Thursday, November 6, 2008

Final reflection on groupwork

I recently completed my final viva with my group. Our communication was A LOT BETTER. I tried incredibly hard to work within a team. However there are a couple of things that I am really anti about.
Im pretty sure that some members didnt trust me and I sure as hell didnt trust them. Once again, a vital bit of research was left up to me regarding assessments for a fake client. I chose the functional capacity evaluation. Due to the fact that this week all of us have been stressed getting our papers done and that the viva wasnt even going to be marked, I didnt do thorough research into the FCE. But I for one had loads on it. In the viva, another member got asked about the FCE in relation to the biomechanical model and the case. She screwed it up alright - then blamed me. Firstly - not my fault that she was reading off her own notes not mine, second - I wanted to answer the question to help her out but my teacher has already previously accused me of being domineering so I shut up. And finally - why the hell was I persecuted for not researching enough into this assessment when I was the only bloody person who contributed assessment ideas in the first place?!! No one else did. Im sorry that I put my papers first - SO SORRY... OMG just sue me as I committed the biggest groupwork crime of all time.. Boohoo get over it.

There is no way that anyone has the right to undermine and make me feel like shit every time I try to work with them. I worked bloody hard on that viva and and with the others but the amount of snide little comments aimed at me was incredibly hurtful not to mention unprofessional.
The only thing I'm telling myself is this -
I work hard
I study hard
I am assertive and I stand up for myself
I back myself up well
I bring down people who try to think they can get away with putting down others just to make themselves feel better.
I NEVER tolerate gossip and nitpicking.

Therefore, I think it makes sense that people who do silent bullying like that really really hate me. Cause it means that I try to ruin their control of things. They are threatened by me.

Thats my rant for today. No more stuff about groups.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first group reflection

My first group reflection occurred on the 7th of October. At the time I obviously did not type out the reflection because it didnt go the way I wanted the experience to go but now I see it as a good learning experience. I can still remember what I said because I did a previous paper on the same reflection.

My account was of my first fieldwork experience. I had two supervisors(male and female). Both were really good occupational therapists and outstanding people. One of the supervisors however had a really thick accent which I had a lot of difficulty interpreting what he wanted me to do and felt embarrassed for everytime I had to say "Sorry, what did you say??.." Because it was my first fieldwork placement I would also like to add my inexperience at how to manage myself and knowing my limitations and my values and beliefs. I had (back then) very perfectionistic tendencies which I bought with me into my studies. In all cases it was me taking on too much and not knowing how to organise myself. But despite this weakness, I was very assertive. I asked a lot of questions, made friends easily with adults and stuck up for myself readily.

I then relayed to my group of an instance that occurred between myself and my male supervisor (with the thick accent). It happened approximately late in my third week. It was lunch time, and I was writing my notes down from the sessions with the students and starting on some paperwork for my other supervisor. My male supervisor promptly came in and interrupted me with some paperwork and recapping he wanted to do with me. I said yeah sure, can you give me 15mins to finish this other stuff? Sure he says. I went back to typing whatever. 5 mins later he interrupted me again with some more work he had found for me then asked me for the paperwork that I owed him.
This really pissed me off, because I could only mutitask and prioritise so much. I didnt say much except to again ask him to ask again later as I had a lot of work to do.
He got very angry at this stage and yelled at me, saying I should be doing the work he set up for me. At this, I too got angry that he was even talking to me in this manner and stood up and told him to back off and that I was working bloody hard for him and the other supervisor and that he had no right to talk to me like that. We both immediately stormed off in opposite directions.

Several influences contributed to that event and us sorting it out. Firstly, I knew my supervisor was incrediably stressed by a wedding he was planning the next day. So for the past couple of days he had inadvertantly sniped at a couple of staff members who all agreed he should not have been at work. I myself thought I handled him yelling at me pretty well. I knew he was a fantastic guy and supervisor and I myself am one of those people who dont judge people by how they act when they're stressed. Also, I'm pretty sure I was the first student nay first young person to stand up to him and stand my ground and I think that shocked him.
Later on that same day, he came up to me and apologised for his behaviour. In a REALLY humble sincere way too.

I was really disappointed at my groups response for varous reasons after telling this story. Firstly, at least two members made out my former supervisor to be a nasty sounding monstor. I was also annoyed at the teacher who pointed out that I was making biased assumptions of my own in the personality similarities between my former supervisor and my step father (who were both from the same town and county in Scotland). I could have (not that I was aware of doing so) - but I was just trying to point out that I understood my supervisors values and beliefs based on his culture.
Secondly, a number of members agreed that I should have laid an formal complaint. I did privately with my other supervisor but not to Otago Polytechnic, as I was worried about how this would affect my working relationship with him. I wanted to sort it out in an adult manner and I felt I did that, especially with standing up for myself with such outward decorum.
After, the feedback I felt as if the majority of the issue I had relayed was all my fault. I was trying to be open minded but I felt as if the group had no perspective from my eyes and were only relaying their own immediate advice - which we later we found out was not the point of the group. Thinking back now, I think I wanted positive feedback for the way I managed the situation and discussion of how I could have done it differently. All of which did not occur.
I did not feel as if I benefitted at all from that group reflection.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Bugger... Bugger... Bugger...

I've screwed up - big time. And I am sorely regretting my actions not to mention my attitude.

A fortnight ago, my lecturers put us into groups of five to work on our intervention plans for one case study. Each group had to produce only one intervention plan.
In the first week, everyone was putting all of their effort into our physiology/dysfunction exam which was comming up. Now my way of relaxing is reading, so in my spare moments I read through and made notes on all the suggested article readings. It wasnt boring at all - in fact really interesting and I saw the case in a new light (I previously thought it looked too hard).

The following week, the group all got together to discuss the short term and long term goal we would make and some ideas for the intervention plan. There was only three of us there I think. I statrted getting really frustrated with some because I had all these ideas as well as all the rationale to support the ideas but no one took them because they didnt understand how they were relevant. I asked them if they read the suggested readings and no they hadnt (at that time). This really annoyed me as I really wanted to get on with it and plan as soon as possible.
At this stage, I made the mistake of thinking only my knowledge and understanding was superior - BIG MISTAKE. To this day I still think my ideas were really decent, I just didnt include the ideas of the others. Sure they were initially behind me in the reading department, but what I didnt realise was that they caught up and all understood the synthesis between the model and the plan a lot better than I did.

One thing that still annoys me though is that all of our communication was shit. We all agreed before the weekend that we would work on our sections of the intervention plan. My bit was getting more rationale quotes. We would then forward these improvements via email and have the end product ready for Monday morning to be handed in. My internet crashed on the weekend so I didnt get mine done til Sunday evening which worried me a bit cos I thought everyone would think I ditched them. I got my emails working and found that no one emailed me anything. The plan was due in the next morning at 9am and I was really worried and slightly angry at the possibility that the others had left me to do the entire writeup. One key mistake I did here was sent out an emergency email (around midnight) asking everyone to meet me at the pc suite first thing in the morning to sort the paperwork out. Of course no one read their emails that morning and didnt come in til 9am. So with one other member, I wrote out the whole intervention plan from memory of what I thought we had agreed on the previous week. I did the whole thing and boy was I pissed off when I got to class.

The others didnt finish their plan til later Monday afternoon. About 6 hours after the due date, I wasnt involved at all (mainly cos I was so pissed off). I didnt realise at the time that the other members were just as pissed off at me for handing a separate one in.

The next day after I had calmed down and learned that everyone was pissed off I apologised to the group and tried to explain why I had done what I did without accusing anyone. We managed to ask to lecturer to get mine back to check if they were similar. Because we werent technically allowed to change the plan I had handed in, another member and myself quickly perused the two and realised they werent too different and that mine would be kept but would have some things added to it. I thought my plan still went along pretty well with theirs so I kept the majority of it in. No one knew this as we were under a really stressful time constraints not to mention a suspicious glare fro the teacher, therefore we didnt have time to bring the whole team together to go over it.

Today we all sat together and talked over the plan. I found out that their ideas were more specific than mine but didnt flow with the plan I had handed in. Boy did I have to do some minor grovelling. We sorted out what we were going to say tomorrow at the viva but we all decided that I would be left up to explaining the screw up in the last section of the treatment plan.

I know, that the majority of the fault here is mine. I accept that mistake and take responsibility for it. But I feel like some of this was screwed up because
  • I did earlier readings. And no one understood my explanations from this research.
  • The whole weekend thing was a fiasco - part of that was out of my power and I do not think I should be persecuted for taking action against the disorganization of other members.
  • Not everyone turned up to meetings/tutorials.
This is really depressing for me and a real eye opener into my attitude of groups. At this point I must say quite honestly that I am a fiercely independent person. I do work well with others really well so long as their personality and way of explaining things are similar to my own.
I know I know... Not good future OT material but I working on it. For some reason (and please take my word for this) I am way better at this sort of thing in placements. I like hierarchies, and I like working with older professionals who I know will listen to me early on in the process and will take on board my suggestions.
At polytech a lot of the time I feel very verbally incompetent. Dont get me wrong I am a confident speaker, its just others not understanding what I'm talking about. This sometimes happens in my personal life as well but never on placement. Why the hell cant I be understood like this all the time??!!

Now I'm off to study for that viva tomorrow - so help me God.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More supervisor stories

Ok before I about another supervisor horror story I thought I might remind others out there that I actually have to write about these topics in my "Collaboration and Consultation" tutorial and in order to pass a section of the paper I have to provide personal reflection from any medium. And whatever past issues I talk about, I know my peers will most likely write about what I say too and their feelings about it.

So please dont shoot me if you think this blog is getting too negative. I only have to do two more stories then I'll talk about other stuff.

The second story I will talk about is from a class mate of mine, who told us of the relationship she had with her supervisor in her first placement. The setting was an acute neurology ward and her supervisor was a new grad male OT.
Her supervisor specifically said to her in the first week that she was only expected to observe - nothing more.
The student knowing she was inexperienced readily agreed. However, when she went up on the the ward with him later on to do an initial interview, she felt uncomfortable about a few things.
Firstly, when the patient was in bed, the supervisor before doing anything else pulled the curtains around and allowed the student to come in and watch.
After not introducing the student to the patient the student at this point instantly noticed the worried/upset facial expression on the patients face and explained that she was an OT student and that she was here to observe if that was alright with her.
The patient relaxed and allowed this, however the student's supervisor asked the student to step outside the ward with him and talk.
They went to a private room where he allegedly said "I am so pissed off at you right now!!" using aggressive body language. He discussed his extreme disappointment in the student in not following what they had agreed on. The student didnt say much due to shock (and wanting to cry) and being inexperienced and not wanting to cause a rift with her supervisor apologised and returned back to the office without him. Afterwards the student said that their relationship was somewhat strained. The supervisor didnt apologise for yelling at her, and although the student related this incidence onto a trusted student peer who encouraged her to talk to either her supervisor or someone more superior about the issue - she didnt. After a while, the students emotions were mixed. She felt she had still done nothing wrong and that he was being unfair but at the same time was highly embarrassed by the events and due to her insight into her minimal experience wondered if he was right or if there was something polytech had forgotten to teach her, or something else that influenced the experience that she should have known about.

When my classmate finished relating this story we then delved deeper in with our questions.
(While trying not to give her advice).

I remember asking her
Due to your improved placement experiences, if you had that same experience again how would you have handled it differently?

The student replied that she would have stood up for herself more with her supervisor. She now believes that she did nothing wrong and that she was actually using good initiative by noticing the clients stress and acting on it positively for the patients benefit. She also added that further on the the placement she noticed a few negative personality traits and learning styles of her supervisor which clashed with her own. This she feels backed up her belief that he was being very unprofessional with her by speaking aggressively to her and making her want to cry. And also disregarding the patients basic need for communication (which she also witnessed him doing more than once).
The teacher then replied that she would have been fully in her right to lay a complaint against him for his behavious toward him even if she was in the wrong.

Another student asked her - Do you think the planning for you observing a client with your supervisor was clear?

The student replied, at the time yes. But by the look of the way we both handled it, it was obvious that we didnt communicate fully our expectations. She related that she didnt realise then that introducing herself to a client was an important exception she had to make with her supervisor but said that she felt it was irrational for her supervisor to assume without asking her that she was expected not to say literally anything to patients. She said she felt that, given a ward was a very unprivate setting and that some acutely ill patients would reject a student without proper explanation, she felt it was her responsibility to reassure and gain the patients consent.

My thoughts

I completely empathised with the predicament my classmate went through and fully understood her initial fear and worry of causing more serious issues with her supervisor. As a first year we know full well of how much we dont know and that we place our full trust in our supervisor 99% of the time (unless you're an extremely brainy and assertive 1st year). I agreed with her statements fully and felt that even though she was in the majority of the right she still took accountability for the situation. I think that as a first year, if issues like that crop up, sometimes not knowing how to respond are normal. The fear and worry I think is again normal for that phase in our personal growth and growth as an OT student.
Personally, when I was a first year I was very assertive (not arrogant) and I remember regularly standing up for myself against peers and even a past supervisor. But I consider, that this student was not the same first year as I was. I do not know what her underlying temperament at that point in time. Maybe she considered herself confident but out of shock of the verbal abuse she received she closed up. Finally, I agreed with the student when she said that knowing how to treat others and being aware of their perceptions and attitudes is not just important for client relationships but student-supervisor relationships as well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Unproffessional and unsupportive supervisors suck! >:-(

I just finished a tutorial for my class 'Collaboration and Consultation', where we talk about ethical or just simply any issue that caused a bit of internal struggle.

Two of the stories caught my attention. Both students were talking about a time when either their professional or personal personality did not mesh with another person. The first student talked about her last OT supervisor whom she pointed out to us immediately, to the fact that this supervisor wasnt being professional AT ALL.

I dont know how much I want to mention except to say that these 'professional' OT's attitudes were shocking. One was said to be obviously burnt out from working in mental health for 40 years who saw no problem with man handling patients, bluntly said that they hated the last student because they asked "too many questions" (!) denying group resources to patients. They also never negotiated with the student about supervision, never offered feedback and gave the student a full caseload with no assistance much to the annoyance of the student. There was loads more but I cant remember. them all
This kind of thing really pisses me off. We pay over 5000 dollars a year to study and do placements. Registered OTs get some kind of point system from the NZOT Board (part of competencies too I think) every time they have a student - no matter how the placement went. This is not the first supervisor issue I've heard of. I think as a student- we have the right to demand a PROFESSIONAL supervisor. Whos also supportive and patient and have standards so we as the student can admire and look up to and raise our standards of care to the utmost highest. A good working relationship is essential and I always feel disappointed for my peers who dont achieve that. (Can be the student as well).

I feel very blessed to have had placements where I ended up with placements I never even put in my list but ended up making the most of my time and having an awesome placement and a wonderful supervisor and meeting lots of great people. They were all different of course with different styles etc and what ever issues we had we sorted them out maturely and appropriately.

One thing I will say is (be warned though), why are all the nasty stories I hear of, are those concerning much older (and I mean really old) OT's. Is our training and societal ways and health standards evolving so much that they cant keep up with all the change and just remain in their own ways in order to avoid a long headache?
Hey - dont shoot the messenger. I'm not at al going to judge very OT over the age of 50 to be unprofessional (dont be stupid). But if any OT (from all ages) is uncompromising, dictator like and unsupportive and unwilling to negotiate about stuff then I will really have a problem with them and even more pissed off with school supervisors who also do not offer support and just tell us to get over it and to just treat it as "an excellent learning experience!"

5+ weeks of that?
Get a grip...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I love FOOD and Jamie Oliver

Now people I promise I study after this post as I've been procrastinating all day!

Right so onto todays topic.
I came across Jame Olivers website today ( - brilliant!

Heres a link to the recipe Im gonna have a hand at:

"I became a subscriber pretty quickly and asked the forum this question:
Hi everyone!
I'm a uni student from NZ and I live in a flat with four other lovely girls. Seeing as I'm way to poor to even start a kitchen item collection yet, I was wondering if its possible to use ceramic plain cups instead of ramekins? Or other types of cups for that matter. I really want to try out jamies rhubarb and custard souffle recipe. Looks good!
Advice anyone?"

Again, I would so appreciate advice from anyone out there who knows about this aye.

Ok thats me for today. I know it doesnt have much to do with OT but to me cooking is OT to


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Ive been working on a case study for a paper called Integration of Practice.
The case study is about a 14 year old boy called Josh (pseudonym) and I have to make an intervention plan thats focused on aggression. Josh plays xbox most nights til 5am in the morning and as a result he hardly goes to school and when he does he have shown aggressiveness to peers and teachers as well as to his parents. Josh has been expelled before from another school and left another voluntarily. He likes to also skateboard (alone) and play online with buddies. (There are major other issues as well but I can only focus on aggression) There are a lot of things I dont know that I'd like to know like:
  • What is the parental history of his parents. What style of parenting do they use? What punish and reward systems do they use?
  • What do his two siblings do with their day? What are they into?
  • Has he physically met his online buddies?
  • What xbox games does he play? (I suspect GTA & Halo)
  • In what way is he aggressive to his parents?
  • Is he interested in any other games
  • Is he interested in the future and what he wants to do?
One thing thats really nagging me and its so simple but I know I cant use it. Get rid of the xbox. As plain and simple as that. But if Josh is my client as well as the parents that would not be a great start. In fact it would ruin any initial developments of rapport.

I have a few ideas (other than above lol):
  • Communication skills (self awareness, assertiveness, expressing aggressiveness appropriately)
  • Community sport involvement (sport= exercise+endorfins&tiredness+social interaction)
  • Routine: structure set hours of xbox time with spec games. Evaluate with parents appropriateness of games. PLUS set sleep hours (if xbox in bedroom negotiate having it in lounge). Set up reward system for this.
I might put the communication skills and routine as a priority then add the sport thing later (I'm limited in how much I put in intervention plan).
I'd really appreciate some feedback on this by my non existent readers (HELLO OUT THERE!)

I'm definitely going to use the above two now that I've looked at them. Its just finding the rationale now. I have no experience in child truancy casework just so you know so I'm very VERY new at this.

PS I forgot to mention - My intervention HAS to be based on the Behavioural Approach model


Monday, July 28, 2008

O be joyful

Good news folks
Im allowed to redo my design paper extramurally next year. PRAISE GOD! woop woop! So that means I will not be doing my degree part time and I will graduate at the same time as everyone else so long as I keeps my wits a lot better this semester and not screw up.
I dont know. Theres just something so satisfyingly motivating about failure. Dont get me wrong - I was very lucky and I'm not the type of person to be so lighthearted about my career. But it makes me think of Thomas Edison. Brilliant American. Made thousands of mistakes and only a few successes. I like to think that with those few successes he made (which changed technology in the world forever) I bet he learnt to celebrate well. Old school music, vintage wine, party games mmmMmmm. That is how I'm thinking right now and boy am I joyful. My partner is also happy about this because it means he doesnt have to wait more that 3 years for me to come home (hes in Christchurch I'm in Dunedin).

Second happy thing to report: I am so far on top of my papers. Considering I'm redoing one this semester this is excellent stuff.

Still practicing my finger spelling. Though to be honest I do a lot of it in private or when I'm bored or waiting etc. Need to work on my vowels I think. Ive keep mixing up the english version of A,E,I,O,U to the Japanese version of A,I,U,E,O (I can speak a little Japanese).

Also: My homestay has gone through yay!! So in two weeks I'm going to Auckland to work at a stroke rehab clinic. I'm really excited as I'm really facinated with this line of work and I've also never worked in a community setting before. Looking forward to it. My blessing is that the woman who I'm going to live with, lives in the same suburb as the clinic. How rare is that?! Im gonna save so much on petrol. The downside is that board costs are a lot more than I earlier thought which leaves only $50 left for myself out of my $1000 grant. Dammit! No new pair of sneakers for me then...

Had two tutorials today. Both pretty much the same topics: Leadership styles in client groups and client/colleague consultation. I have to do some quiz that tells me what kind of leader I am. To finish off this blog I already found the answer to that in a quote I found in Time magazine about Nelson Mandela's rules of Leadership:

"Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front"
Mandela loved to reminisce about his boyhood and his lazy afternoons herding cattle. "You know," he would say, "you can only lead them from behind." He would then raise his eyebrows to make sure I got the analogy.

As a boy, Mandela was greatly influenced by Jongintaba, the tribal king who raised him. When Jongintaba had meetings of his court, the men gathered in a circle, and only after all had spoken did the king begin to speak. The chief's job, Mandela said, was not to tell people what to do but to form a consensus. "Don't enter the debate too early," he used to say.

During the time I worked with Mandela, he often called meetings of his kitchen cabinet at his home in Houghton, a lovely old suburb of Johannesburg. He would gather half a dozen men, Ramaphosa, Thabo Mbeki (who is now the South African President) and others around the dining-room table or sometimes in a circle in his driveway. Some of his colleagues would shout at him — to move faster, to be more radical — and Mandela would simply listen. When he finally did speak at those meetings, he slowly and methodically summarized everyone's points of view and then unfurled his own thoughts, subtly steering the decision in the direction he wanted without imposing it. The trick of leadership is allowing yourself to be led too. "It is wise," he said, "to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea."

I would so love to have that man as a grandad...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

End of 1st week back

Bit slow to start but not too bad. Half way through the week I realised I left my folders and portfolio at home. Not too worried though as I go home again in under 2 weeks.

One thing has got my attention though. All the papers were put in the entry foyer to be collected and my design paper isnt there. The mark isnt online either. Looks like I'm going to have to suck up my pride and ask the lecturer whats going to happen. If I've fully failed the paper (not offered a special) I pray I'll get away with doing that paper at the same time as next semesters as well... I really hate the idea of graduating 4 months after everyone else and thus being held back 4 months so I wouldnt be able to move back to chch asap.

Anyway on the next bit of news.
I really REALLY enjoy my new papers. They have a lot more of an interesting factor to them compared to last semester. And I'm particularly happy to have my old psychology lecturer back. I got an A- in his last class. A really likable guy who makes everyone work hard for his good marks.

Last semester I had to make this blog for my participation in occupation paper. This semester for POII I have to take up a new hobby and do an interest piece on it as my paper. Ive decided to learn New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Its similar to the British version I've heard and I'm practicing fingerspelling in front of the mirror at the moment. So far all I know how to sign is: hello my name is melody and the sign for bullshit (which my boyf loves to show me). Understanding fingerspelling is all I'm going to work on for now. Then I'll start on basic sentences and vocab.
Its a bit harder than I thought it would be. Last time I tried this was in my first placement where I made friends with the speech therapist there and she taught me makaton (speaking and signing). I learnt about 500 signs in about a week and could sign and understand simple dialogue without speaking. I dont have anyone to practice with nor encourage me this time plus no one to correct me if I start making mistakes. Oh well.
Ive been a gestural talker my whole life. In fact that is where my beginnings are. When I was a toddler I was developmentally behind in language skills. My mother told me she was actually really worried at that point as the majority of the communication skills I used where facial, gestural and guttural (noises instead of words).
My mother being a deeply spiritual woman prayed a help cry of "God make her speak!!". Apparently I have never shut up since lol.
But even as a child I had speaking difficulties and needed speech therapy myself til my last year in primary school. Mum considered putting me down a level a couple of times but I'm glad she didnt.
Today I am a massive talker. Communication isnt hard for me and recently it got me into a spot of trouble in my last placement. Nothing major though. I've learnt to control what and how I say things in a professional setting now. Of course I've never been like that to clients. And I've NEVER talked about clients innappropriately.
What helped me later on I think was my enourmous appetite for books. Im still a big reader but back in Year nine I was already reading at a very high level. After that I learnt how to read very fast as well as being able to pick up on details.

Before I go -
Im wondering if it would be a good idea to show what signs I learn here. Which would mean Id have to put them on youtube first I suppose... I'd love to get feedback from anyone who knows NZSL.