Occupational Therapy event the key to a successful AHP Day

Mon, 09 Nov 2020 16:19:00 GMT
Students were brought together from across Scotland's universities and the world
Students were brought together from across Scotland's universities and the world

Fourth year student and vice president of GCU Students’ Association’s Occupational Therapy Society, Nora Dempsey discusses the planning and delivery of GCU’s Allied Health Professional (AHPs) Day event - which saw students from across the globe brought together to discuss the profession and get to know each other.

How did the idea to hold the event for AHPs day all come about?

“Our lecturers were conscious since lockdown about the lack of contact we’d been having as a group, so a couple of them held a virtual tea break. During one of those chats a student discussed how they were keen to make connections with students at other universities. The lecturer then brought this to the head of our department, Dr Katrina Bannigan and she decided to push it as a University event for us to reach out and get involved with others. At that point there were only four weeks till AHPs day so we used that as the target to deliver this.”

Tell me more about the event and how it fitted in with the themes of AHPs Day?

“All the tickets sold out and we had 75 people attend on the night – which was a really good turnout for a free online event. We had students who study at Scottish universities join us from all over the world: Canada, Singapore, US, Germany and Shetland!

The actual event was sorted into four 15 minutes slots because the themes of AHP Day were Connect, Appreciate, Inspire and Celebrate – so we had an activity for each one.

Connect allowed students to go onto our Padlet map and drop a pin to show where they are in the world because a lot of them are staying in their own country this year to study remotely.

We did a lovely bit of mindfulness for Inspire, which allowed everyone to set intentions for the next year.

Appreciate focused on the activities we’d still been able to do during lockdown and we made a word cloud of that. There was dog walking, baking and just other general things people took up during lockdown.

For Celebrate we created a private Facebook group for Occupational Therapy students studying at any Scottish establishment can join.
Facebook was the easiest platform to set us up on and we already have 176 members.”

How important is it for students to connect across the different Universities?

“It’s a really nice idea and one that I don’t think would’ve been so vital during other years but obviously with everything going on just now people are feeling more isolated studying from home. When we asked why they wanted to connect with other students it was all about the support, friendship and opportunity to share experiences.

It’s important to feel part of a bigger thing when quite often you’re just in a room with your laptop for now.”

How good has this been for the society to get involved with?

“First of all, I’d just like to say a massive thanks to all students and staff who helped out – it’s been a real team effort!
It’s also great for the Occupational Therapy Society as this has been one of the biggest events we’ve been involved with. It’s been really heartening to see all the positive feedback and enthusiasm from people. I think now we can see there is an actual audience for people coming together and sharing information across our profession, so it’s just been great.”

Keep an eye on GCU’s Student Newsroom to find out how the society, students and staff celebrated their next event – Occupational Therapy Week.

By Ross Clark
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