Professional development activities on a budget

Ongoing professional development activities are an essential component of remaining competent / registered Occupational Therapists, the challenge can be how to access these activities if your budget is limited.
I have put together a list of activity ideas in various price ranges from free to not so free and will be adding to the list when I find new things.

Free Activities:

  • www.todayinOT has a programme called Free CE Friday where therapists can register and have access to a free module to read and review each week for free
  • There are a variety of blogs and OT based websites around now in addition to my own – I like:
    • www.otinnovations.com and the Facebook network that all can contribute to / post questions to
    • OT4OT
  • Google scholar is a good search tool that can find literature that is open-access.
  • The 24hr OT values exchange – the 24 hour on-line conference has been for 2014 but the slides are available to review here.
  • Form a journal club with colleagues in a similar sector, utilise Skype, Messenger or Google groups to widen the horizon of who could be included
  • Facebook groups are also great ways to keep abreast of developments in OT
    • OT4OT
    • Occupational Therapy students: get connected
    • OT innovations
    • Entrepreneurship4OT
    • Occupational Therapy Forum
    • Following OT associations like BOTA, COTA, AOTA, OTNZ etc
  • Twitter is also a free tool that can be used constructively for professional development activities, following a variety of international OT associations, leading OTs, discussion threads are great ways to see what is happening international front
  • Providers like Boston University (link here) have a range of free courses including a periodic neurology course run throughout the year with a certificate of completion given at the end
  • TED talks are also a way to keep up with some of the innovations and complexities in health science
  • Considering volunteering in some way in the sector you are wanting to move into (if you are looking for work and can afford this financially)

Low cost activities:

  • www.todayinOT has a section of their website that is paid to access via a relatively low cost subscription, this subscription offers learning modules that you can read / print / study
  • Workshops run through both on-line providers and organisations providing subsidised training ie. stroke foundations or similar

More expensive activities:

  • Joining your national OT associations
  • Enrolling in post graduate education
  •  It is important to keep a record of these learning activities so that you can use them when the time comes to work towards recertification, or to show in your CV/resume.

It is important to keep track of these activities, here are a couple of ways you could do this:
– Keep a log – like this one:  Demo training log
– Keep a reading list (you could record your reading and notes on articles in your preferred reference management software i.e. Zotero or EndNote)
– If participating in on-line discussions, keep a copy of your input to the discussions to demonstrate your interactions.

Let me know if you have any questions!