facebook group "Occupational Therapy Students: Get Connected".

Watch this space....!

Back from Derby

I typed a nice long piece last night...and when I clicked "publish post" my computer decided the Internet connection wasn't working! So I'm back today at least...and I'm physically just back from visiting the 1st year students in Derby. I did my session in a lovely big lecture theatre...on what appears to be a very modern campus. Just before my session, I was able to listen to Joan Howarth, one of the lecturers, explain about the Blackboard system the students use at Derby. I don't think these things were invented when I was a student!!! I've just logged into my University of Salford blackboard...and managed to leave a message on the "social wiki" and in the discussion forum...virtual coffee shop! To top that...I have also used Skype for the first time! I have spoken to my personal tutor, Angela Hook...after a few technical issues with my microphone! I'm now going to use Skype to speak to my you get the added bonus of webcam - so I can check the weather in Somerset!

Friday, 19 September 2008

My UK Tour!

I'm typing this from a computer room somewhere at Oxford Brookes University! I've just met the 1st year students...and I'm about to have lunch with the 2nd years! I'm disappointed I forgot to take a picture of the 1st years Although it probably comes as a totally odd request, I wanted to include various pictures here and on the Facebook group! If any of the Oxford Brookes students read this...and want to organise a group photo...I will include it in my collection! You never know where it might appear next?!?!?

Its been great having a few moments to check my work least I know there aren't 100's waiting for me on Monday!

I was in Plymouth yesterday, meeting the new final year students - photo's to follow! I don't often get to speak to students at this stage of their studies - but I thought it worked well combining student focused information - with new graduate stuff as well??
Better go....2nd years are waiting!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

On you marks..get set...

I'm pretty much all set for my forthcoming trips to meet students. I've just got enough time on Monday to finish off emails and complete my PowerPoint presentation. The memory sticks arrived this I've got more boxes to accomodate around my desk! These memory sticks will be send to all the students who set up their BAOT student membership. The technology has moved on since last for the same price...we have managed to get a bigger memory stick, therefore should accomodate even more assignments!

I'm having problems getting my internal microphone to work on my I'm still unable to Skype! Plus I ordered a funky laptop bag online - selected "next day delivery" and it didn't turn up the next day! So a few more things to sort before I'm totally ready for my first module.

Might treat myself to some nice stationary tomorrow!! You cannot beat a nice folder or notepad when you start to study something. I'm been given so good time managment tips from colleagues - like actually putting study time in my Outlook Calendar, so its more official and fixed like a meeting. Another tip was having a regular night of study, so that friends get used to me being busy on a Tuesday for example. If anyone has some good study tips it would great to hear them?

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

I'm back

I've been a bad blogger...and haven't post anything for a little while. I've been preoccupied researching Laptop computers! After much debate and hesitation over MB and GB's...I'm typing this on my new (Cherry Red) laptop!
It is soooo much quicker than my previous computer...and it still hasn't sunk in I can actually unplug is computer from the mains supply and it will still work (something my old computer hadn't been able to do for about 3 years!). I'm beginning to feel ready for the start of my 1st MSc module on the 29th....just need to master Skype next!

My "UK tour" of University visits really kicks off next week....with a trip to Plymouth and Oxford.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A busy day

Tuesday was action packed!

I head off down the road (in the pouring rain) to visit the new intake of pre-registration MSc/PGdip students at London South Bank University. It was great to finally get to use the new leaflets and postcards...instead of seeing them in the boxes around my desk! Hope the students I met in the session didn't think it was too strange when I asked to take their picture!

I'm always impressed at the range of previous degree students on the 2 year accelerated programmes have completed. I wonder what brought them into the profession? I "discovered" OT when I was 13 and was fairly focused on becoming one right from that I think its easy to say I'm a bit usual! The College puts a lot of focus on OT week at the beginning on November to try and raise the profile of the profession - I think it would be fantastic if a soap like Eastenders used an OT in a plot!

After my visit to LSBU.....and a quick check of my emails....myself and quite a number of colleague headed out for some lunch to officially say "Goodbye" to Romana, Enquiry Co-ordinator. She is leaving COT to do some exciting travelling....and will certainly be missed.

After work, I headed off to Viniopolis for my wine tasting exam! It was held under full exam conditions...which really took me back to doing my GCSE's!!!! There were a few horrible questions...even the tutor said he was surprised to find! What will be - will be! I'll know if I have passed in a couple of weeks. One thing is for sure...I will never look at a wine list in the same way again...and it takes me double the time to pick when in the shop now!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Welcome to the New Academic Year...08/09!

I've got my first University (also known as Higher Education Institution...or HEI) visit tomorrow - to London South Bank University. I think this group of students might be the first to kick off the academic year....I certainly haven't come across another OT programme that starts so early in September. I'm meeting the tutor at I've enough time to pop into COT on Borough High street, to pick up my memory stick and the leaflets...before "power walking" down the road to London South Bank Uni.

I'm going to take my camera.....I wonder if they will mind having their photo taken?!?....I would be great to include them on here!

Watch this space re: photo!

Sunday, 31 August 2008


I shouldn't really even be typing this....I should be doing revision for my test on Tuesday. I've been studying a Certificate in Wine and Spirits for the last 8 weeks....and I have my exam on Tuesday after work. I'm actually quite looking forward to the challenge...but I still need to read up on my geography! I'm expected to have a good understanding of the soil types in the various wine producing regions. The course has been a great contrast to the working day at COT...but has actually been quite complex. Its certainly hasn't just been about sampling wine. Fingers crossed for Tuesday! Does anyone else have a surprise addition to their CV....or a skill that is just a bit different?

Friday, 29 August 2008

Change the world for one person....

The student postcards arrived this morning! David, COT design officer, who had become super creative to generate the "Get Connected" image brought them up the office. I think they look great - and really hope students like them and find them eye catching. I'm still really pleased with quote.....keep an eye out for a postcard near you to spot the full quote!

33 people are now members of the Facebook group - Occupational Therapy Students: Get Connected. Slow but good progress! I'll post a few more DVD recommendations next week.

I think the news I'm going to do my MSc has sunk in a bit now! Must get the paperwork off to the Elizabeth Casson Trust and the Constances Owens Trust to apply for some financial assistance towards the course fees. I just want to get going now! The first module starts on the 29th September. Good I'm off to Berlin to the ENOTHE event (European Network of Occupational Therapists in Higher Education) the week before! Lots of exciting stuff coming up...including lots of visits to Universities to meet the new and continuing OT students.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

I've got a place!

A memorable day! Clair (Education Officer: Quality, Assurance and Guidance) brought the post up to our office. She spotted the Salford post mark and handed me the letter smiling! I opened it slowly....with both Clair and Remy (Education Manager: Quality and Standards) watching me!!! I spotted the words "pleased to confirm"....and started smiling too! I was then able to read out the official confirmation I had a place on the MSc programme in Advanced OT from the University of Salford!!! I honestly never thought I would be this excited about doing my MSc....but it just feels right...and I'm ready for the challenges ahead. I'm looking forward to being a student again!!! I just have a full-time job to deal manage this time around!
Clair and I will have a cup of tea to celebrate!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Using technology to network

I've been mulling over how we can "refresh" the BAOT student local using our computers a bit more to keep in touch! There are so many different ways to connect online now...discussion forums, facebook, bebo etc. The student local group network aims to connect students with each other... and me. However, organising meetings and then updating me on the issues discussed....can, I'm sure, be a bit dull and time consuming. If we can utilise our electronic networks a bit more...maybe the network will be come a bit more "dynamic"? Suggestions, as ever, are welcome.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Record time

The posters have arrived already! I will soon be sending them off to the various OT be displayed in key places. You might see one soon!

There are now 16 members of the Facebook group!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Leaflets, Postcards and Posters

I "signed off" all the student marketing material yesterday. The A5 leaflet, A3 poster and postcard designs have gone off to the I will soon be surrounded by boxes! This material will support the presentations provided either myself or one of my COT colleagues at your University or College. They are bright and eye catching so hopefully will help raise the profile of OT?

I've recently launched the Facebook group- Get Connected: Occupational Therapy Students. So far 13 people have joined! It will enable students and new graduates to keep in touch - in a different way. Have you joined yet?

Friday, 15 August 2008

The "Get Connected" model used in the new BAOT student marketing material! I honestly never thought I would get involved in developing leaflets when I started my OT programme all those years ago!!!!!!

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!
Reflection, reflection, what my blog is all about! I'm going to be out and about visiting OT students around the UK so in addition to updating you on my lastest will hopefully get an insight into the role of COT student officer.