Monday, 1 December 2008

Here I go!

Be gentle with me as this is my inaugural post! It would seem sensible to assume that working in a (predominantly) electronic assistive technology service I would be pretty tech savvy but it's fair to say my skills in making full use of, contributing to, and navigating all things web 2.0 is a work in progress! Nevertheless I have decided to jump in as I strongly believe these resources offer incredible opportunities we must grab with both hands to give our profession the best chance of surviving the huge changes occurring across health and social care.

Developing my knowledge and use of these media is directly linked to an exciting new project I am investigating. I have long harboured an ambition to work overseas in an area where OT is emerging. I think many other therapists who are passionate about OT also plan, at some point in their career, to do the same. However with a full time job, mortgage and young son that dream seemed a reasonable way off becoming a reality, to put it mildly.

I then thought about other volunteer opportunities which would be more feasible given my financial and family situation. Online volunteering seemed like a great solution so I looked into schemes such as the UN programme and Childline but couldn't find a way to do anything specifically OT. The WFOT affiliate OTION has some online forums (although barely used) and a searchable database of members but that wasn't really what I was after as it seemed to be aimed at developing links between OT's already working in those countries, or therapists who were planning to.

Thinking about this I had a spark of an idea: There are lots of opportunities out there for OT's to go and practice overseas for varying lengths of time. However the reality for many OT’s who might love to have this experience is that they are unable to do so. This may be for a variety of reasons: caring responsibilities for children or others, financial pressures, health reasons etc etc. Volunteering online could offer a unique opportunity to tap into the knowledge, skills of practitioners across the world by offering an online space to work with therapists in areas where the profession is emerging to promote and develop OT. This online space would also hold some applications/routes for online meetings, teaching etc so that the sharing of experiences could be done between small groups of interested clinicians. It could work so that clinicians/educators/students wanting to volunteer were matched via a "buddy" type of system or that OT’s in areas wanting support post ideas for the projects which they would like help with and OT’s looking for volunteer work "apply" to work on these projects. This could be a novel professional development opportunity for all involved; optimising the exciting possibilities web 2.0 has to offer. Projects could be around developing care pathways, designing groups, developing training and teaching resources etc. This webspace could also signpost to relevant supporting information (such as the open source information on the ENOTHE project . This concept could also work for therapists working in role emerging posts.

So I some proposed the idea to a few people and the facebook group OTmeetingspace was born to make more links to relevant groups and therapists and to explore the idea further. Clearly we need to establish if the target OT’s in countries with emerging practice feel there is a need for this type of project. We need to map, critique and evaluate existing resources to identify areas of overlap and where the gaps lie. I would ask anyone interested and reading this blog to join and help shape this project.


  1. Welcome to our virtual OT community! You are part of the small (but growing) group of OTs who desperately want to make sure that OT doesn't miss the Web 2.0 and then 3.0 wave as it breaks! It is so exciting to see more OTs seeing the possibilities. I think we need to join in as many virtual spaces as possible to be able to network, teach others and take the profession forward. Please visit Web 2.0 for healthcare in Google groups and Web 2.0 for healthcare in facebook and join them... I started them as an experiment to see what types of people and activity each would attract. They need a purpose though, so that's something I need to work on. I'll get your blog added to the OT Blogs aggregator (
    Here's some tips to get your blog read, post often (at least weekly), posting on a Monday gives you more "hits", add a statistical counter or mapping tool to see where people are coming from to get to your blog, analyze the search words that brought them to your blog and then if relevant, write more about the topics that brought them to you. Make your blog interactive, put up a "poll" every now and then, have a photo so that people relate to you. That's probably enough from me :-)
    Cheers, and have FUN!!!!!
    Cheers, Anita.

  2. Thanks for being my first commenter and for the great advice Anita - its so exciting! Is there any way to search by label say between blogs listed on the aggregator?

  3. Hi again, I'm not quite sure what you mean but if you you want to email me at to discuss exactly what you want to happen I will ask Joan to tell us what she can do (Joan is the creator of the OT Blogs aggregator)... hey that rhymes!
    Cheers! Anita.