By Simon Curtis, Occupational Therapist and Advanced SI Practitioner at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne.
Hi Simon, so tell us more about the purpose behind the South West Regional CPD group?
Representatives (SI Network members) of each of four regions in the South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset) come together at least twice a year to update on progress and share best practice. We are currently all OTs but would welcome other PTs and SLTs. There are about 15 of us in total.
What’s your role?
I am loosely the host, because I work at Hannah’s, which is where we meet. We tend to meet here because it’s a central point for everyone (within a 2 hour drive) and we have superb facilities and a sensory clinic space. For that reason, I ended up as host. It just means someone has responsibility for bringing it all together and making it happen.
What does attending the group involve?
It’s a day away from work with other colleagues and peers learning, sharing and just generally being inspired. We do have an agenda that allows each area to share updates from their region, present case studies and discuss wider projects that we can all learn from.
What did you learn and take away this time?
We heard from each of the areas about their big milestones. For example, Cornwall is involved in developing a new sensory room at Merlin, an MS centre in Cornwall, which is very exciting.
We might look at the different training opportunities and case studies of best practice; share video footage and discuss patient cases with the benefit from professional critical appraisal in a confidential setting.
Having the meeting in our sensory clinic meant the visitors got to experience and discuss different equipment. For example, we discussed the use of different transportable equipment, shared knowledge of new equipment and discussed intervention techniques and the ASI fidelity measure
We had an introduction to the EASI (Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration) and got to see and try some of the tests to become more familiar with this new way of testing.
There was also discussion around the new NIHR research project (SenITA) which sounds amazing!
Why should other groups do it?
I know from experience that it’s hard finding the time to take a day out of your work but it’s honestly the best thing you can do for your own personal development.
For anyone who wants to make this a success, my top tips would be to: set the dates up to a year in advance, find a venue that is central to most people in the group, have an agenda and nominate a group leader or facilitator to bring it all together. If you can do these things you will find it has much more of a chance of happening.
Everyone always comes away feeling so inspired, we can’t wait for the next one!
If anyone is interested in finding out more how to run a regional group, please feel free to contact Cathy Maguire, Director of Membership Services by email at email@example.com.
Click here for more information about our Regional Facebook groups.