Here we are the end of my #VirtualOTPlacement what a journey it has been. I was looking forward to this placement so much and it did not disappoint. I cannot believe this is my last blog of the virtual placement series, however, it certainly will not be my final reflection as I know I will draw upon this in the future.
For any placement reflection and supervision is key to comprehend the placement so I thought for my sake as much as yours I would illustrate clear links to truly understand the purpose of the placement, so get comfortable it’s going to be a long one.
As previously mentioned, I’d been planning my placement for around 9 months and started having monthly meetings with Margaret 6 months prior to the placement to ensure that we met all placement competencies. So, when my first week came, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it and introduce this placement to everyone, and therefore I wrote a long blog- What Is a Virtual Occupational Therapy Placement?.
On my first week, my main priority was the blog and I didn’t really do much else that week apart from filling in the tedious placement bits and pieces as the blog was my main focus. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous for a blog to go live, but it went down really well, and I even shared it on The Occupational Therapy Hub, so thank you so much, everyone (be prepared for a lot of thank you’s in this post).
Week number 2 had soon arrived and my focus for the week was my SHOUT presentation as it should have been that week. I knew then that it was getting changed to May for other reasons not due to COVID however this meant that I could include more placement material. So, I went from an almost finished presentation to a barely started presentation.
Again this is placement so, as exciting as it is, I still had to read RCOT policies however this turned out to be really interesting and it had me questioning my role which I discuss in The Online Borders Between Being a Professional and a Disabled Activist. This placement has been a massive learning curve allowing me to bring both roles together.
I still needed to be mindful and make it clear that I don’t provide an online OT service. However, if I make a few adjustments to the style of my site over the summer, I think this will be possible.
I also wrote a blog for CP Teens UK that week about my independence which inspired me to write a slightly different version for the placement the following week, How Will I Define ‘Independent’ as an Occupational Therapist?. I know that I’ll have more bridges to cross due to my Cerebral Palsy but after 20-years with a disability, I wouldn’t expect anything different it only makes the end result more worthwhile.
During week 3 my placement had already reached further than ever expected and I became the Digital Production Director and Global Students Ambassador for OT Without Borders. Therefore, Margaret came up with the brilliant idea to keep track of my reach by creating a “Media Metrics” presentation- I’ve had such fun updating this every week, adding photo collages of everything I’ve done has certainly enhanced my reflection skills.
I was meant to be going to Naidex in week 4 but it got cancelled due to COVID-19 so my placement like everything else took an unexpected turn that week, and I wrote a blog- How We Can Stay Connected With Others in Unprecedented Times. As awful as this pandemic is, it’s raised great awareness about virtual working and online communities which was my aim from the beginning. It’s also provided more recognition for occupational therapists as everyone is looking for meaningful activity right now which of course is where OT’s step in. My OT friends and I created a Facebook page to remind people of the importance of meaningful occupation.
Week 5- double blog week, what a busy week that was!!
One of the major aspects of being online is raising awareness, so when National CP Awareness day came I couldn’t miss an opportunity to inform everyone about my service user experiences- National CP Awareness Day 2020: My Experiences as a Service User.
But that wasn’t the main event of the week as I hosted an #OTalk via Twitter. That was such a great experience, it went fast- I don’t know what I would have done if Margaret wasn’t at hand on video call calming me down!
The OTalk has really helped me grow and realise that I’m a professional as well as a service user. Not to mention that the OTalk has made up most of my assignment for this placement. So, thank you to everyone who took part!
After the Easter break, I was more than ready to dive into the second half of placement (yeah, sorry only halfway through- I did warn you about getting comfy) and now it was confirmed that my SHOUT talk wouldn’t be going ahead.
But just because it couldn’t physically go ahead doesn’t mean that it couldn’t go ahead online, this is a virtual placement after all. I had no idea how to make a webinar and I didn’t know what would be the best option… all I knew was that I didn’t want to record it live as with my communication software it would have been tricky!
Webinar or not, another week another blog, and as everyone was now working online it was time to look at the policies again and focus more on the dangers of working virtually therefore with help from HCPC I blogged about Tips on How to Maintain Virtual Safety.
Week 8 was by far the most challenging week of the placement! Having placement as well as having assignments due really messes with my fatigue levels as discussed in Management of a #VirtualOTPlacement Plus Assignments with Cerebral Palsy. So, therefore, I was a bit quieter that week and just focused on recording my audio for the webinar.
Now that people were aware of my placement, it was time to get down to the root of why online healthcare is so important! I asked my friends for their input to capture first-hand experiences- Online Healthcare From Services Users Perspectives. Thank you to all who took part.
Although I have reiterated multiple times that this placement has not been about providing an online intervention, due to this placement being new, this blog was a must to lay the foundations out for future students.
I also reflected a lot that week and thought about how different my placement would be if I would have not already have got my blog and if I were doing this with another student.
10 Top Tips for Completing a #VirtualOTPlacement was written in week 10 (I did not do this on purpose). Margaret and I started getting a lot of question about this placement and, had quite a few Zoom meetings with other occupational therapists worldwide in Canada, Australia and back in the UK with students and placement lead from Northampton OT School, everyone wanted to know more about the placement. So, we thought that it was only right to produce this blog. I’m so glad as apart from this current blog that you’re reading, it was one of the most exciting blogs of the placement!
It was also a week to go until my webinar, so a lot of editing was going off…
WEBINAR WEEK! The webinar took place on the Thursday of week 11 and all week I’d been posting countdowns on social media.
I was a bit apprehensive as to how many people would watch the webinar live as in the UK it was 6 pm tea (dinner- excuse the Yorkshire) time. But to my surprise loads of you turned up it was great thanking you so much I did not expect that response! I was so nervous halfway through I video called Margaret in such a panic, the slight technical hitch righted and both families continued to watch the webinar live online together.
I also wrote another blog Online Healthcare: Why Is It Important? from a professional’s point of view to capture the whole picture.
So here we are at my final week and I have officially passed the placement!! This week I have been tying up a lot of loose ends. But I have had one last exciting event, taking part in a podcast thank you to OT & Chill for having me!!
I’d like to thank my family for letting me take over the kitchen table for the past 12 weeks. I’d also like to thank my supervision group it has been really useful talking to you guys and I’d loved hearing about your incredible placements as well!
Lastly, I’d like to say a BIG thank you to Margaret Spencer for being the most creative and supportive educator this wouldn’t have been possible without you!!! I am really going to miss working so closely with you… even though I don’t think it’s the end of Spencer and Vine’s collaborations!
- Countless hours of planning, supervision, and reflections.
- 13 blogs on Not So Terrible Palsy.
- Blogs for CP Teens UK, Look Hear Australia, Beyond COVID-19, The Occupational Therapy Hub, OT Without Borders and Scope.
- Hosted an #OTalk.
- Hosted a Webinar.
- Took part in a podcast.
I am also still in the middle of writing an article for OT News and putting a research poster together.
Thank you so much for all your support throughout this placement and for continuing to support me and NSTP!
I hope you haven’t got pins and needles!!!
PS- I’m going to take a few weeks off blogging to focus on my last few weeks of second year (scary). So please let me know what you would like to hear about over the summer, and I will try and deliver!