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The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has shared some helpful guidance for occupational therapists who want to continue with CPD education when they are practicing social distancing.

Social distancing refers to a number of measures introduced by the UK Government to help reduce the chances of the coronavirus spreading from person to person, therefore preventing illnesses and fatalities, and preventing the health and social care system from becoming overwhelmed.

Introduced on the 23rd of March, the new measures require people to stay at home except for going out for essentials, such as food shopping, medical needs and one form of exercise a day. People are told to stay at home as much as possible to save lives but if they do go out, they are only allowed out in groups of two – outside of their family members – and are told to keep two metres apart from one another.

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Only “key workers”, such as health and social care staff, delivery drivers, supermarket staff and police officers, are allowed to continue to go to work to deliver vital services to the UK population.

These social distancing measures have led to the closure of schools, venues and businesses up and down the country in order to stop public gatherings and ensure people are following the Government’s measures.

Recognising that these measures can be daunting and challenging for individuals, RCOT has issued guidance to its members on continuing CPD whilst practicing social distancing.

Karin Orman, RCOT Assistant Director – Professional Practice, said: “As a society we are going through uncertain times. Undertaking social distancing can take a toll on mental health and wellbeing. Not being able to go about your daily routine or undertake the activities you normally do, could become stressful.

“We know that during this period it’s especially important that you look after your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health.”

RCOT’s advice for its member OTs:

  1. College members can use RCOT’s Career Development Framework to identify their current level of knowledge and skills. Members can also explore templates including a 12-month plan, identifying CPD with teams and more.
  2. The College has a number of learning resources across its websites which OT members can enjoy, with resources to support professionals in practice, teaching, leadership and research.
  3. College members can also benefit from RCOT’s CPD Short Courses. Each course has a workbook, presentation and space for OTs to capture their reflections. These can be done alone or online with a virtual group for OTs to share and discuss the courses.
  4. RCOT also advises members to: “Consider hosting online a virtual debate session or a brown bag lunch. The Toolkit for Self-Directed Learning will guide you through how to do these.”
  5. The College also has various films and resources under the Support with HCPC audit tab on its websites to help members think about their CPD portfolio.
  6. OTs can also listen to helpful podcasts here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/promoting-occupational-therapy/podcasts These podcasts are accessible to non-members too and cover topics such as making learning more accessible, why research priorities matter and securing the future of occupational therapy.
  7. Finally, the College says: “Search CINAHL and Medline remotely at the RCOT library to access a wide range of article (tick the box that says ‘Linked full text’ to refine your search).” These resources are available to RCOT members only.
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