Sunday, 29 September 2013

NZ Occupational Therapy Clinical Workshops 2013 - when life comes full circle!

The Powhiri
Well hello everybody!
It's a week on from the 2013 Clinical Workshops, and it's been quite an amazing couple of years since attending the previous Clinical Workshops - an event that has changed the course of my life, and  ended up setting off a chain of events that brought me to be living and working on the other side of the world.

Living in NZ, the 'land of the long white cloud', has definitely has an affect on the way I've viewed many aspects of my professional and personal life. So the opportunity to go back to these workshops and share that journey with new colleagues, other professionals, and most importantly some good friends, was fantastic. 
NZ has a wonderful system where they alternate each year between a more standard 'Conference' setting, and 'Clinical Workshops'. This allows a variety of people to access a variety of research, clinical practice, and presentation styles, and for those of you that know me, it also allowed me to share a little of my own unique OT journey with the NZ OT's. 

After the traditional Powhiri, traditional greeting and welcoming address, including a speech from a prominent local politician ( an interesting choice indeed ), the first presentation session was indeed ou rown!
Our Presentation Team - Ros, Mordecai, Sarah & me!
I've always been passionate about not only share my own journey, but also to learn from other's journeys in a more relaxed setting, and also encourage others to do something similar. Therefore I was really excited to be joined for our presentation 'Around the OT world in 80 Mins' by 3 of my local colleagues from Wellington. After some brief introductions (you know how I can happily talk all day about this stuff), the next hour was spent with each of us sharing Case Studies from around the world of OT - Gibraltar, Zimbabwe, Australia and Vietnam - the session flew by, and we could have easily had another 90 minutes to develop the discussions shared by our wonderful participants! Thanks to all those wonderful people that contributed to a great start to the conference.
Me and Carolyn

After enjoying a delicious lunch and feeling far more relaxed, I headed to an afternoon discussion by Carolyn Simmons Carlsson (above) - entitled ' To SOAP or not to SOAP? - a thought provoking discussion about the use of Occupational Therapy language in medical notes, and how we as a profession we should promote our work through our language.

We celebrated with a little drink over dinner that night! 

Started with a truly brilliant, and wickedly funny workshop by the inspiring HUGH GAYWOOD, who described a process to 'BUILD A 3D DYNAMIC REPRESENTATION OF THE SELF' - basically building a 3D tree of your past, present, future with a view for future goals. The initial group activities focused on creating a web of connections between group participants, and Hugh's delivery was  first class and so engaging!
Hugh's workshop...
As you can see from the pictures it was a very interactive workshop and very 'OT'! The bottom of the tree represents childhood and youth, the middle section represents the present... and the top represents the future. Each side of the tree represents the self, family and the community. - I'm sure you get the idea...
Hugh's workshop...
Lunch was another great buffet, and left plenty of time for networking.....
Rachael, me & Sarah...
Mordecai, me and Sarah

....and a little time to look around the stalls, including getting some information for the 2015 APOTC  (Asia Pacific OT Conference) to be held here in New Zealand!

There were many OT's from my DHB (District Health Board) at the conference, and quite a few presenting too, and having such brilliant representation was a major boost for the Wellington region. We were able to round almost everyone up together for a group photo!
Wellington DHB OT's
The afternoon session was equally interactive with a rather oddly titled workshop - 'Bring back the Baskets and the Bunnies' - which looked at the benefits of maintaining creative activities, especially in a group format, in clinical practice. My personal highlight of this workshop was meeting a couple of very inspiring South African OT's who helped me with some of the practical tasks, and who later presented a great workshop. I also met a very inspiring honors OT student from Otago Polytechnic, who was later to end up dining with us at dinner!

The Gala Dinner (Murder Mystery with Italian Theme) 
Always a fun night, and this one was no exception with some interesting costumes, and a very entertaining murder mystery piece of acting from Andrew from the OT Board! The dinner was in a beautiful old house, with some gorgeous food! 
My good friends & Colleagues @ dinner!
Murder mystery continues!
Catching up with Cara!

Catching up with Andrew from the OT Board and fellow Northern Englishman!
One of the funny things of the dinner was noticing that the sponsors were a 'Bidet' Company... yes, A bidet company - sponsoring dinner! (Only in OT Land...) This led to some pretty poor toilet humour through the night and an interesting chat from the sponsor, as you can well imagine! 

So, the funny thing about NZ sports (in my experience) is that I haven't really seen lots of passion from the crowds, even the All Black (Rugby) games have had mellow crowds, so seeing the whole nation get excited and nervous about a sporting event was something I was waiting to experience. I was pretty surprised to find out that the entire country seemed obsessed with a Sailing competition - the reason I mention it, is because on Friday morning I woke up to find most of the workshop attendees sat in the hotel bar for breakfast huddled together to watch the America's Cup - with team NZ needing just 1 more win, to beat team USA.
Supporting Sailing!
More nervous times as NZ lose the first race...
I was surprised that anyone went to the first morning workshops, given the nerves in the bar over breakfast! I chose to attend 'NAVIGATING YOUR WAKA' A model of reflection by Esthe Davis. Another brilliant workshop on the need to eradicate the stigma of illness, 'by understanding that knowledge is the dawn of understanding, understanding is the first sign of tolerance and tolerance is the bright light of social harmony' - all from the perspective of Whanaungatanga (noun: relationship, kinship, sense of family connection - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.)

The final session of the day was presented by my good friend, and conference buddy Ros, who I first met at the Clinical Workshops two years ago. Ros is a pretty inspiring OT, who is also from the UK. Ros has been a great support to me during my time here, and shows what can be achieved when you put your mind to something. It was great to see some of the work she (and some of her colleagues) has been doing to highlight the issue of Elder abuse and Neglect, and the potential pivotal role that OT's can play in identifying this issue. 
Ros & Me
The final session and closing of the day included all the thanks, the final goodbyes and exchange of contact details. I was pretty frustrated at myself for forgetting my business cards! The session also included big thank you's going out to the organising committee who had done an fantastic job too! 
Organising committee! 
So as another Workshop came to a close, and old friendships had been renewed, and new friendships formed, my attention began to turn to the next challenge of speaking at the next WFOT (World) OT Conference in Japan next year. However, I began to reflect on the two years gone by, and the people that had helped shape my journey from one side of the world to the other... Merrolee Penman, Yvonne Browning, Ros Barham, and Cara just to name a few people. It's been an amazing journey and I start to understand the importance of how things, people, places and events are connected in a way that maybe I have never fully appreciated before...
The link between the Maori/NZ culture and the land, including a very deep respect and physical link to the land is something that has started to take a form in my life. This understanding of a physical link, crosses my professional and personal life and has really started to make me ask myself some very important question about what my links to the land, people and places in my life really are all about... This was not the kind of cultural learning I had expected when I discussed the idea of moving here two years ago...

...and now, on to Japan 2014 and the presentation of 2 abstracts in Japan:
1) Tall Poppy Syndrome: Friend or foe to clinical Intervention in NZ
2) The Hobb-OT: An Unexpected Journey, from Santiago to Yokohama via the Shires of England and NZ - What affects the development of OT Education / Practice around the world?

Thanks for reading, if you still are!
Regards from New Zealand.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dan,
    Just caught up on your blog. Glad you're well and things are going great for you.
    Murder Mystery evening looked like fun!!!
    Heaps of Love,
    Sally xx