Following successfully completing my Diploma from the College of Occupational Therapists, I worked in London as an occupational therapist, firstly at the Whittington Hospital and later at Hackney Hospital. During this time, I worked in a variety of physical settings, before moving to Kent to work first in elderly rehabilitation at Nunnery Fields Hospital and then moving to become Head IV Occupational Therapist at the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital (RSBH) in Margate, which specialised in orthopaedics and rheumatology. I acted-up as Head II Occupational Therapist for Thanet for a year, having responsibility for occupational therapy services at Margate Hospital, Ramsgate Hospital, RSBH and Victoria House Young Disabled Unit. In 1989, I changed direction and began working in mental health. Initially, I was a Head III Occupational Therapist responsible for occupational therapy services in two Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) in Thanet, and later I additionally became responsible for services in Canterbury & Faversham and the coastal area of Whitstable and Herne Bay. I acted-up as Head II Occupational Therapist on a couple of occasions before being awarded the position permanently, with responsibility for occupational therapy mental health services throughout the Trust, including acute adult and older people’s services.
I joined the University of Brighton as a Senior Lecturer in 1996 and became a Principal Lecturer in 2005. During my teaching career, I have worked with students from foundation degree to doctoral level. I have been a member of the staff team for the European Masters in Occupational Therapy for many years and an external examiner at several universities. Although I have been involved in teaching other disciplines including physiotherapists, podiatrists, nurses, social workers and medics, my main responsibilities have been in the education of occupational therapy students. I have been a course leader and team member responsible for numerous successful validations, accreditations and periodic reviews. Both courses I’ve led, and the many that I have been a team member of, have consistently and regularly received excellent feedback from external examiners.
From 1996, my main role has included the Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy/MSc Health Through Occupation (later renamed MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)), which was the first pre-registration Masters in Occupational Therapy in the UK. During this time, I have taken various roles including: Year One Coordinator, Module Leader, Admissions Tutor and Course Leader (2003-2010). My involvement includes being a personal tutor, research supervisor and a problem based learning teacher, that has included devising new problems with occupational therapy colleagues, creating new triggers, writing tutor guides and providing fixed resource sessions. I have introduced innovations within the curriculum such as changing the dissertation from a 15,000-word thesis to a paper prepared for submission to a peer reviewed journal with an extended literature review and critical reflection, or ‘Research by Design’, in which students could produce a detailed proposal for research that could form the basis for doctoral study. Both innovations have been adopted by other programmes at the University. I was the first to devise group student research projects with local occupational therapy managers and clinicians and was course leader when inter-professional education was introduced between occupational therapy, medical, nursing and social work students.
In 2010 I became Course Leader for the MSc Occupational Therapy (Post-registration) (Education/Management). In this role, I have worked closely with colleagues from other professions including physiotherapy, podiatry and nursing. An example of innovative practice in this role is of introducing LYNC/Skype for Business in action learning sets and in the assessment of presentations.
I have been a member of the staff team of the European Masters in Occupational Therapy since 2001, providing education and research opportunities for postgraduate occupational therapists from many countries throughout Europe and beyond. The European Masters is a course that is run in cooperation with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), Zurich University of Applied Sciences, University College Zealand (Denmark) and Karolinska Institute (Sweden). The course underwent two re-accreditations simultaneously in September 2015 in which I represented the course in his positions of module leader, research tutor and member of the Examination Board: the programme accreditation per the standards of the Dutch Flemish Accreditation Institute NVAO (Nederland’s Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie) and the Distinctive Quality Feature Internationalisation per the ECA standards (European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education). The accreditation process assesses the programme on four standards:
- Intended Learning Outcomes
- Teaching and Learning Environment
- Learning and Assessment System
- Learning Outcomes Achieved.
The first three were judged to be ‘good’, and the fourth one ‘excellent’. The results were the highest that a programme has received within the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The European Masters has graduated 197 students of whom over 50 have published their research in peer reviewed journals.