End, Middle, Beginning.

End.

I had my final exam on Thursday. If you recall, I had ten days to prepare four case studies, and two case studies would be in the exam. The case studies were mild/moderate learning disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. I was hoping to get the LD and TBI case studies, but alas, neither were on the exam. I’m sure I passed, but I would have felt more confident answering the questions if I could relate to my experience working with brain injuries. Having never worked with someone with a learning disability, I don’t know why I wanted that case study, but then I’ve never encountered RA, nor have I really worked with someone with schizophrenia.

Middle.

The next few days involved trying to reestablish occupational balance. I started reading for pleasure again. I decided to try catching up with some of my TV shows. I played a strategy computer game with Flan and my brother to exercise my brain in a different way. My face is already starting to look clearer from the drop in my stress levels.

Then today I started working – temporarily – at a school in Newbury. I loved it! It’s too bad that I have to drive all the way there and back, and that it’s temporary.

Beginning.

I have to really start looking for an OT job and figuring out the magic formula to get to the interview stage. I think I’ve found one just inside the M25 down the M40, so I could commute (yeah, I hate driving, but I love Oxford). It’s a paediatric centre, and they need a Band 5. I think I have a better chance getting an interview for this one than I have most jobs on offer, as I have absolutely no acute experience, nor orthopaedic, nor stroke, nor community. On the other hand, I did my dissertation on using video games with children with cerebral palsy, I had an adolescent mental placement, I had my final placement in a school for children with dyspraxia and I am now working in another school. I think paediatrics is the way to go! Plus, I might get to venture a bit into assistive technology, hopefully!

A much needed break from placement.

Like you probably already know, I am in my final year of studies and on the placement for the whole term. I am working at a school in London from 8am to 5pm everyday, with an hour-long commute each way to/from my family’s home. (Yes, I’m living with my parents, but only because we cannot afford accommodation for me alone.) I wake up at quarter to six in the morning and get picked up from the station at quarter past six in the evening. I work long, hard hours. Don’t get me wrong – I love my placement and it feels like a dream come true.

But, boy, do I need this break.

Now usually, in your third year at Oxford Brookes, you only get one week of study leave in your placement. I have no choice but to have two. Working at a school means regular holidays, and the school celebrated Harvest Festival and broke up for two weeks on Friday. So this week and next week are dedicated to waking up after six and actually having time to read. I was starting to panic on placement because I just didn’t have the time or energy to work on my various written assignments and do much-needed background reading. Sure, I did some reading on the train sometimes, but only what my eyelids and brain would allow for whilst exhausted.

So I’m spending this week and next reading and writing. I want to finish Sensory Integration and the Child by A. Jean Ayres (UK/US). (My library only had the original edition – am I missing out on anything important?) I love this book. I know it’s a bit outdated now, but I’ve only read the first four chapters so far, and it just makes so much sense. Reading about the evolution of the senses and the development of the sensory system in children, I feel like I understand people so much better, especially the children I work with. I understand myself so much better too. If everyone is somewhere on a sensory integration spectrum, I think I’m personally a bit too aware of smells and sounds, and I have awful balance and coordination! (So bad, in fact, that I thoroughly embarrassed myself whilst trying to explain the different activities within the Movement Assessment Battery for Children – 2nd Edition (Movement ABC-2).

Now, so you can all know what exactly I need to do by next weekend…

  1. Read Sensory Integration and the Child
  2. Write rough draft of Case Study (2000 words, mostly on the evidence base behind a certain assessment/intervention used)
  3. Write rough draft of Context of Practice Report (2000 words, still trying to figure out exactly how to write this…)
  4. Research the ALERT program
  5. Research SI strategies
  6. Develop almighty evidence base for everything related to paediatrics and SI (yes, exaggerating a tad, but still, this is what it feels like)
Help is welcome!!!!!!!

Oh, the dreaded “what inspires you” theme.

Tomorrow, I have to start another week of full-day seminars. So far, the general consensus amongst the students has been that what we have learned in the seminars we already learned far better on placement, and that the lecturers have a tendency to stretch material more suited for an hour into three hours of chatter.

The theme for tomorrow is titled “Furthering your professional development”. We were instructed to prepare two things beforehand:

  1. Consider what you’ve learned in the past week and how it could be presented on a poster. (In groups, we’ll make said posters.)
  2. Think of something that inspired you on placement that you can talk about for five minutes. That’s right, five minutes of talking to a group of people about something I can’t think of. Oh, and I’ll have to answer questions. Now, I’m not saying I wasn’t inspired during my ten weeks at the hospital. What I mean is that I was inspired to work with adolescents and I now have a greater understanding/respect for mental health OT, but I can’t think of a specific occupational therapy practice that was inspiring or innovative or exemplary. Everything, on the whole, was amazing, but very little seemed to be structured or evidence-based or new to me. So, I shall probably end up talking about Animal-Assisted Therapy, as that’s one thing I sort of witnessed at the hospital, and it’s what I ended up writing about in my case study’s evidence-base section.

At least tomorrow’s session ends at 15:30.

Otherwise, look forward to some videos and whatnot that I watched in a seminar from last week on Safeguarding Adults. I personally believe everyone, not just healthcare workers, should be introduced to the issue.

Also, tomorrow is the day Flan and I start our awesomely awesome health month. More on that tomorrow as well…hopefully…