Friday 6 February 2015

PP1 - Reflections on Pediatrics

The treatment room used for clinics and therapy sessions

It's hard to believe how fast the last 5 weeks have gone. I have experienced so much in that time and have had the chance to assist in assessments, plan lead and evaluate treatments sessions, review seating and posture systems and meet a great bunch of professionals that were a brilliant representation of the occupational therapy profession. 

At the start of this placement, I was apprehensive of how much I would have to learn and felt that I might never 'get it" when it came to complexity of posture and seating (anatomical terms are incredibly difficult for me to remember as a person with dyslexia), but over the latter half of my placement I was able to see how far I had come in such a short time, which was an incredibly rewarding experience. 

I had wanted a pediatric placement, having done a range of voluntary children and youth work roles in my spare time, but maybe not as my PP1 as I felt slightly out of my depth having no previous experience with working with children and families in a healthcare setting. This in itself wouldn’t have caused me immediate concern but as we were still getting to grips with the foundations of occupational therapy theory it felt slightly overwhelming.  Thankfully the team I was placed with were brilliant with me and my educators gave me ample opportunities to explore and learn what is involved in being an OT in community pediatrics. 

It was refreshing to see a focus on function and learning and developing fine motor skills, which I haven't really experienced in my adult acute physical background where sometimes it can feel like its all about plastering over cracks to get the patient home to free up a bed. This focus also allowed for me to understand how occupational frames of reference and research impact on the way occupational therapy staff plan and undertake their interventions with the children.  I am also reminded of how complex we are as human beings, and wonderful it is to get to know each person for who they are and what they have to offer. Children are amazing to work with and have such an incredible determination and drive to join in with activities and seek out things that are meaningful to them.

One thing I did not expect to learn that kept being highlighted as I went through my time on placement was the link between the skills I need to develop to critically write at masters level and how those are also used in daily occupational therapy practice whilst articulating your findings from assessments and interventions. I have spent the first term separating them in my mind... But actually I should have been gelling the two together. Now don't get me wrong I don’t mean the things I’ve learnt, because of course the theory needs to be linked. I mean the concept of academic writing and analysing information - to synthesize the information!     

As I get back to the realities of university life; assignments, endless reading lists and presentations round every corner… I’m reminded that you have got to start somewhere; The great thing about being an occupational therapy student is just that; you are a student, you are not expected to know everything (otherwise there would be no reason to be on a course); but you are expected to try and explore what practicing as an occupational therapist looks like in an ever-changing landscape of health and social care, with the support of experienced educators to do so in a safe manner.

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