This month we’ve been looking at conferences and exhibitions as CPD tools. We’ve had an interesting discussion on Twitter with #OTalk about how to get the most out of these events, and in #COTcpdclub and #COTstudentchat this month we’ll be looking at how you can maximise your CPD opportunities at conferences. With that in mind, we asked Angela Birleson, Chair of the Conference Programme Committee for the COT Annual Conference, to talk about her experience of previous conferences and what she hopes to get out of this year’s event.
Being chair of the Conference Programme Committee gives me a fascinating insight into the College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference, and this year I am quite overwhelmed by all the innovative work being carried out by occupational therapists in the UK and across the world that will be presented at Conference. Delegates will have the opportunity to hear how occupational therapy can help the sandwich generation carers; learn how social media is impacting on professional practice; and share experiences of navigating around the complexity that is caused by integrating health and social care.
Conference provides a unique environment where you can informally meet trail-blazing occupational therapists and have one-to-one discussions about your practice. I love the fact I know I will be able to approach experts in my field at Conference and energise my network of contacts, as well as meet colleagues from my past and catch up on their news—personal and professional!
There are so many firsts at this year’s conference: I am so excited about the new social care stream, it is a brilliant addition to the conference—almost a conference within a conference! I want to talk to as many delegates as possible to gather their views on this innovation. I am expecting to be inspired by Professor Challis who intends to help social care practitioners to produce evidence regarding the benefits of occupational therapy in social care. The daily plenaries are another addition where delegates can hear national policy makers outline their vision of the future of health and social care.
Where else can occupational therapists hear about marketing and influencing in order to take the profession forward? All OTs should feel confident to become influential practitioners, whatever our grade or whoever our employer is. Emily Wallace from Connect Communication, an expert in influencing political decisions, and Anna Clampin, former Head of Education and Learning at the College, will each give a different perspective on how we can become politically astute and influence key stakeholders.
Returning to Brighton is the icing on the cake for me—it is such a vibrant and exciting city, and provides a fabulous backdrop for me to have constructive time away from the “day job” to reflect on my clinical practice and to benchmark it against others in similar positions across the UK.
If you are new to conference, come along to the “first time at conference” briefing on Tuesday 3 June, where you will have the opportunity to meet me and my CPC colleagues, and get an insight into how you can get the most out of your conference experience.
To book your place at conference, visit the website.
I am looking forward to seeing you there!