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PENNA win for OT students

Congratulations to Occupational Therapy MSc students Ella Brunton and Krista Etchells on winning the Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow at the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA).

Ella and Krista were nominated by Principal Lecturer Tania Wiseman in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the clinical work they completed on their diverse practice placement in Autumn 2019.

Tania said: “All of our students do outstanding work on their diverse practice placement. When I visited Ella and Krista during theirs I was really impressed and their on-site educator was incredibly grateful for the contribution they were making. Their occupational therapist supervisors were amazed at how much they achieved in just seven weeks!

“The PENNA awards email popped into my mail box a few days later, and although they were both incredibly busy at the time, paused to write the application with me. They were so excited to be shortlisted and I cannot tell you how proud I am of their win.”

Ella and Krista spent their placement was with Let’s Get Working, a project supporting people with long term health conditions and disabilities to enter employment, education and training. After speaking to staff and participants Ella and Krista identified a range of participant needs that were barriers to either entering employment or even engaging with the project such as confidence, social isolation, motivation and lack of routine.

They designed and delivered a five-week programme called Craft for Confidence, using craft as a therapeutic tool and linked each craft activity to an educational approach/ group discussion related to the identified needs. Activities included making aromatherapy stress balls and discussing anxiety/stress management; making pinch pots and discussing problem solving strategies and using enjoyable activities to experience flow; soap making and discussions on self-care and building this into a routine.

The programme improved outcomes on a standardised wellbeing scale, home-grown occupation-focussed scale and received great feedback from staff and participants. Successes included a participant entering paid employment and others taking steps to become volunteers in addition to re-engagement with the Let’s Get Working Project.

Let’s Get Working plan to continue with the programme and their partner organisations were keen to get involved too – a great legacy for Ella and Krista.

Krista said: “Ella and I are thrilled to have received the Transformer of Tomorrow Award from the Patient Experience Network National Awards that recognises the work we did on diverse placement.

“Our group programme was centred on patient experience, service development and promoting the role and value of occupational therapy in an employment social enterprise. It was brilliant to be able to creatively work with one another and clients and support them to achieve clinically significant progress in areas of wellbeing and occupational functioning.

“Diverse placement was a fantastic opportunity for blue sky thinking whereby we both developed skills and confidence that we are now currently using in our newly qualified OT roles in a community CAMHS team and Secure Forensics.

“To the current Occupational Therapy MSc second years and new starters: listen to the team and trust the process; we promise it works!”

Ella and Krista have both now graduated from the Occupational Therapy MSc and are working as occupational therapists.

Ella and Krista celebrating their win with a glass of bubbly!

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Kerry Burnett • September 23, 2020


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