Moving Abroad to Work as an Occupational Therapist

Hi All! I am Jena, you may know me as the social media lead of SPOT Europe. I have just finished my pre-registration master’s at the University of Derby in England. I moved from Canada to complete my master’s and was exited to return home after 2 years away from amazing maple syrup, my family and friends, and views like this!

However, in the transition of moving home I have learned LOADS about moving abroad to work as an OT. While some of it is Canada specific, it can all be transferred to other countries.

MY TOP TIPS FOR MOVING ABROAD AS AN OT

1. Check what immigration policies are like for OTs 

This is easily the most boring part of the process. But, before you go through the process of applying for jobs and talking with employers make sure you will be able to move to this country and work! This is particularly important if you plan to move out of the European Union. It stinks to feel like you’ve wasted time and a dream on moving to a country that immigrating to is really hard or impossible!

2. Check the WFOT certification

Some countries require that all OTs attend a WFOT certified school, some need more, and some do not require WFOT certification. Find out what certifications the programme you attended have and if they are compatible with the country that you wish to migrate to. You can check all of those things here: https://www.wfot.org/programmes/education/wfot-approved-education-programmes .

3. Read the OT regulating body’s webpage AND CONTACT THEM

Almost every country has a group that makes sure OTs working in that country are properly trained. If you are interested in moving to a country, just google that country and occupational therapy/ergotherapie. I read the Canadian OT’s webpage on internationally educated occupational therapists over and over. However, I still got far more information when I e-mailed the representative. She was able to discuss with me things like what I could do prior to graduation to best prepare myself for working in Canada. She also gave me a few tips and tricks for the application process that were so helpful! It can be tempting to do things online, but speaking with a person involved is so helpful!

4. Be Prepared

After making sure you have a full understanding of what you need to do to get a license to practice OT in your new country, make sure you are ready to do all the steps that are required. Some preparation may be required. For example, in Canada and the USA you need to write a national exam and it is important to be ready for this to do well and pass!

5. Make a Budget and Start Saving!

Everyone’s migration will be different, so take a good look at your circumstances and make a budget. Will you need to move into an apartment before you get your first pay cheque? Do you need to pay to write an exam? Will you need to pay for a visa? How much will a plane cost? What about transporting all of your things to your new home? All of these things cost money and although it’s not a lot of fun, it will make you feel much better once you have arrived in your new home! Plus allocate some money to do fun things in your new home!!

6. Be Patient or Be Flexible

Some countries will be easy to immigrate to and work as an OT, some will be more complicated and take more time. If you are set on a location that takes a little while, be patient. Follow all the steps as best you can. If you’re like me and you’re not patient be prepared to be flexible. Either be flexible about your location and pick a different country to explore while you wait. Or be flexible about your job! Sometimes OT assistant jobs or jobs in a related field can be just as rewarding and will allow you to explore and live in a new country with less paper work! It’s up to you which route you want to go, but recognize that you will need to be patient or flexible.

7. Discover and Sell Your International Self!

Although it can be scary to apply for jobs in another country remember that you are bringing something unique and hard to come by! Use SPOT or another OT Facebook group to connect with OTs from the country you are hoping to immigrate to. Use these resources to highlight the differences and what potentially unique perspectives or ideas you can introduce to a service. Show how being an international OT will ADD to a service and its users! There are loads of conferences and online forums to help you get a good grasp on international OT and make informed choices!

Upcoming International Activities in Amsterdam!

COHEHRE event: November 4th-6th

“THE ETHICS IN BUILDING
SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS IN EDUCATION”

Check out the Cohere Academy which facilitates international conversation amongst several health care students! It’s a great time to swap ideas and get a feel for what OT may look like in other countries! Check it out here: http://www.cohehre.com/index.php/calendar/.

International Mobility Week: November 6th-8th

Another opportunity is the International Mobility week. This weeks theme is looking at marginalised groups in a range of settings! Find out more here: http://www.cohehre.com/index.php/event/1235/ or stay updated on our Facebook page!

Rehabilitation Centre in Switzerland: An OT perspective!

Introduction…

Jelena, 23 years old, studies Occupational Therapy (grade 4) at ZUYD Hogeschool in Heerlen. She and a friend of hers, Lea Gnida, went to Switzerland to do an internship. They were both looking very forward to their trip to Switzerland. They worked as interns in a rehabilitation centre in Valens, a small village on top of a mountain with a height of about 1000 meters. The rehabilitation centre was located in a large building where a lot of people from different backgrounds are working. In this centre work a lot of different specialized teams such as: occupational therapists, physiotherapists, creative therapists, music therapists, equine therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and doctors. The first three days of the internship were mainly to get to know the rehabilitation centre and to get familiar with their treatment plans. After those three days Jelena was made fully responsible for her own clients and work. Especially in the beginning she found this very difficult. She was not used to work all by herself because she had never been put in a situation like this during her previous internships.

How easy was it to adjust to the language?

During her first weeks in Switzerland, Jelena experienced also some difficulties with speaking and understanding Swiss. Jelena was born in Germany. She told me that she watched television series in Swiss and bought a Swiss language book to learn and understand more about the language before actually going to Switzerland. During her internship Jelena soon noticed that Swiss was even more difficult to understand than expected. Fortunately (almost) all of the therapists and clients spoke German, so it was very handy for Jelena. Everybody was very understanding and gave Jelena the time to learn and understand the language. After several weeks she was finally able to understand people who lived nearby the rehabilitation centre. However, the dialects from other parts of Switzerland were sometimes too difficult to understand.

Jelena said that it helped a lot that she spoke German, but she also thinks that someone from the Netherlands who has some knowledge of the German language will not encounter any problems with understanding Swiss.

Many of the people Jelena worked with were not from Switzerland and spoke German with each other a lot of the time.

Was it an international team?

During the team consults people from different professions consulted with each other about various topics. Differences between the various disciplines were not seen as important because there were working many people from different countries, with different professions. Once in a while they also held team meetings, during these meetings therapists were able to talk about cases in which they experienced some difficulties. After those meetings they planned a consult with the client in which they gave some information about the different treatments they had given so far. By doing so, the whole team was able to think about how they could improve and maybe even change their treatment plans. Jelena said that she found these meetings always very interesting and that she learned a lot from these meetings.

How was the experience in general?

Jelena said she had a very pleasant stay in Switzerland. The one thing she didn’t like was being away from home for three months and not being able to see her boyfriend and friends. Of course, she was very happy that she was able to go to Switzerland with her friend Lea, so she wasn’t all alone. Jelena and Lea shared a room in a house were the rest of the staff was also housed. In this house they had to share a kitchen and a bathroom with other roommates.

Jelena told me that she received an internship fee which was about 1200 Swiss Francs (± 900 euro). She had to pay about 450 euros for her room. In Switzerland everything is a little bit more expensive than in the Netherlands or in Germany. Mostly meat was very pricey. So, Jelena and Lea decided that they were going to eat more veggies and less meat during their stay in Switzerland.

What did the internship include?

Jelena worked 42 hours per week at the rehabilitation centre, but there were some weeks that she worked overtime. In the morning they always began with an ADL-observation and after this the individual treatments followed. In the afternoon she always helped out with group therapy sessions. These therapies took place at different locations, for example at a school. At these locations there were different rooms with a bed, kitchen etc. During her internship Jelena was able to do a lot of her work independently. By doing so, she noticed very quickly what was good for her and what wasn’t.

Her supervisors were only present during treatments when needed. This was something that Jelena experienced as very pleasant. At first, she tried to work very precisely, so she was always very busy after work and in the weekends because she had to prepare a lot of things on beforehand. At one point, she noticed that this was too much for her to handle and she decided to make a change. She tried to do some of the work during the therapy sessions, so she immediately could learn from her mistakes. This made Jelena feel more stress-resistant. She also was very happy that there wasn’t always someone checking up on her and looking over her shoulders while working. When she needed help, she could always count on her supervisor. ‘Everyone was so nice and kind to me. Everyone always wanted to help me’.

Once a month Jelena talked with a teacher from her school in the Netherlands via Skype. During these sessions they talked about personal matters but also about her internship.

How did you spend your free time?

Of course, Jelena was not always working during her internship. The surrounding areas of the rehabilitation centre were very beautiful. She loved to hike in the mountains and she also went to a ski area which was close by. In this ski area they went up and down the mountains with a sled and there was also a funicular railway. Near the rehabilitation centre was a city where Jelena went shopping, to the movies or had dinner with some friends. During the weekends they took the car and travelled through the area. It was very useful for Jelena and Lea to have a car, because the public transport in Switzerland was very expensive.   

Would you recommend it?

Jelena would definitely go back to Switzerland if she had the chance. She learned a lot from her internship because it was a place where a lot of independence was required. It is also very important that you can cope with stressful situations, if you are interested in doing an internship like this. One of the main reasons why she enjoyed this internship so much was because she worked with people from different nationalities and disciplines. These people had very different views and ideas about work. So, Jelena learned a lot about multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural work. The rehabilitation centre was a very nice place to work where you could always learn from everyone and from every experience.

SPOT – News & Activities

 

Just giving everyone an update about SPOT’s recent activities and exciting ideas for the future!

As SPOTeurope develops there will be a few role changes and a lot more opportunities for YOU to become involved in sharing your experiences! 

See below for an update from each of the SPOT board members:

(more info on each member can be found on The Board page)

 

Marlies – President

Over the past months a lot of changes happened within SPOT. First of all (and sadly) we’ve waved Maurane and Valia goodbye because they are now qualified OT’s (yay them!). Luckily we welcomed two new wonderful board members, Alex & Natalie, who will bring new energy and refreshing ideas into our team 🙂

As a (new) team we’re making new plans and progress on taking SPOT to the next level. You can expect the ‘How-to guide’ for the Mini SPOTs very soon, just like the (long promised 😉) map of all the OT schools in Europe. Thank you to the students who are already developing the mini SPOT’s and sharing SPOT within Uni; we’re growing really fast! Keep up this great work.

Besides my tasks for SPOT, I’ve been part of the ENOTHE’s board since the ENOTHE annual meeting in October 2018, as the first Student Board Member. I’m involved in the day to day tasks and decisions within this board. In a few months I’ll write a blog about my experiences and tasks as a board member, so you all will have a better idea on what I’m doing! If you have ideas or changes you’d like to see within the OT education / ENOTHE : please let me know! I’m your voice and would love to share it.

Lastly, I want to thank Lottie with all my heart. She’s stepping down from her role as Vice President very soon. Lottie was the first one to join me in SPOT and without her, SPOT wouldn’t exist like it’s now. We’re going to miss you!


Charlotte – Vice President

After nearly 2 years in the role of Vice President, I am stepping down and handing my role over to Cassandra, (our Mini SPOT Coordinator).

I hope she enjoys her time as much as I have! My SPOT journey has taught me so much about occupational therapy across Europe. I’ve had some amazing experiences, in some amazing locations, and feel very proud to have contributed to SPOT’s growth.

Thank you to all the students, practitioners and educators who have also been part of that.

Let’s be sure to stay in touch!


Cassandra – Mini SPOT Coordinator/ soon to be Vice President

SPOT has grown a lot in the last year and this makes me very happy ! I started as the Mini SPOT Coordinator one year ago. Since then, I have worked on developing knowledge around the mini SPOT’s, created a ‘How-to guide’ and supported other students who wanted to set up a mini SPOT.

In the upcoming year I will be part of SPOT in a different way. Our current Vice President Charlotte will step down soon and I will pursue her role. I am really looking forward to this and hope to meet lots of new OT students!

Please contact me at vicepresident@spoteurope.eu if you have any questions!

Anything relating to mini SPOT’s please email Alex at outreach@spoteurope.eu


Alex – Outreach Coordinator

I first learned about SPOT at the 2017 ENOTHE AM in Zagreb. I was really intrigued by their ideas for internationalisation and student exchange so I became a student representative for my university in Innsbruck, Austria. In the past year I’ve tried to promote SPOT and get my colleagues interested in international activities and student exchange. A few months ago I then joined the SPOT board as Outreach Coordinator. Since then I’ve been establishing and maintaining contact with students and lecturers across Europe, helping them with their own activities including setting up mini SPOT’s.

My aim is to spread awareness of SPOT and help anyone who is interested to get on board!

With Cassandra pursuing her position as Vice President, her old role and mine will be merged and I’ll take over her responsibilities.

If you have any questions on how to get involved or need inspiration setting things up at your school/university, feel free to contact me anytime at outreach@spoteurope.eu


Jena – Social Media Lead

Our social media has continued to grow and we are so happy about that!! We are looking forward to having 1000 Facebook likes!

Highlights of our social media include #mememonday and self-care Sunday!

Check us out on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram 

We are also hoping to start a “day in the life of an OT student” on our Instagram stories, so if you’re interested in showing SPOT what you get up to every day message us on Instagram @SPOTeurope!!


Natalie – Blogger

I’m currently searching for future guest bloggers that would be interested in sharing their activities and experiences of Occupational Therapy!

Guest blogs can include information about: placements, student activities, conferences & events, interesting news articles and more!

Please get in touch if you have something you want us to share or you are interested in writing a guest blog!

Email me at  blogger@spoteurope.eu or contact me through Twitter @Nat_Pickering

 

New Year- New SPOT Blogger!

Hi, I’m Natalie 🙂   The new blogger for SPOTeurope!

About Me

I’m a first year student at the University of Worcester in the UK.
I’ve only just started my OT journey and have lots more to learn over the next three years!

I’m excited to be part of SPOT to share new perspectives and opportunities for us as students. I really believe in the benefits of internationalisation and sharing our experiences to support each other and promote our incredible profession! I have an interest in the Arts and anything creative, especially if its combined with improving wellbeing 🙂

 

The Blog

The aim of the blog is to connect OT students in Europe and the world through posting interesting news, activities, tips and experiences we have as students!

Articles will be posted twice a month, on Wednesdays. Some posts will be my me, but most will be by students like you! or other people linked to Occupational Therapy.

 

My role

I am on the lookout for people who want to share their experiences relating to Occupational Therapy!

This list below has a few suggestions but we are happy to include new ideas if you have them!

  • Experiences on placement
  • Student activities (Mini SPOT’s, mobility weeks, workshops, guest speakers etc)
  • Service users experiences of OT
  • Interesting conferences or events
  • News and current topics around OT and healthcare
  • OT practitioners and current research
  • Emerging OT roles of the future

Everyone has the opportunity to become involved! 

Guest blogs can be written by anyone with an interest in Occupational Therapy: students, service users, practitioners, researchers, other health professionals, the list goes on!

Don’t worry, creating an article is quick and simple! I can offer support and guidance to help you write your blog post and include any photos or videos you want to show.

 

Please get in touch if you have something you want us to share or you are interested in writing a guest blog!

Email me at  blogger@spoteurope.eu or contact me through Twitter @Nat_Pickering

Look forward to hearing from you all! 🙂

Attending the 2018 WFOT Congress as an OT student: my 8 very best moments!

Published by Maurane, on behalf of author Charlotte, SPOTeurope vice-president.

WFOT 2018 de Maurane

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to win an RCOT competition (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) for funding to attend the WFOT Congress in South Africa this year.

I’ve just finished my second year of university and, although I’ve learnt a lot about OT (and myself), the WFOT Congress was perhaps more formative than any part of my OT journey so far!

I’d really like to share this experience with everyone, so here are my 8 best WFOT moments:

 

1. Marlene Le Roux

I knew this conference was going to be special when, in the opening ceremony, Marlene La Roux shared this powerful statement; “Occupational Therapy means you must be an activist.” We cannot limit our work to fitting ramps (for example); we have a responsibility to challenge attitudes, and see the bigger picture, using our skills to make change. This theme continued to grow throughout the conference. It was so exciting to see so many Occupational Therapists who were both passionate and political.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpqIVz5jXcI

2. Elelwani Ramugondo: Healing work:  Intersections of Decoloniality

Elelwani Ramugondo’s keynote address introduced me to the concepts of occupational consciousness and decolonising health and Occupational Therapy. It was an incredibly powerful address which I am still reflecting on. As a result, I’m consciously unpicking my professional interactions and assumptions. I’m trying to ensure I am supporting the decolonisation of OT, not merely sustaining (and benefitting from) dominant practice. I’m also obsessed with reading her work, which should definitely be featured within our curriculum!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S96IIytPG9I

 

3. Hippotherapy

The WFOT congress wasn’t just workshops and presentations, there were also site visits. I was lucky enough to visit an OT at a local stables who runs hippotherapy sessions. Hippotherapy uses horse riding as a therapeutic occupation for increased balance, bilateral coordination, sensory integration, etc. It’s a fascinating area of practice and a really rare opportunity to see it in action! Check out the video made just for SPOTeurope.

 

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/1000415853177958400

 

4. GAPA Grannies (Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids).

A really special feature at WFOT was the keynote address by service users in South Africa. It helped put Occupational Therapy into context and remind everyone who we are working for. The GAPA Grannies are such engaging story tellers. They shared their experiences of raising their grandchildren, the fight against Aids and poverty, and the value of being part of a group of people with shared experiences. You can see their presentation, as well as those from the other service user’s, here and here is their beautiful song.

http://www.gapa.org.za/

 

5. Student session

The student session consisted of a panel of inspiring Occupational Therapists talking about their individual OT journey and answering questions from students. They all had such different career paths and motivations, it was exciting to see there can be so much variation within our profession.

Here is some of the insight they offered:

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/1000086336928350208

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/999757524302786560

6. OT in natural disaster

When I think of disaster relief, I think of Doctors and Nurses swooping in and saving lives. I was curious to know where OT fits in, so I attended an afternoon of poster presentations on the subject.

I learnt that in a recent Japanese earthquake approximately twice as many disabled people died than non-disabled people. There are teams of OTs working with vulnerable communities to put plans in place should disaster strike. I was amazed to realise that, whilst others are picking up the pieces after a disaster, OTs are working behind the scenes to ensure it doesn’t claim as many lives in the first place, or disproportionality effect the most vulnerable. Our role is disaster preparedness!

 

7. Karen Whalley-Hammell: Building Globally Relevant Occupational Therapy from the Strength of our Diversity

Karen Whalley-Hammell’s keynote address challenged the predominantly white, female, middle class, western, non-disabled perspective that our research and theory comes from. She suggested that we have a habit of viewing these perspectives as the norm which is an “assertion of colonial power.” She offered lots of critique of our occupation categorisations and made strong arguments for a move towards co-occupations and interdependence to increase health and wellbeing. Not only was this fascinating and important, it will also be super useful in future assignments!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WipUPXx_Kk

8. Meeting new people and sharing a connection

I am not a naturally sociable person.. but the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with OTs and students from around the world was incredibly inspiring! I met people whose work I have followed, others who I have now started following and some who I will collaborate with in the future. Discovering shared interests and connections is exciting and gave new energy to my love for this profession!

https://twitter.com/LottieOcci/status/999329663804694529

https://twitter.com/SPOTeurope/status/1000016429213802496

Courtesy of Bill Wong


I have so much gratitude to RCOT for their competition and to my lecturers who convinced me to apply. I recommend you take any opportunity you can to attend the 2022 WFOT Congress in Paris!

SPOTeurope board members activities, news and projects.

Hi everyone! This blog aims to keep you up to date about SPOTeurope board activities. We know that our roles may be sometimes unclear, then here’s what we have done recently and a few words about our plans.

If you want to learn more about each member of the board check our About/The Board section.

Marlies, president, and Charlotte, vice president

They are currently strongly working with ENOTHE, the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education. They’re mainly preparing the 24th ENOTHE Annual Meeting, from 4th to 6th October 2018 at the Escola Superior de Saúde do Alcoitão (ESSA), Portugal, where we’re going to have a big presence.

Charlotte, SPOTeurope Vice-President

In addition, Marlies host the website. She’s also in touch with different OT students and universities from all over Europe, answering and redirecting emails to the others board members. She’s currently working on a map she’d like to post on the website; this map shows OT Schools and Universities across Europe and SPOT representatives. It’s an amazing tool so everyone can see where we have students who you can be in touch with. She hopes the map to be online before the summer holiday.

Charlotte is also the one who write reports after meetings. She has been increasing SPOT’s international community, espacially via the WFOT Congress in South Africa she participated in. Thus Charlotte had the opportunity to talk with OT students about their projects, various experiences, life as OT students in Europe, etc. It allows her to encourage them in writing a blog for us.

 

Jena, social media lead

Jena, our social media lead

She posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of SPOTeurope. She established themes for some days of the week like the “OT memes Monday” or “Self-care Sunday” or the “Blog Wednesday”. She recently launched our Instagram page! We would like our social medias to be more active. Thus if anyone ever wants something promoted or sees something they’d like posted, feel free to message her on any of the social medias. About Instagram, you can send videos of “OT students’ moments”. Jena will be able to share it with the European OT students’ community!

Valia, outreach lead

Valia contacts and keep in touch with European OT universities who are members of ENOTHE. She informs them about our platform and explains them ways of getting involved. Indeed she conducted a brief explanatory email about SPOTeurope and an additional file with more detailed information. The next plan is to discuss with Marlies which universities have already been informed about SPOTeurope and what our next action will be.

Cassandra, mini SPOT coordinator

Her role is to help you creating and leading mini SPOT in your university. You wonder what a mini SPOT is ? Basically a mini SPOT is a student platform at a university. The platform stands for internationalization at the university. For example at her university in Amsterdam, they organize movie nights with an intercultural theme and they discuss it. Also they create theme days about internationalization. The platform is run by students and for students. Off course a coordinated teacher would be appreciated. Every student can set up a mini SPOT, yet it is important that they are linked to SPOTeurope, that’s why the name mini SPOT. Also the representative of the university should be linked with the SPOT. If you’re interested in creating a mini SPOT in your university, feel free to email Cassandra at minispot@spoteurope.eu.

Maurane, blogger

I look for guest bloggers with the help of SPOT representatives and board members, and manage requests of people who want to write a blog for us. Then I help them writing their blog entries when needed. I write some blogs, like this one. Moreover I manage the articles’ layout: create designs, images, etc. I recently added a comments section under the articles for them to foster discussions and interactions, please feel free to ask anything and react about the blog theme!

As I’ll graduate soon, we are looking for a new blogger for SPOTeurope from October. If you’re interested in joining the board, feel free to email me at blogger@spoteurope.eu to ask me anything about the role (even if you’re not confident in your English skills!).

Breaking news!


Marlies and Vanessa in Gent, Belgium (2018, March)

We are pleased to announce that Alex Lukavsky and Vanessa Röck, Austrian SPOT representatives are now SPOT representatives’ leads. They’ll be happy to offer tips and advice to any representatives.

The Newsletter ! Indeed we are going to share the first newsletter quite soon, you can subscribe entering you name and email address on the right sidebar.

 

 

 


You want to become a guest blogger/SPOT representative/blogger? Or create a mini SPOT in your university? Feel free to ask emailing the board at info@spoteurope.eu, we would be happy to answer you! 

Behind the Scenes of Brunel’s 3rd Occupational Therapy Student Conference

Published by Maurane, on behalf of authors Abigail Darko, Jenny Hong, & Fatema Virani from Brunel University London, United Kingdom

Overview…

Brunel’s Occupational Therapy Student Conference is an annual student-led event with opportunities for students in training to work together. The conference includes keynote lectures, seminars, and workshops discussing relevant topics and emerging areas that expand beyond academia teachings. This year’s conference took place on 27th of April, 2018. It included speakers who are occupational therapists, other allied health professionals, carers, parents, and service users. Delegates consisted of practitioners and students from Brunel University, students from other UK universities, Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium!

How we got started…

After forming a committee of truly passionate and committed students, an initial meeting was set up. The meeting was facilitated by a staff lecturer and allowed the committee to commence the team-bonding process. Key decisions were made, which included selecting the theme for the conference. It was only natural that the theme covered “The transformative power of occupation”. We wanted to learn new and exciting ways to use ‘occupation’ to transform the lives of communities and individuals.

The student co-chairs then facilitated meetings and discussion of ideas proposed by committee members for the conference. An action plan was drawn up with tasks to complete before the next meeting, with deadlines set before the next meeting.

Planning…

  1. Prepare to be flexible, communicate, compromise, and be patient.
  2. Ensure minutes and action plans for all meetings are recorded and sent out to the committee as soon as possible to get the ball rolling in completing tasks.
  3. Select keynote speakers, seminar and workshop leaders through university, placement, and conference networks (committee members can provide a range of presenters based on the varying experiences!). Contact and confirm the speakers’ attendance early in advance.
  4. Publicise conference on all available platforms internal and external to the University.
  5. Agree on a reasonable and realistic budget and stick to it!
  6. Once tickets go on sale, have a system in place to track the budget goals weekly.
  7. Make sure to share important milestones with the team (i.e. first 100 tickets sold, etc).
  8. When it comes to food – ‘it’s better to have too much than not enough’.

Top 10 tips for a successful day…

‘So after many hours of planning and hard work…how to make it count!’   

  1. Start early! The weeks really do fly by—draft a timeline/schedule for important jobs or roles.
  2. Set up deadlines and meet them!
  3. Communication is vital – set up a discussion forum or utilise social media to stay connected with your organising team.
  4. Teamwork – Use the strengths and talents in your team!
  5. Logistics – Make sure rooms are booked well in advance to ensure the date of your conference.
  6. Food – search for potential providers and estimated costs once the proposed budget is confirmed.
  7. Volunteers – search for members willing to support the conference and appreciate them as they are valuable contributors to the conference day.
  8. Ensure programme booklets, certificates, timetable, and registration list are in order the day before conference.
  9. Duration of conference – make sure the event follows the programme’s timetable to ensure it ends accordingly.
  10. Greet attendees and speakers and provide a welcoming and inspirational environment for members to comfortably engage and participate in the day’s activities.

Final Words…

‘Team work is dream work!’

It is imperative that as occupational therapists in the making, we advocate for student-led events. Your passion is infectious and will inspire others! Finally always remember, to have a coherent and successful conference you must ensure that it is fueled with:

  1. Teamwork: By communicating and working smart, the can be more efficient and creative with the project.
  2. Community: A sense of community within the committee should be established and developed so everyone is included, supported, and feels a part of the team.
  3. Leaders in OT: As the next generation of leaders will be in attendance of the conference, ensure they are well inspired by current OT role models!


Contacts :

French OT students charity concert

Written by Maurane, with Nolwenn and Sarah, on behalf of ATEEC.

A concert for the benefit of hospitalized children

On Friday May, 18th, the OT students association of Tours, France, organized a charity concert in a café concert named Les 3 Orfèvres. This concert took place as part of the action of Ampli Mutuelle, a health mutual, named Nez pour Sourire, for the organization Le Rire Médecin.

Le Rire Medecin is a French organization who trains clowns for them to bring joy and cheerfulness to hospitalized children. Thus, every year, the Nez Pour Sourire action is launched to raise fund for supporting clowns training. For this purpose, various students organizations all over France sell goodies like Red Noses and other stuffs. This concert were then organized as part of this action by ATEEC, supported by UNAEE.

What is ATEEC?

ATEEC is Tours OT students association. The board has 18 OT students, who enliven student life organizing events, managing partnerships, setting up tutoring before exams, implementing prevention actions, participating in sports events, and many other things. Thus, Nolwenn and Corentin (see the photo opposite!) managed the organization of the concert, Margot and Sarah handled the fundraising for the charity action, and all the board members help them out for everything to be fine.

 

The concert!

Singers were 4 OT students, and 1 friend of them, who is a Adapted Physical Activity student. They sang and played guitar and piano. They had a 1h30 concert with French and international covers.

This brand new experience was really appreciated by all the board members, singers, students and crowd. Moreover it allowed ATEEC to raise funds for them and for Nez Pour Sourire.

“It was great to bring students together in a charity action, and promote OT students talents at the same time”, Nolwenn told. “It was not as hard to organize as it seemed to be at the beginning, she added that it was just about being prepared and organised. OT students have talents, it’s great to share them and use them for a cause like that.”

And now, try for yourself !

If you have any question or reaction about this event, feel free to leave a comment bellow !

 

 

See you soon! Maurane.

Finnish Occupational Therapy Students’ pop-up in shopping centres

Published by Maurane, on behalf of authors First Year Occupational Therapy Students from Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

In this study module we worked on assessment of motor skills. To be able to evaluate clients’ motor skills we had to understand the anatomy and physiology of the upper limb of a human being. Therefore we deepened our knowledge of upper limb muscles, and both motor and sensory nerve systems.

We used various measurement tools to assess clients´ occupational performance. Based on the Model of Human Occupation Theory, we tested different skills that include motor, process and both communication and interaction skills. We got to see what assessment in occupational therapy means in practice. We organized a pop-up in the shopping centres of Turku and assessed upper limb motor skills of passers-by. On the same occasion we got to spread the word about occupational therapy.

 

Assessment tools we studied and used in the pop-up

Purdue pegboard test

Occupational therapy students are testing each other with Purdue pegboard-test.

Purdue pegboard test measures manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination. There is a specific board with two parallel rows with 25 holes where cylindrical metal pegs are placed by the patient. The first part of the test starts with the dominant hand. The client has 30 seconds to place metal pegs to holes as fast as possible. Then we count pegs, and the client repeats the test with the other hand. Second part of the test measures working with two hands together, client has 30 seconds to put metal pegs to two rows.

For the third part of the test, client has to put together four metal parts : pegs, trays and collars in a specific order for one minute. The assessor counts all the assembled parts and the client gets one point for each part.

Minnesota rate of manipulation test

The client is testing Minnesota rate

Minnesota-rate measures the speed of gross arm and hand movements. It assesses the hand-eye coordination, and both unilateral and bilateral manual dexterity. The complete assessment includes five tests : placing, turning, displacing, one-hand turning and placing and two-hand turning and placing.
Client can practice each test before the start of the assessment . Then they repeat each test at least twice and performed while standing. This assesses both accuracy and speed. Score of each test is time, in seconds, required to complete the chosen number of test trials.

 

Nine-hole peg

This test measures finger dexterity. It starts by asking the client to take  pegs from a container, one by one, and place them into the holes on the board, as quickly as possible. Then client have to remove the pegs from the holes, one by one, and replace them back into the container.
Client have to use only one hand at the time. Assessor starts the stopwatch from the moment the participant touches the first peg until the moment the last peg hits the container. Both hands are tested, dominant hand first.

Jamar-test

Jamar-test measures a grip strength of hand. Client and assessor sit face to face. Client have to to sit up with their back straight and keep their arm in 90 degrees. The arm is not allowed to touch the body. The press is meant to be quick and strong. The client repeats the test twice for each hand 30 seconds between the presses. Results are then compared to Finnish average in their age group.

Moberg pick up

Moberg pick up test assesses functional sensibility. This test involves picking up, holding, manipulating and identifying everyday objects. The client gets 10 standard objects which are the same temperature example metal. The test starts by naming the 10 objects. After that the client picks up the objects and puts them in to the box, first with their dominant hand and then with the other hand. The same is done next blindfolded. After that the client has to identify the objects blindfolded and put them back in to the box. Assessor times the test with a stopwatch.

Box and blocks

The idea of the Box and blocks test is to measure the gross manual dexterity. In the test there is a two-parts box, there are 150 blocks on one side of the box and the other one is empty. Thus the client moves blocks with one hand to the other side of the box. Client start with their dominant hand and they have one-minute time to try to move blocks to the other side as fast as possible. The assessor then counts blocks, and client repeats the test with the other hand. They have 15 seconds to practice the test with each hand.

Pinch-test

Pinch-test measures pinch grip strength. The client uses three differents grips in this test; pincer grip, key pinch grip and three finger pinch grip. During the test the client sits on a chair and the assessor holds the pinch meter still so the client can do the test. The assessor tell her/him to sit up with their back straight and arm in 90 degrees. The arm is not allowed to touch the body. The client pinches the pinch meter as hard as possible. The assessor then compares results to Finnish average in client’s age group.

 

Nine-hole peg, Jamar, Moberg, Box and Blocks, and Pinch

Organizing a pop-up was a great opportunity for us to learn how to use these measurements. We recommend these kinds of events for all of you future occupational therapists!


Feel free to comment this blog and email me at blogger@spoteurope.eu if you have any question about this article. SPOTeurope board is approachable if you want to write an article on this blog, or become involved in this wide OT students network! – Maurane 

My international fieldwork placement in Trois-Rivières, Canada

Hi everyone, Maurane’s speaking ! Today I’m going to tell you about this amazing experience I’ve had last year : my international occupational therapy fieldwork placement in Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada.

When ?

I’ve been there from May, 5th to July, 18th, 2017, as a 2nd year OT student. For 8 weeks I’ve had an awesome placement, and then I spent 10 days road-tripping across Quebec.

Where ?

I was in Trois-Rivières, Canada, a French-speaking city. My placement took place in the local teaching hospital, especially in family medicine, pneumology, orthopaedic, urology, gastroenterology and vascular surgery departments, mainly with elderly people. Both of my supervisors were referent for several of the following departments, but they were attached to the rehabilitation department.

Why ?

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone experiencing something new, far from my country, my culture and my habits. I also wanted to get to know another way to provide occupational therapy services, especially in North America, OT birthplace.

What ?

I learned so many things ! On an individual level and of course professionally, this placement really impressed me. I feel this was the first time I really felt as an OT.

Personal development

Stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing totally new stuffs alone was much rewarding. Indeed I had no choice but to cope with any situations in everyday life by my own. I’ve had issues with lodging in the first week I was there. I’ve had to move from my place, thus I had to look for another place to live. I managed this by my own, without my parents assisting me, and it went well ! Then I was pretty proud and I feel more confident now as I know that I’m able to manage this kind of situations by my own.

Moreover I met awesome people there. I took the time to get to know them and their culture, I discovered a way of life I didn’t know before, which got me think about my own philosophy and lifestyle. Even if they speak French and live in a western culture, I felt differences in people’s behaviors and values. In general terms I felt they were much optimistic about life ! I also met people coming from all over the world travelling during week ends. I became less afraid to start a conversation with people I don’t know, which is also an advantage in professional practice !

Professional development

I’ve had to adapt to a brand new health care system, professional environment, and culture in a short period of time. First, I gained confidence in my adaptative skills as I’ve had no troubles accommodating to this unfamiliar environment. Secondly I learnt working with great rigor. My supervisors were more demanding than I’ve had ever experience in France, especially about professional writings. I learnt to use accurate terms when forwarding information to other professionals, in both oral and written form. During this placement I also felt that OT practice was more evidence based than it is in France, as research is also way more fertile. Thus I understood the importance of developing research in OT in France as it’s essential to expand and enhance our practice.

======

Standing in front of the Cogeco Auditorium in Trois-Rivières.

I would never recommend you enough to travel and experience unfamiliar fieldwork placement settings !

Feel free to react and ask me any question you may have.

Email : blogger@spoteurope.eu // Twitter : @maurane_ctr