Advanced Notice #YSJOT meme challenge is back!

Occupational Therapy Week is an excellent opportunity for us as a community to share our experiences of Occupational Therapy and pledge our support for the profession. So here at YSJ, back by popular demand, we are launching our meme challenge on 4th November: this year’s theme is occupational therapy as a career. We are defining a meme as an image, which can be humorous in nature, that promotes the profession of Occupational Therapy and/or the Occupational Therapy programme here at YSJ.

So how can you be involved?

1. Post a tweet, and/or meme, to share why you became an occupational therapy student/therapist.  The most popular tweet will be the tweet that features on #YSJOT Top Tweetlist at the end of the week (ie 11th November at 8am). So if you like someone else’s tweet or meme please like or retweet it.To be eligible you must use the hashtag #YSJOT . We will also be encouraging you to use the official RCOT hashtag #OTWeek2019

So come on ….. get your thinking and creativity hats on . You have a whole week to prepare ….. and good luck!

If you are new to Twitter follow this link to our blog page which provides a student-friendly you tube video tutorial on how to set up your twitter account

or written instructions can be found here:

2. We recognise that there are other social media platforms available including Facebook and Instagram. We challenge everyone – staff and students- to create one post to promote the profession.

3.  Or you could talk to a friend about  who/what has inspired your journey to becoming an Occupational Therapist?

Remember to keep all posts professional and be proud to be part of the Occupational Therapy profession.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome Back to all our returning students

A message from Kerry Edwards, Subject Director Occupational Therapy.
I am looking forward to welcoming back all level 4 and level 5 students to campus next week. You have an exciting year ahead of you with plenty of innovative and stimulating learning opportunities for you to engage with. Remember to keep asking questions so that you can continue to develop your knowledge, skills and values as an Allied Health Professional (AHP). I wish you every success with your studies and have a fantastic year.

A message from Karen Wilson, Year 3 coordinator…….
A warm welcome back to all final year students. I trust that you have had a restful and enjoyable summer and ready to embark on the transition from final year student to occupational therapist. There is a busy year ahead for you in terms of learning about contributing to the evidence base via research, advancing occupational focused practice and enhancing you professional reasoning skills. Keep focused on your ambition of becoming an occupational therapist, qualifying in 2020 and graduating at York Minster. The staff team look forward to working in partnership with you in your final year. As your year coordinator, I look forward to meeting up with you next Friday afternoon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome Class of 2019

A message from Kerry Edwards, Subject Director  Occupational Therapy.
A warm welcome to all the students who will be starting the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy programme with us next week. For those of you who are arriving this weekend, I wish you a smooth journey to York and hope that you soon settle into your new accommodation. Similarly, safe travels to all students who will be commuting to York on Monday. I know that you are about to embark on an exciting programme of study, your first module is innovative, engaging  and thought-provoking. The team are committed to working in partnership with you to create a positive and stimulating learning environment. I hope that you soon feel part of the York St John Occupational Therapy (YSJOT) community, also the university itself, and that you enjoy your studies with us. I look forward to meeting you all on Monday afternoon. 

A message from Stephen Wey, Induction tutor and year co-ordinator

Hi all and welcome to York St John University Occupational Therapy programme. I’m just writing a short piece to introduce myself, you will also all meet me next week of course. I am Stephen Wey and you will see a lot of me in the first year as I am Induction tutor, Year 1 coordinator and Module director for the central taught module (1OT410) that spans both semesters of year 1 (as well as having input into teaching in other years and the masters programme). I have been a qualified occupational therapist since 1993 so have a lot of practice experience, mainly working with people with mental health problems and cognitive disabilities, particularly specialising in practice with people who have dementia (and I am also a Dementia Friends champion and trainer). Even before that I worked in mental health in other roles so overall have a career in mental health going back well over 30 years. I am also currently engaged in research into occupational approaches to enabling participation for people with dementia in co-occupations and have a wide range of interests in various creative activities which I bring to bear in my teaching as well as professional and academic experience. I hope very much that you have a great time at YSJ on the OT programme, that it is sufficiently challenging, as it should be, but also enables you to have some fun and feel you are developing both your knowledge and skills, and your confidence and values.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A student’s reflection on attending this year’s RCOT conference

In our latest blog, first year student Laura Wendon shares her experience:

Why should an occupational therapy student attend the conference?
It’s worth knowing that everyone is in the same boat at conference. Whether you’re a student, qualified, non-OT professional, or retired – everyone is there to share and learn. To me, it felt more like a huge family reunion. I enjoyed the awkward hellos from people you’ve only spoken to on social media and discussing what you learned that day; the excitement of meeting OT royalty and getting a bit flustered when they agree with something you say; then connecting with people who’ve graduated from your university and finding out what they’re doing now. Everyone is friendly, welcoming and willing to share their occupational therapy journeys.

What were your 3 key take home points?
1. Connecting theory and practice aids learning:
I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates an enthusiastic speaker. That’s one of the reasons Dr Helen Carey’s (Glyndwr University) session on ‘Applying the Model of Doing’ stood out to me. Having reflected, I knew I needed to improve my theoretical knowledge for uni and relating it to practice helps me do that. This model highlights the enjoyment of occupation and ties together fundamental factors for engagement in occupations. Relating this model to Dr Carey’s second session (sharing her work with people with Motor Neurone Disease) enabled me to connect theory and practice.I also enjoyed her funny anecdotes, which helped keep me engaged.

2. OT core values and skills are transferable:
I like planning for the future. The sheer number of notebooks I’ve filled is a little ridiculous. Therefore, when faced with the veritable smorgasbord of OT practice areas at conference, my normally very structured mind was blown. However, a handful of sessions (and some sage advice from many wonderful OTs on twitter) enabled me to see that the core occupational therapy values and skills I’m acquiring at university are all transferable within the vast number of practice areas. The specialist knowledge comes later.
    Jeni Woods and Lara Cowpe (RCOT specialist section for Oncology and Palliative Care) highlighted that generalist OTs regularly work with people receiving palliative care but are often limited in their roles to reducing hospital admissions. This needs to be challenged. Occupational therapists can do so much more to support people with life-limiting conditions. This helps to brings our core Occupational Therapy values back into focus 
    Ruth Nightingale (Great Ormond Street Hospital) spoke on the transition to self-management for young people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Currently there are no therapists working in this area,  very few OTs work with people who have CKD in an outpatient setting. However, this obvious gap in service is slowly being addressed (see the May version of OT News). It was exciting to learn how Occupational Therapists can bring their values and skills into this area of practice.

3.There’s always more to learn:
York St John’s very own Stephen Wey and his Student as Co Researcher (SCoRe) students led an inspirational seminar on ‘Playing Together’. A wonderful end to an awesome two days at RCOT 2019.  Seeing ‘interdependence’ as a central component to relationships, and how it fits with the concept of ‘co-occupation’, reinforced my previous learning from university. Through the case study, I appreciated how they related on the micro-level. This also propelled me to think about meso- and macro- levels of interdependence. I’m looking forward to researching this, when I start to tackle my list of things to read. The learning certainly doesn’t stop when conference ends.

Laura concludes that her experience “improved my sense of well-being” by

#Doing crochet at the Stop. Do. Relax. Zone.
#Being a student taking notes, reflecting, and meeting other students.
#Becoming an OT I found out I’d passed the first year of my BSc Occupational Therapy degree on day two.
#Belonging The atmosphere and people at conference all helped cement occupational therapy into my identity.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reflections from attending RCOT (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) Conference: a student perspective.

10 students, and one member of staff, attended this conference this year. It was great to see students from across all cohorts, and across both BSc and MSc programmes, attend. It is exciting that 22 final year students had their work presented at this year’s conference!

In this first blog, Patronella Kagodora shares her reflection of attending her first conference at the end of her first year on BSc programme………………..

What did you hope to gain from attending the conference?

I was so keen to attend RCOT (2019) annual conference because I wanted to network with other students from different universities, to see the exhibitors, talk to them about their products, meet new people. Also to gain knowledge from other Occupational Therapists working in different disciplines.

How was your experience?

Listening to the presentation by Stephen Wey (York St John University lecturer) and students (Kaitlin Gallighan, Amy Crisford, Emily Rivers, Lauren Hill and Laura Edwards) made me appreciate how important it is to ‘help people to live not exist‘. The presentation was about occupational engagement:a family of four playing a game of  scrabble. One of the participants is living with dementia. Everyone participated in the game, there was no support offered to the person with dementia, or adjustments to the game to help them engage more meaningfully.  I liked the idea that the person was involved in the interaction of the game and this created conduits for participants to attune themselves to one another in order to promote mutual participation and meaning. This presentation highlighted to me the importance of  promoting independence and enabling participants to maintain valuable occupations. I remember as a child we used to play a game called ‘tsoro‘ in my language, this is a bit similar to a game of scrabble. This game is played in twos and it is a mathematical strategy board game using small stones which we put into four small row and 21 columns. The game requires the children to be able to count and involves hand and eye co-ordination, dexterity, manipulation and cognitive skills. We used to play this game with my grandmother. My mother would say ‘give granny the chance to win’ and we would pretend granny has won and we would give her an applause and sweets for winning and she would cheer up and be happy and this kept her wanting to play more. Back then, I did not realise my grandmother had dementia: my mum understood that we needed to include her in all aspects of life: cooking, cleaning the house even making her own bed- despite her illness we treated her and valued her as part of the family. I now understand my grandmother got her identity, sense of of accomplishment and participation from this involvement. My personal experience of playing family games was similar to those playing the game of scrabble discussed in this presentation. The family valued the person as part of the family, showed respect for them, and love, by being included in the family’s routines. This reminded me of the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) as it addresses how and why we engage in meaningful daily activities such as play. I learnt that co-occupation is a shared meaning, holistic in the sense that physical and mental well-being come together.


Do you have a highlight from the conference?

Seeing so many Occupational Therapists from different disciplines attending the conference and who are so enthusiastic about their profession was a highlight for me. I met staff from my previous placement, and we hugged, laughed and joked and we talked about my time whilst I was on placement and I was so happy to meet them.  Highlights include attending sessions called ‘Primary care has rich soil: growing a future workforce through role emerging placements” by Dr Juliette Truman, ‘Supporting occupational therapy students to become ‘agents of change’ in their local communities’ by Sarah Harvey and “Stalking as a meaningful occupation” by Sam Baker. This opened my eyes to areas I never thought about getting involved in, especially the role emerging placements for students. There is so much to learn within the profession!

What advise would you give to other students about attending conferences?

I do recommend that students  attend their regional RCOT conferences as well as the national RCOT conferences. You learn, you network, and seeing is believing. l love Occupational Therapy – we are unique, talented, diverse and inclusive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Celebrating Student Success: A Memorable Graduation Day at York Minster

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Celebrating Student Success: Graduation 2018

Class of 2018. Well done. You did it!

A time to celebrate …………..

On Wednesday 21st November @YSJOT students will be graduating in the historical building of York Minster. It is a fabulous celebration of individual’s motivation, achievements, resilience, and ambitions to become an Occupational Therapist; a proud moment for themselves, their family, friends, and tutors who have supported them along their journey.  


To all of our graduates, The Occupational Therapy staff will be seated on stage in the Minster and will be applauding you as you walk across the stage to collect your degree certificates. We also look forward to catching up with you after the ceremony and hearing what you have been up to since the summer. Karen has arranged for the professional photographer to take a group photo of you all in your gowns. Please meet at the front of the Minster at 12 noon. You deserve to have an amazing day: you have been a fabulous cohort to work with. Maria Parks, who you voted as your favorite lecturer, will also be attending the ceremony.  Please share your photos with us on Twitter @YSJOT  #YSJOT18  and the university using #WeAreYSJ or on our Facebook page. 

To all our current students, the ceremony will be filmed and streamed to the York St John University Facebook Events page and York St John University YouTube channel. You will find it an inspirational watch! 


This post was created by Karen Wilson and Kerry Edwards 

Posted in Events and Conferences, Student Perspectives | Leave a comment

Celebrating Occupational Therapy Week #OTWeek2018 #YSJOT

Occupational Therapy Week is an excellent opportunity for us as a community to share our experiences of Occupational Therapy and pledge our support for the profession. So here at YSJ, recognising that OTs love a challenge, we are launching an OT meme competition on Twitter – with prizes! We are defining a meme as an image, which can be humorous in nature, that promotes the profession of Occupational Therapy and/or the Occupational Therapy programme here at YSJ.

So how can you be involved?

  1. The most popular tweet will be awarded to the tweet that features on #YSJOT Top Tweetlist at the end of the week (ie 12th November at 8am). So if you like someone else’s tweet or meme please like or retweet it.
  2. The four most original, and also the most relevant, memes will be selected by a judging panel on the afternoon of Thursday 8th November. The judges are a member of academic staff, the Chair of the Occupational Therapy Society and an independent adjudicator from the university’s technology enhanced learning team. The four memes will be shared on Twitter, and you the Occupational Therapy community, can vote for your favourite. The vote will remain open until Monday 12th November at 8am

The competition will be officially launched on Monday 5th November. All entries must use the competition hashtag  #YSJOT . We will also be encouraging you to use the official RCOT hashtag #OTWeek2018

 All prizes will be awarded at the OTSociety event on Wednesday 13th December.

So come on ….. get your thinking and creativity hats on . You have a whole week to prepare ….. and good luck! 

If you are new to Twitter follow this link to our blog page which provides a student-friendly you tube  video tutorial on how to set up your twitter account

or written instructions can be found here:

How else can you be involved? We recognise that there are other social media platforms available including Facebook and Instagram.  We challenge everyone – staff and students- to make one social media post this week to promote the profession. This may include talking to a friend about Occupational therapy or sharing an occupation that you find meaningful and purposeful.

Remember to keep all posts professional and be proud to be part of the Occupational Therapy profession.


Posted in End of Year Evaluations | Leave a comment

Going on an international placement: Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in Bangladesh.

In our latest blog, Sarah Braithwaite (one of our current final year students) shares her experience of engaging in an international placement for her level 2 placement…………

As a student, the opportunity for an international placement was one to be grabbed at with both hands.  The experience of a 10-week placement at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in Bangladesh is difficult to put down into a short blog, or even a long one, but I will try.   It is important to state the long-standing networking between the university and CRP is highly regarded and made for a supportive and effective placement.  I chose to split my 10 weeks between spinal cord injury (SCI) and hand therapy, to experience the most from the placement which was fully supported by CRP.  I was also fortunate to spend a day with the community team, visiting those discharged from hospital and living independently after sustaining an injury.    

I have worked in the UK health service for many years and felt compelled to experience a service in a developing country.  This was not without its challenges! This experience really made me step back and think about how I could be creative and adaptable in my working approach without materials and resources readily available.  It was inspiring to see how resourceful a nation can be with very little and the impact of occupational therapy on the locals and communities.  As a developing practitioner, I wanted to focus on the core skills of occupational therapy including communication and as I am unable to speak the language it was important to establish such skills to communicate to provide effective interventions and develop therapeutic relationships.  It was also an opportunity to explore occupational therapy in a new context, which for the future, hopefully, may open new avenues or areas of practice.      

Living and working on site at the centre really creates a welcoming and secure community.  There are opportunities to get involved with cultural days held for and by the centre and really engage with those affected by injury.  The team at CRP provide support and literally open their homes to students and volunteers, offering an authentic cultural experience.  The days are long, and the sound of beeping horns may keep you awake at night, but the rewards and gains from the people you meet, and the experience had, those things are soon forgotten.

Students are expected to self-fund their international placements and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists is one avenue to explore for funding.  As part of continuing professional development, I applied to the RCOT for some funding and was successful.  I received the Barbara Tyldesley Student Award 2018 in the amount of £500 sponsored by the Constance Owens Trust which contributed towards my placement. 

Applications are now open for the 2019 funding round, with details found

Here is my report     

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Advance HE Teaching & Learning Conference (2nd July 2018) Teaching in the spotlight: Learning from global communities

In this blog Kerry Sorby shares her reflections of attending sessions aimed at teaching professionals in the Health and Social Care sector.

Keynote Speaker:  Professor Christine Jarvis Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) from the University of Huddersfield shared a really interesting and thought provoking talk focusing on “Growing Global Graduates: Teaching for a Better World”.  She discussed the concepts of global citizenship, social justice and employability: these  are embedded into our Occupational Therapy curriculum here at York St John University. This also fits well with the concept of enabling students to become  digital citizens – reflecting my own area of research interest.

Ignite sessions:   These were a series of 7 presentations where speakers had 5 minutes to talk on their subject accompanied by 20 slides for 15 seconds each. This was a really good way to hear a succinct summary of a topic of interest. For example: The first session was by Dr Victoria Hewitt from Newcastle University (who I incidentally sat next to on the train journey to and from the conference!) She shared how palliative care can be considered through different lens: disease, age, social, cultural, spiritual and political.This fits well with our level one and two  modules which explore health, well-being and participation from different perspectives.

Amanda Miller, Carol Haines and Louise Henstock (a former YSJ  physio lecturer) from Salford University shared their experience of “Hi-Fidelity Interprofessional Simulation: Impact and practice” . This was an overview of a day for 90 final undergraduate students across 6 disciplines, including occupational therapy, that impacted positively on learning and confidence for the students involved.

Interactive breakout session: led by Dr Christine Slade and Professor Christine Brown  (University of Australia) and encouraged participants to explore how the JISC Digital Capabilities framework (2017) could be embedded into the curriculum. We already have some great examples of embedding digital health capabilities into our programme e.g. using Pinterest  to allow students to explore and present their meaningful occupations, enabling students to design and create new digital artefacts as part of their induction  to demonstrate knowledge about professionalism and being a healthcare professional student. I have come away from this session with even more ideas that we could use to develop students confidence and competence in this area. 

Parallel Session: Maria Birch (University of Brighton) demonstrated the use of “patchwork text” to enable students to understand the volume and complexity of information when  studying anatomy. She illustrated that by using a series of smaller learning tasks and reflective narratives, students can “stitch” together their learning “patches”,  receive peer and staff feedback to rework their artefacts and inform a summative collection of work. This aligns really well with our current pedagogy of using supported open learning tasks to prepare students for participation in workshops and seminars and the use of a portfolio as a summative assessment for our new programme.  We could continue to  use Diane Cotterill’s successful concept of a digital workbook to allow students to create their own range of resources (e.g. drawing, creating posters/videos)  to support their learning and confidence with anatomy.

Oral presentation: Maria and I shared how we have developed a community of learners through our social media platforms. We continue to develop a range of learning opportunities that enable our students to practice digital citizenship in preparation for posting on social media in a professional and socially responsible manner. It has enabled a passionate discourse that has connected staff and students with a wider audience within our professional field of practice.

My final session of the day was led  by Professor Christine Brown Wilson (Queen’s University, Belfast). She was passionate and enthusiastic as she shared her model of curriculum development which engaged multiple stakeholders  – this was an inspirational session as the programme team have  just been through the process of an internal and external validation. I hope that our stakeholders will embrace the opportunity to join in with our dialogue days in the forthcoming academic year. 

My final thoughts ……. 

I came away from this conference inspired by the dialogue that I had listened to and engaged with. My learning also provided affirmation that the new curriculum that we are developing for our Occupational Therapy programmes is innovative and will enable our graduates to be equipped to become employable global citizens.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment