Monday, 7 November 2011

Conference - Day 3 'Making connections'

Hi Everybody, hope we are all well, and enjoying the story so far! This might be a long entry, so go get a cup of tea and make yourselves comfortable! (oh, and enjoy!)
As I have learned from past experiences, the morning of the final day of this kind of event is usually filled with a touch of anxiety for me, as I am always thinking have I networked enough to really take something away from the experience?, have I given a good account of myself and UK OT's?, and perhaps most challenging, who should I have dinner with? Fortunately the question of dinner was not one that caused too much worry, and most people were leaving that day! I'll get onto the dinner issue later.
I was keen to make the most of the amazing scenery, and after a slightly earlier cup of tea on my balcony than usual, I went for a little stroll outside my room, here's the view!

The first task of the day was to get into 'photo mode' and take some pictures of some the people that had been so generous with their time, and who had made me feel so welcome during my stay. So here a few pictures of some of the NZ OT community!

After a little photo shoot, I headed off to take part in a discussion about the development of a New Zealand specific model of Occupational Therapy. This prompted lots of interesting discussion regarding current cultural practice, which was just the kind of thing I was hoping to get involved in. This really started to make me question just how culturally competent was my own practice, in what is a diverse collection of culture in the UK!

The second part of my morning was nothing short of brilliant! A UK born OT called Claire, picked my up from the conference and whisked me off to the little local hospital where she worked, near Kawakawa. She gave me a tour of the hospital, and explained the role of the OT within such a rural community. It was fascinating to learn that equipment had to be ordered and then delivered from Auckland (4 hours away), before OT's could go and deliver the equipment to the person who needs it. The large geographical area she had to cover as a sole OT was staggering! I met some of her colleagues, who were all friendly and appeared enthusiastic about their work. The hospital had just a few beds, and a separate family room had been built, as it was explained to me that in some cases with the Maori population, when one member of the family was in hospital, many other family members would come and stay with them in the hospital. The hospital had a Heli-pad, which made sense as the distance people lived away from the hospital would require helicopter assistance in emergencies. Here's a picture or two!

On the way back to the conference, Claire took to me to some famous toilets! I should probably explain this a little, as I'm guessing that last sentence may have implied something untoward! In the town of Kawakawa, an architect by the name of Frederick Hundertwasser, designed some toilets which were unusual to say the least. I was informed that at the time there were built, there were several cannabis plants growing on top of the building. I made the mistake of bounding in to the toilets, camera in hand, before realising that this action could be interpreted as something else, and could quite possibly get me arrested, fortunately the toilets were empty! Phew! Enjoy the views!On returning to the conference the afternoon sessions were equally enlightening, as I learned all about the methods for registration for OT's here, and how the board monitors competence, a very different process to the UK. Seven ( I think it was seven), different competences exist and each year a Therapist must be actively working on one aspect from each of the seven different competences. Where applicable, your work supervisor, a third party, and the board must all agree that you have met the goals for that year! Random sampling of these goals (similar to random portfolio sampling in the UK), is used to monitor the process. A final session on poster presentations, a very interactive session, which also involved a quick 'speed date' challenge was a fitting end to the day. A closing farewell, with the presentation of awards finished off the day, and the conference nicely!

After some running around on my part to try and say good bye to people, I then set about making plans for dinner, and two of the nice ladies that had taken me for fish & chips two days before, allowed me to join them again, but not before we had a drink on my balcony, and a much needed relaxation session in the outside spa!In the spa, one of those funny moments occurred, one of the girls got chatting to a guy who just happened to come along and get in the spa. On realising that this guy had lived in a certain area, the conversation went something like... "oh, so do you know Tim" (no surnames used), - 'yeah I know Tim, Tim & Vicky right?" - " yeah that's right, he's my cousin", - conversation continues... " oh so you know (insert name here)" - I mean I know NZ is a small place, but really, not needing to use surnames to identify people to strangers just tickled me!
After feeling very relaxed we headed out for dinner, to Paihia, and had the following lovely pizzas with an even nicer back drop - a Paihia sunset! Have a look for yourself!

A perfect ending to the day!
Regards from New Zealand

1 comment:

  1. So Dan - you've been introduced to NZ culture huh- meet someone and work on what connections you may have with each other - where do you come from, do you know??.. have we lived in the same place perhaps? Do you know so and so.. etc.. make the personal connections first and then you might talk about what job you do!!!

    Glad you are enjoying your time in NZ!