Students and staff to unite through ‘OTea break’

Thu, 21 May 2020 16:19:00 BST
Laura (left) and Leanne gave their thoughts on the importance of the new initiative
Laura (left) and Leanne gave their thoughts on the importance of the new initiative

Occupational therapy students and staff are set to come together through a new initiative aimed at bringing a sense of community, while working from home.

The aptly named, ‘OTea Break’ will be taking place every Tuesday from May 26 via Zoom – giving students the chance to catch up with peers and lecturers about university work and life in general.

Occupational Therapy lecturer Laura Hall explained the importance of providing support for everyone during these times.

She said: “We’re mindful that this won’t be the usual summer break for students. There will be a large number working in health and social care settings but it’s important to make sure that they don’t feel isolated.

Also, as a team of staff we realise how important it is for us to keep in touch – so it’s definitely going to benefit everyone involved in occupational therapy at GCU.”

Having already launched the GCU OT blog earlier this year, Laura admits students and staff are working well together to meet all challenges put in place.

She explained: “It’s obviously not been easy with lockdown but I have to say the students have been incredibly patient about it all.

We’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to create a relationship between us and it’s something that has definitely improved.

Hopefully, ‘OTea Break’ is another way we can keep up all the good work that’s been done so far.”

Laura added: “We’ll have two staff members dialing into each call and it’s been reassuring that we’ve had a number of students in touch expressing an interest in getting involved.”

One of those interested is Leanne Neil, who’s just finished her third year. She loves the idea and is looking forward to getting involved.

Leanne said: “I’ve been class rep for the last three years and always try to keep in touch to make sure everyone is ok.

We have students all over the country and further afield, so I think this is a great way to keep everyone talking and to make sure no-one feels like they’ve been left behind.”

She added: “It’s worth remembering that this whole process of working from home has also been a massive challenge for teaching staff too - it will be nice to also catch up with them.”

Students can find the link to the Zoom meeting on their level sites and it will also be emailed out in advance of the first OTea Break.

By Ross Clark
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