On Tuesday night I hosted an #OTalk on Twitter. I was very nervous about making a mistake or a #CPjerk as I like to call them as sometimes due to my involuntary movements, I do make a typo or two. But it went well, I struggled to keep up, but I think I managed to like and retweet most responses.
Thank you to all those that took part as this was part of my #VirtualOTPlacement. It will also help with other placements and prepare me for the world of work. I now feel less alone in my transition from a service user to a health care professional.
One of my questions for the OTalk was about the value of occupational therapy and if being a service user or having a family member who received OT input changes people’s views on the delivery of occupational therapy and its core values. I felt like this was a crucial question to explore because as discussed in my last blog post I shared experiences of OT that wasn’t 10 out of 10. The purpose of this discussion wasn’t to make a noise and call people out it was just to share experiences to improve the profession.
How does inside experience effect views on the delivery of occupational therapy and it’s values?
I also threw this question in to explore the positives and celebrate the beauty of the profession.
‘How pivotal OT was in my recovery. Looking beyond just the surface, taking a holistic perspective & being consistent. As a child experiencing OT, I always remember how kind they were, but how the allowed me to feel safe when doing graded work. #OTalk.’– Kayleigh Wain, @kayleighwainOT
From studying OT, I have become increasingly more thankful to my own occupational therapists as now I understand the values and demands of the profession. Just like Kayleigh mentioned it enables you to look beyond the surface- when I was younger, I got why my OT used to make me play with beads to improve my fine motor skills. But now, I can use activity analysis to make sense of my therapy as the tasks I carried out during therapy worked on so much more than my fine motor skills. As an ex-service user, I feel like I can now evaluate my OT input and recognise the core values. How I view the core values of OT will be different to someone who hasn’t received occupational therapy input they’ll never know how much of an impact these values make.
From my point of view, these values struck out so much so that they are the reason that I’m in the profession today.
‘It has made me recognise how much the environment can disabled me much more so that my disability (deaf) itself and I see this all the time with my clients in practice and how by making small changes can have a big impact. #OTalk’ – Susan Griffiths, @SusanGriffiths5
I agree with this and I think having more of an understanding of occupational therapy and its core values can be both good and bad in situations such as this. The reason being is for example, in October for World CP Day I went on the bus in my electric wheelchair for the first time. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about doing the challenge because I was overthinking it and applying activity analysis to it. So, although having this knowledge helps in some situations in other situations it can cause you to second guess the situation.
But, on the other hand, having the first-hand experience enhances procedural reasoning as functional problems are easier to identify as you can relate and therefore you can make a difference as just like Susan said small changes can have a big impact!
‘Has a huge influence, I have a level of insight and understanding, that others without a disability may not have, i.e. it’s impact on daily occupations, and how to combat these. #otalk I’ve also had poor experiences, including poor #OT, so I’m aware how this feels.’ -Rachel Booth, @OT_rach
I’ve always said that when I’m a qualified occupational therapist I will have both a professional and personal understanding it’s about being able to empathise rather than just sympathise by having insight and understanding. It is also important to make people aware of the bad experiences as when you’re an OT yourself it easier to spot the good and the not so good just like any profession.
I wanted to find out if people feel like the core values have been present when receiving OT.
If these core values haven’t been noticed can they be classed as ‘core values’?
The fact that Rachel is aware of this will make her work so much better and so much more unique. We’re not saying that profession in perfect but, by picking up on these situations it will only improve the quality of care.
‘I saw my grandpa receive OT after having a stroke resulting hemiplegia. Watching the OT help with all his goals of getting back to bowls and driving really made me appreciate person centred practice.’– Jasmin Laffy, @JasminLaffy
When I went for my driving assessment, the lady who assessed me was an occupational therapist and I wouldn’t have known this if she had not asked me what I wanted to do at university. This made me appreciate the profession so much more as I realised how under-valued the profession was. Like Jasmin said seeing practice first-hand makes you appreciate the client-centred practice. When I was receiving OT it was harder to see the values as I was younger meaning I can’t remember all the details so, when I was at the driving assessment although I was yet to start my studies I can look back now and see the core values of the professions and I was certainly treated holistically.
Overall, I think it’s fair to say that people still think highly of the occupational therapy values after seeing it from a different angle. But it’s also great that we can pick up on the times were the core concepts of occupational therapy weren’t shown, to improve the service and quality of care.
Thank you for reading,