In a monthly post for this blog, COT’s Education Manager—Lifelong Learning, Zoe Parker, will be discussing all things CPD. For her first post, Zoe tells us about herself and explores the fundamentals of Continuing Professional Development.
It’s too exciting being faced with the metaphorical blank white page of a new blog! I have been longing to blog for about three or four years now—here’s my opportunity … so what on earth do I really want to say?
I think I can start by saying what my hopes and dreams are for this blog. I want to start a conversation with members where we learn together and I get some insight into how to do my job better. All views and prejudices will be my own and please forgive me in advance if I miss some crucial point completely. I have been learning about OT for more than seven years now and it certainly doesn’t look likely that I will ever do more than scratch the surface of such a richly fascinating field. My aim is to post things that start real conversations; so please do comment, whether it’s to argue the toss with me or to confirm an idea from your own point of view.
Firstly, a bit of a biography: I originally studied English Literature and Psychology as I was (and remain) fascinated by what makes people tick. My psychology background provided training in empirical research and I discovered a surprising fondness for statistical analysis. I shifted paradigms (huge learning curve!) to educational action research and worked as a research assistant and then lecturer in education with students who were training to be teachers, or who were experienced professionals from many walks of life (education, social work, police force, medicine) and wanted to improve their practice in line with their values.
Let’s unpack my job title a bit: Education Manager—Lifelong Learning. I usually summarise this in simpler terms as “the CPD person at COT”. My job is to devise and develop ways and resources to support members with their lifelong learning. I’m always interested in hearing from members what they feel I could do to do this more effectively.
The heart of my job is talking to BAOT members about their careers, hopes, barriers to success and struggles (both inner ones, with themselves and lack of confidence or morale, and outer ones with the system they work within and perhaps even with their managers). When I enjoy my job most is when someone says to me that I have inspired them to keep going, to find a way through the difficulties and to have the confidence to keep believing in their own insights and perceptions.
The baseline for all practising OTs is to meet the HCPC standards for CPD:
What do these standards mean to you? I would be fascinated to hear more about how people use them every day to promote learning and to improve outcomes for service users. It has been thrilling to work with committed OTs to hone their profiles for audit and it has made me wish more people were ready for audit and not panicked by it. Several members have suggested that they would benefit from an example of a profile that has been successfully audited, which we are currently preparing for a forthcoming issue of OT News.
In the meantime, please do share with me your thoughts on your approach to CPD, as well as your suggestions for topics that you would like me to focus on in future blog posts.