Sunday, 6 November 2011

Conference - Day 2

This was a day of more networking, interesting workshops, a big dinner and my Poster Presentation!
I have to admit if felt strange wearing flip flops (thongs for you Aussies!) and shorts whilst being at a conference. Whilst I accept the weather was a big factor in this, I loved the lack of formality, not often experienced in other professional settings, which I have found have discouraged others to engage in the past. This relaxed atmosphere really did encourage people to offer opinions in a non-challenging manner, and I was beginning to realise that the New Zealand OT scene was a small one. I went to a really interesting discussion about membership of the association and the issues they were facing nationally.

I was also beginning to learn about the big differences between the employing organisations of OT's in New Zealand. Employers included DHB (District Health Board), ACC ( An Insurance related organisation), the Ministry of Health, and more private practice than I am aware of in the UK. Having a wider range of employers affected the roles taken on by OT's here, leading to some differences in terms and conditions of employment across these organisations. I was enjoying trying to get my head around these issues. Also coming from the UK, where there is around 25 UK OT schools/Universities, learning that there were just 2 main schools here (One in the North Island, one in the South), with a relatively new third new site, raised lots of questions for me about newly graduating students? Where did they go after graduating? Did they have to move around the country for work? and how was the job market here? There also seemed to be lots and lots of OT's who were originally from the UK and had moved here, so did this affect the practice of OT here?

Having opted for a cup of tea on my beautiful balcony rather than the coastal walk or yoga class during the early morning, I was feeling more refreshed on day 2! I was now really interested about how OT's worked with the Maori and Pacific Island populations, and I was learning how similar elements in these cultures (the need for family/community involvement in treatment), was something I had experienced in Vietnam. Listening to Maori speakers about how they tackled individuals issues by engaging community members raised the issues of patient's/client's rights, and it made me think back to the number of cases in the UK hospital that I find frustrating because individuals and families often deliberately refuse to engage in discussions about problems. Is it possible to navigate around the issues of confidentiality and individual's wishes, if treatment goals are compromised by excluding outside parties?
A thought provoking day ended with the big dinner! A 20 minute boat journey took the 150 strong party to Russel Island, where the first liqour licenced was issued in NZ, (The duke of Marlborough -I think it was called) hosted our dinner. Here are a few shots of the food! Well, my dinner!

After dinner instead of traditional entertainment, there ensued a competition (a creative OT activity) , whereby each table had to literally fight for creative materials laid out on a table, and then create ' a visual representation of the themes relating to the conference... firm foundations, basket of knowledge, and standing tall.. tables either dressed somebody up, or created some pretty funky baskets of knowledge! Our tables attempt (which surprisingly, did not win) is below!

Regards from New Zealand!

1 comment:

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