The United Adventure

studying, practical training, placement, occupational therapy, University of Northampton, hospital

November already?!

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Oy mates,

Long time no see! Time just seems to fly in Leicester. Now we’ve been one month in our placements and learned so many things! Don’t actually know where to begin but I’ll try to add just occupational therapy and hospital stuff here. So here’s some thoughts:

1. The hierarchy of the workers

This is very different from Finland’s style. When OT’s graduate, they are band 5 OT’s, and have to gain experience in different working places. They work about one year in each and then can decide where they want to specialize. After they’ve gained experiences and worked for many years, they can “level up” to band 6 and band 7 – and eventually come “Senior Occupational Therapists”. Above all this, occupational therapists have assistants and technical inctructors who help OT’s doing many things like washing and dressing assessments, saving things on computer, doing home visits etc. The working roles are different on each band. The upper band OT has more responsibilities than the lower one. It’s funny that usually the OT assistants (OTA) and occupational therapy technical instructors (OTTI) have more working experience (15+ years) and still they have less responsibilities and less salary.

I think we should have this kind of system in Finland as well. You can’t gain enough experience in university and decide there in which area you want to work. At least I, Sunny-Maria and loads of our friends feel like that. It would be nice to gain more experience in different working places. In uni you just don’t have enough practical training, even though there is lots of it.

2. British hospital world just loves abbreviations!

It’s a completely different language out there. People don’t just write their paper medical notes with abbreviations, they also TALK using abbreviations. How much information would you receive from a sentence: “The patient is #R NOF, so have you sent section 2 and filled the NWB pathway?” or “Pt can FWB and OT Ax will focus on Tx and considering POC.” or “Pt is happy sharing information with NOK, MDT and NRS.” This is the world we’ve been to the last weeks. The first weeks were honestly exhausting. Now it feels like we’ve settled in and can understand what people actually speak!

3. Medical notes on paper

Which century do we live in? While in Finland you’re used to that everything’s on computer: the patient’s details, previous medical notes, referrals, other professionals notes, here almost everything seems to be on paper. At the end of our placements we’re probably professionals in reading other peoples handwriting. The revolution of information technology is coming to British hospitals little by little. The staff seems to be a bit against the change. They think it takes even more time away from the patients to look things on the computer. Of course the computer systems have to be good enough to save time and increase the effectiveness of patients treatment.

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And now: How are we? Are we all right? Are we OK? These seem to be the most common questions people ask. At first we thought we looked like we’re not all right, but it’s just a British habit to ask that 😀 About 1-2 weeks ago our social life was lacking of people and we were kinda low in mood because of that. We missed our friends in Northampton and in Finland, and wished we had just come to study at uni rather than doing placements. But we breathed and rebooted ourselves and went to see people. Local pub’s movie night gave us lots of laughter with stupid zombie jokes (The Shaun of the Dead) and charity shopping, preparing food and watching V for Vendetta together with a new friend on Halloween night gave us lots of new energy. This week we’re planning to travel back to Northampton to see our lovely friends and the fireworks! November the 5th is a big thing here, fireworks everywhere!

We try to keep you updated soon,

Xx, Mirva