Thinking OT

Thoughts from Harrison Training and the occupational therapy world

Posts Tagged ‘blogging

Blogging and Social Networking in the NHS – Change Needed

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OTNews have a brief and dispiriting article this month on page 10, entitled Blogging and social networking.  I am grateful that this article was brought to my attention as I prepare for a very popular workshop on Social Media Usage at next week’s COTSS Independent Practice conference next week.  I think we can have some fun with this…

The article runs off a litany of reasons why blogging and social networking is bad.  To summarise they are

  • breaches of confidentiality
  • information leaks
  • defamation
  • damage to organisational reputation
  • information to be used for social engineering and identity theft
  • viruses and other malware
  • bandwidth consumption resulting in degrading services and wasting time for other users
  • intimidation of NHS staff leading to investigations.

The article goes on to state that you can download the full checklist (what, there’s more?!) here.

I am not sure what the motive behind the article was, not least because the College is actually quite active in this field itself.  It just pops up in the news pages, even though the guidelines referred to date back to December 2009.

The disappointment in it is that it reads in the most reactionary terms.  It comes across as being anti-progress by only listing the woebetides and the why nots.

Where is the debate about how we can manage risk and progress?  Where is the discussion on the opportunities that become available?

For all your threats above I give you my own list.

Watch out for social media and blogging.  It can result in:-

  • collaboration
  • innovation
  • education
  • integration
  • creativity
  • community
  • encouragement
  • support
  • development
  • efficiencies
  • knowledge management
  • best practice…
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Written by harrisontraining

October 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm

OT Blogs, Social Media and Confidentiality

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Salford University’s excellent OT blog had a timely reminder on confidentiality within OT blogging, together with several useful links.  You can read their entry here.

I was reminded of another blog article  had written from outside the OT sphere about a useful test on blogging confidentiality and I share it below.  This blog, as you will see, originated from an indiscreet comment on Twitter, but the test still applies;

“Hey look that’s me!”

I spotted a twitter exchange yesterday that caused me some concern.

A case was being discussed on Twitter that referred to identifying features. No names were mentioned and in that sense, at least, the clients were anonymous.  However, the details being discussed, such as appointments, some figures and issues would have been enough for the clients concerned to identify themselves in a flash.

I cannot recall where I learnt this “Hey look, that’s me!” test for confidentiality.  I do not know if it is enshrined in protocol or case law – perhaps a reader might care to tell us – but it makes perfect sense.

If a client can recognise themselves then that is perhaps the lowest cognitive bar we can set.

That is no reason to disregard that low bar, or dismiss it with an argument that “No-one else would know who it was.”  After all, if the client complains to us or relevant supervising bodies, then that will be more than enough to land us in hot water.

This incident also highlighted another issue.  We need to be diligent ourselves in testing confidentiality, but also in pointing out possible problems to one another.

By doing so we can self police effectively.  The alternative is likely to be a blanket ban or some other hysterical over-reaction.

I hope that if I have such a lapse in future that someone would quickly send me a direct message discretely to point out a possible problem.

I also hope that I would receive it with the same good grace and politeness that my Twitter friend did.

In the words of High School Musical “We’re all in this together…”

Written by harrisontraining

September 2, 2010 at 7:30 am

The Meaning In Occupation

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The Meaning of Occupation? Just Doing.

The “What is Occupational Therapy To You?” post last week attracted quite a bit of attention both within the occupational therapy sector, but also from non-OTs.

You can follow the discussion there and see that the conversation in the comments.

I thought, when I wrote the article, that I was talking about that old chestnut of an argument, “What is OT?”  Readers however were more interested in the question “What do you DO?”

Jouyin Teoh, a blogger at OT on OT challenged us to drill down further and focus on the “occupation” within occupational therapy. 

When we talk about occupation within OT we use it in a sense that has no sense outside of our spheres.  To the rest of the world your occupation is “Yer job” and nothing more.  The common misconception that occupational therapists are people who only help you get back to work makes perfect sense accordingly.

When we consider “What do we do to give our lives meaning ?” then we are far more aligned to the client and their world view. 

So how can we open up this idea of occupation as just doing or being?

Quite by accident I followed up last week’s “What is…” post with an article looking at occupational therapy issues on Flickr . The thought occurs to me that we could share and celebrate what it is that we do by way of photography.

To that end, I have set up a Flickr Group page called “Occupation… just doing“.  I have seeded it with some photos of varing quality from my own collection.  These are photos of doing, or being, even the mundane things, which give meaning to our lives.

Why not share some of yours?  Take photos, whether on your mobile phone or dedicated camera, of you, or people you know, just doing things.  Let’s celebrate these things we do and get a broader understanding of what it is that we do, when we do what do.

This is not a competition, and there is no need for excellence.  This is simply about sharing and celebrating the joy of occupation.

Social Media in Clinics and Hospitals

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Our last blog looked at why should we bother with social media in occuaptional therapy.  We examined the benefits of re-telling, or passing on stories.

We also promised to turn our gaze to the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic was the source of the YouTube video of a couple playing the piano together.  It is a wonderfully uplifting film clip, and just the tip of their media iceberg.

Here is their dedicated YouTube channel, their Sharing Mayo Clinic blog, and, inevitably their Facebook page, with more than 15,000 fans.

This is a remarkable effort, and one that has apparently been recognised through their nomination to receive a Webby Award, the Oscars of the internet world.

Why do they do it and what does it achieve?

Well, the introduction to their blog states this;

“A blog with stories from patients, families, friends and Mayo Clinic staff”.  Stories again.  The stories humanise what could be an intimidating organisation – both in its size and also its nature.

But staff blogging?  Many here believe that is a serious no-no within healthcare, but at the Mayo there is no such disapproval.  That is not to say that they do not care, far from it.  They have a strong social media policy in place though, you can read it here.  When organisations have policies and guidelines such as these then obstacles to communication can be managed.  Staff can be encouraged and developed in social media skills, and given the tools to get the organisation’s message out there, namely that they care, that they are human and relate to their clients as humans too.  That is powerful and much better than simply prohibiting staff from engaging with online communities that might come into contact with the clinic.

And look at that Facebook page.

One reason for prohibiting social media interaction is that someone might say something bad.  On the Facebook page, people do raise objections on cost, interference in sociol-political campaigns and even a veiled attack on competence, which is perhaps inevitable.  It is not an issue though, the Mayo Clinic has built up such a loyal following around it, that the less favourable comments do not stand out and you have to look pretty hard to find them.

Oh, and they even have their own Second Life area as pictured above.

What similar systems, where patients, clients, families and staff are encouraged to speak out have you seen in the organsations you work in?

Social Media in Occupational Therapy. Why Bother?

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Here at Harrison Training, we are discovering more fascinating OT blogs every week.

Today we came across Kara, a newly qualified occupational therapist in America, and her very personal and intimate blog “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

This particular post, “Another chapter in my book of life” impressed for several reasons, the first of which is this;

Many of you may have seen this already, judging by the massive number of viewings this clip has had, but it bears repeating because it is so charming.  It also demonstrates one of the powers of social media within occupational therapy.

The YouTube video is so evocative in setting up a vision, an aspiration of what older adult life can be like.  In doing so, it challenges our preconceptions about older people, their needs and what we might expect for ourselves in the years to come.

Other reasons for the success of the “Another chapter..” post by Kara, and social media generally, is that Kara talks about why she is passionate about her work.  She can pass on the YouTube video and in doing so relay that story but she also uses social media to pass on other memorable stories… The dead body of Mussolini hanging upside down from a tree, anyone.

But so what?  Why bother?  What is in it for Kara?

Probably nothing tangible, nothing that can be counted in pounds and pence, or dollars and dimes, or at least not yet.

But we all have a need to tell these stories, to hand them on.

In doing so, isn’t she honouring the gifts that her clients have to offer?

Kara is adding to the occupational therapy and healthcare community by sharing optimistic viewpoints but also, elsewhere on her blog, sharing challenges that she is facing.

Maybe we’re just being overly sentimental here, but we believe that social media has a critical role to play for all of us,  in our work and development as OTs and health care professionals.  We need the OT community to be fully effective so that we can support and encourage one another.  After all, there may be trouble ahead.

There are also benefits for our clients.  In a second article, next week, we will look at the Mayo Clinic from which this video stems, the work that they are doing with social media, some of the downsides but also the benefits.

OT Blog Review

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Thanks to Flickr's Austinevan for the photo on Creative Commons

Have a look over there, no, not there, right over there on the far side.

There is a section called Blogroll. 

What does that mean?

A Blogroll is a collection of Blogs that we at Harrison read and that we think you might want to read in addition to our own.

We have some criteria that we apply when considering which blogs to add.

  1. They need to be actively updated.  Blogs need to be updated on a reasonably regular basis, even if only once a month or so.  Anything which has not been updated for 4 months is unlikely to be on there. 
  2. They need to be relevant to you.  They might not all be purely about OT but will be connected to elements of the healthcare industry relevant to us.
  3. They need to be well written.  Thankfully I have not yet come across a poorly written healthcare blog yet, but if I do, it will not make it onto the role.

We hope that you will enjoy the other contributors to the OT debate that can be found within blogs around the world.  We also hope that other practitioners will feel compelled to start theie own blogs or offer to write a guest blog article here on ThinkingOT.

All of the other blogs have their own voice and style.  Here is a very quick review of the ones that are there and why they have been chosen.

ABC Therapeutics Blog  Chris Alterio writes this blog and does so very well.  He has a good ear for a story and is generous with his time and knowledge, sharing insights backed up with book references for your own further reading.  He has been blogging and using social media to build community and discussion for four years, as he points out in this article.  Top of the list, and deservedly so.

A Voice In The OT Wilderness is written by Allie Hafez and is currently exploring the challenges of having to observe her own mother going through OT.  It makes for compelling, and sometimes, painful reading.

(B)e(LO)n(G), OT is an enjoyable blog written by a newly qualified OT making the transition from student to professional.  Short, experience based articles.

HealthSkills is written by Bronwyn Thompson from New Zealand.  It has a wealth of information, primarily but not exclusively, about chronic pain management. 

OTBlogs is not, in fact, a blog at all.  Instead it is a colelction of blog article titles from several months ago, right up to date.  I am not sure what criteria they use but if you want a lot more from the OT and health care blog world, then start here.

Salford University Occupational Therapy Education Blog is perhaps my current favourite.  It is written here in the UK and regularly updated.  It shares the thoughts, trials and tribulations of the OT education team at Salford University.  As such it gives fascinating insights into academic management and also the hopes and aspirations of the educators and students alike.  We’re intrigued to see that the department has done some work in Romania, a country that is close to our own hearts and integral to our social responsibility commitments.

TechnOT is Anita Hamilton’s blog, from Canada, on how technology is impacting upon the world of OT and enabling clients and faciliting function.  Fascinating stuff about which Anita has a clear passion.

If there are other blogs that you think we, or our readers should be reading, then please do let us know in the comments.

Written by harrisontraining

February 22, 2010 at 10:00 am

Introducing the Thinking OT blog

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Well, much like an episode of Starsky and Hutch, or the James Bond films, I have set the scene with a couple of early posts before rolling the opening credits.

This is the blog for Harrison Training to share some thoughts on the OT profession generally.  Welcome.

It is designed to provide stimulus for debate and interesting conversation.

Thinking OT will write about the specific challenges that the occupational therapy and health care sectors are presented with, but also more general concerns.   There will be articles looking at specific practice areas, training and compliance issues , but also more conceptual areas as well.

This blog will also enable us to further support and add value to the training that we deliver.

We anticipate that articles will be written by staff and associates of Harrison Training, but also by a broad spectrum of practitioners and academics within and outside the OT profession.

I put myself forward as an example, and in the interest of full disclosure. 

I am not an Occupational Therapist.  Articles that I write are written from an outsider’s self-admittedly ignorant point of view.  My role, accordingly, is not to set down an authoritative line, but simply to provoke thought and discussion.

A few rules, but they’re really easy.  They’re more guidelines than rules…

  1. I will be blogging fortnightly at least so click on the RSS subscription button on the right to get notified of new articles.  You can watch this video for more details about how RSS works.  Alternatively, subscribe to be notified by email.
  2. Answer back.  Please do comment on any articles.  All comments are read but will be posted unmoderated unless, of course, they are offensive.  Or illegal.   
  3. Suggest areas or topics you would like us to explore.  We will be more than happy to follow your lead.
  4. Recommend other sites and blogs that you enjoy reading so we can list them in our list of other blogs you might like, the Blogroll, on the right.

It’s good to meet you all.  See you around!

Neil Denny

Written by harrisontraining

February 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm