Thursday, 29 January 2009

The personal touch adds value to online networking?

I've been reflecting over the past few weeks about how different online networking and contact feel from similar face to face connections.

I started my professional networking on Facebook but my Facebook history and profile had previously been used for purely social purposes. That meant that anyone could see photos of my family, what music I like etc etc. Far more information than I would normally be sharing during a chat over coffee at a conference.

Maybe its the fact that I work in, and blog/network about healthcare which might seem a little more friendly and less cutthroat than say share trading?

There are lots of comments and opinions out there about the blurring of professional and personal lives through social networking but I began to wonder about how this might affect the quality of those interactions?

I have observed that my contact with people I have "met" through web 2.0 is more relaxed and I feel more able to ask questions about others person and work lives. All this makes me hypothesize that online contacts seem to be richer and more productive as a result of the interweaving between personal and professional parts of my life.

So if this eroding the personal/professional boundries and I'm doing work related tasks while checking my personal contacts on facebook does this mean I'm working more? Maybe but as it feels more like an extension of my normal social interaction it doesnt seem to matter. So maybe this helps my worklife balance too - I can be more productive as I interweave my personal and professional. Others would disagree!

So I'm asking the questions:

Do you feel that your online contacts are more productive that face to face and do you think that the personal knowledge you have shared with those people is a factor?

Do you think online contacts enhance or detract from your worklife balance

Friday, 23 January 2009

An Occupational Therapy Carnival?

I keep hearing this term being bandied about and I had no clue what it was so turned to wikipedia for a definition. This seems like it might be a great way to link together the OT bloggers and get some publicity in some hard copy publications and increase the awareness of the great ideas and expertise sharing that is happening through our blogs?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts!

For your own safety

I wouldn't search for posts on health care professionals or OTs on here..........

A few recent finds

This wiki has been set up as a service to the community of visionaries, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, policy makers, and professionals who are working on fundamentally redefining the healthcare industry along the lines of "Web 2.0".

Online communities for healthcare - a paper by John Sanders at the Univerity of Leeds

An NHS article on health2.0 and a resource I want aware of.


In the interest of improving my blog and blogging skills I am trying to comment more on other blogs. Problem is I have a toddler and a full time job so my brain aint what it used to be and I'm having trouble keeping track of what I said where!

In order to address this challenge I've been taking a look at Backtype. I've sorted the link to the blog and now seem to have it posting my comments in OK. Any thoughts? Anyone use this?

The old buckeye: how do we define what we do as OT's

Thought I would post this here, its my response to the Frederick Road post and ensuing debate about core values/core skills of OT. It seems to follow on from the thoughts on my previous post......

" It's an oldie but a goodie (great students by the way Salford!). Here is the link to Jennifer Creeks "OT as a complex intervention".

My personal feeling is that we apply our core skills (which may in part be generic) to our core belief which is unique (humans as occupational beings, occupation as central to wellbeing).

The thorny issue of how OTs define the profession is inherent in its own exisistance. To understand OT you have to be involved in the occupation of occupational therapy. Lost yet? I was fortunate enough to be at a study day with Jennifer just before Christmas and she made a simple but impactful observation. The only clear way to explain is for someone to try to mimic the work of an OT, or to be the recipient, or to sit alongside the process. In other words to use engaging with the occupation of occupational therapy.

Is that too much to ask? How can pragmatically do that to promote the profession?

Would it be a pushing it so say that many people have a more clear view of say of the profession of medicine and the work of a GP as everyone has seen a GP at some point, they know when they would go and the gist of what will happen. They have sat alongside and been a recipient of that care. They have experienced the occupation of a GP appointment/intervention.

Hope that makes some sense and isn't too garbled - I'm trying to hold a baby on my knee and type at the same time!"

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Occupational Therapy as a way of seeing the world

Now I have been known to be a bit fluffy about OT but this post might be pushing the envelope a touch so stay with me. I was pondering today about how many OTs I talk with really feel that the importance of occupation is something that really speaks to them, that they really believe in it. I'm talking not just about saying all the right things about the importance of occupation when at work but about seeing the world from an occupational perspective.

I responded to a post on Facebook a few weeks ago from someone who was complaining that people kept asking her since she changed to a job that didn't have OT in the title, whether she missed being an OT. Her response - I'm still an OT! I wondered whether that though process applied outside the work environment and through some highly reliable research (chatting with green trousered friends) it would appear that we are all at it!

I see OT everywhere, from thinking about how to develop my blog to keeping to my new years resolution (or not) of healthy food and exercise. Rather than the famous line from the Sixth Sense, I see occupational beings!

Whilst all these thoughts are washing about up pops the excellent post from the Fredrick road crew. This throws much of my thought processes into chaos! Is it an OT specific thing to see things through the bottle green tinted glasses of occupation as central to identity, activity analysis and grading and holism?

Monday, 19 January 2009

Blogging and the day job

Heres a question for you all. If you have/start a blog which will be talking about your experiences as a professional should you inform your employer? I've done quite a lot of reading about confidentiality and professionals blogs and the general guidance seems to be a healthy dose of common sense.

I have a "disclaimer" in my "about me" section which attempts to clarify that I am blogging my own views, not those of my employer of my profession. Is that helpful or does it detract from the posts?

I was discussing the joys of blogging with a friend who informed me that the organisation he works for asks that its employees do not blog at all about their work irrespective of the level to which they anonymise it. Is that right? Apparently its so prospective employees, clients and the general public don't read anything negative about the organisation. Seems to be more than a little contrary to the concept of free speech!

For more thoughts on blogging and confidentiality in general take a look at these two posts from top blog Sarah's Musings, firstly "Getting our knickers in a twist" and "An ethics question"

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Many thanks to Possum!

Who have agreed to sponsor my fees for the 2009 BAOT/COT conference. Maybe it was the temptation of publicity through my blog :-) anyway it made me day to know I would definitely be able to attend the conference and I am really excited about doing the roundtable session. I attended the conference in 2006 in Cardiff and really found it an inspirational event. One of the most interesting and though provoking sessions was one I sat in on by accident which had a mental health focus. One presenter talked about CBT and how she saw that this fitted to OT, it made me really reflect on the impact on psychological/psychiatric implications of the long term (and often progressive) conditions of the clients I work with. So thanks Possum, I look forward with great enthusiasm to the opportunity you have given me!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Why blog?

So I'm broaching the idea of our service having a blog an I'm sure I will have to sell it so I had a look at why other people might think its a good, or bad, idea and found this interesting post.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

OTmeetingspace gets a home!

The idea that started out as a tiny spark has now become a full blown towering inferno! Thanks to a very unusual Christmas gift the project now has a website for us to try out features. We wanted initially to create an opportunity for OTs to volunteer their skills online using the best of web 2.0 technology but quickly recognised the projects potential. We started out on a Facebook group and things snowballed from there! For me this is so exciting, but also a bit daunting! I'm only really a web 2.0 rookie and although I'm an experienced therapist I'm not used to working on global projects for sure! Luckily OT's (I've found) are a friendly, helpful and dedicated bunch on the whole and I've been lucky enough to have the support of lots of international colleagues. However I would like to say a special thank you to Sarah Bodell from Salford Uni for her motivation and help with getting so far in such a short space of time.

I'm naturally a "yes" person so I need to make sure I temper my enthusiasm for the project with the day job and home life but I like to think that though my "yes" tendencies can be a logistical nightmare it opens up the world to me.

For me, like the techno kit I use in the day job, technology is a means to an end. That end might be increasing a patients sense of self worth through the creativity of Internet access or voice output communication or the end might be finding ways to promote the profession I really believe in. Anyway come on over and have a look at the site and get excited!