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The OT Practice Unlocking Learning Opportunities

by Paul Cooper, Professional Head of OT

I can’t quite believe where the last two years have gone but with audit season upon us once more I, like many other OTs, am thinking about my CPD. In the past I have questioned how much time OTs can really dedicate to their CPD, if CPD structures meeting learning needs and if we are really tapping into every opportunity available? I remember talking to a wise OT friend of mine about CPD who rightly commented that ‘opportunities are everywhere’.

We often get asked how independent practitioners can continue to develop their CPD portfolio when working privately as the daily comfort of working alongside other team members is not as readily available. However, in fact our associates have access to a variety of learning opportunities not only through the work they receive but the continual focus on clinical reasoning and reflection. It is this that expands practice and ensures the quality of the service we are collectively delivering. Associates can think of working in private practice as something similar to a secondment alongside their current role that greatly expands knowledge by allowing them to explore new ways of working. There are unique opportunities to develop new skills and explore challenges across a variety of settings, working with a diverse range of communities that enable OTs to be the best clinicians they can be.

Taking a supportive attitude to upskilling, our clinical leads support our associates to challenge their thinking, ensuring creativity and justification in their clinical approach whether they are working in the community supporting a local authority, with the NHS assisting with hospital discharges or looking after one of our charity clients needing equipment to support independent living. Every conversation holds an opportunity to reflect and learn and this is key to the professional growth required as an occupational therapist.

With the everlasting need for CPD, I am keen to unlock the potential of our therapist community, securing them as leaders in their fields and raising the quality of the profession for everyone. I feel that OTs should take charge of their professional growth and explore new continuous learning pathways so that by the time of the next audit comes around, our OTs will be able to reflect on all the opportunities they have excelled in and be proud.

In the meantime and in preperation for the audit, OTs should practice recording all their learning opportunities as they go along and this goes much further than compiling course certificates. They should write reflective pieces following case study reviews or conversations with a colleague when problem-solving, demonstrating what they have learnt and how they have implemented that learning into their practice.

If you want to explore the learning opportunities a portfolio career with The OT Practice can offer you – get in touch with Paul, our Professional Head of Occupational Therapy to find out more.

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