Not been to this years C.O.T. conference but feel you 'should' be linking some theory to practice?

You are not alone, thousands of OTs can't afford to go to the conference either because of  the cost of the actual conference itself or the additional cost of travel and accommodation.

You may be a really experienced Occupational Therapist thinking you really should get a grip of some 'theory', but where to start.....?

The reality is that 'the theory' that you think you should know is woven into your every day practice without you even knowing it. You use it every day you are at work without thinking; yet are the first to say 'Oh I am not very good with all that theory stuff I just do my job'. OT's say this to me all the time, and often cite it as a reason that they can't have students, 'It's all that theoretical stuff I just don't know anymore'.


Well let's have a look at all that theoretical stuff you do know.

You are HCPC registered so that means you are providing evidence of the standards of practice that extensive research has identified as the core skills of all AHP's. ✔️

You are working somewhere within the occupational therapy process and know what comes before and after the bit that you are doing if you focus on one aspect of it.✔️

You are breaking down tasks and activities everyday so people can have meaningful occupations, again lots of psychological theory and research that underpins all that.✔️

Where ever you are working there are N.I.C.E. Guidelines. If you hadn't seen them just Google NICE guidelines and which ever clinical area you are in or long term conditions there will be some. Just read the summary, if you are ticking all the boxes; great. If not have a closer look, you may find something useful to help you offer a quality service with Government support.✔️

You could go through your case notes with a check list of what should be in them and what is in them. An audit by any other name. Both of the above are part of Clinical Governance.✔️

That's a lot of theory for someone who doesn't know a lot about it...


If you still feel you are lacking confidence articulating the theory side, why don't you add it to your supervision sessions? You should be having an hour once a month or two months. Is it a productive session? If not could you use the sessions to integrate 'theory' with your practice? This would increase your confidence, your ability to articulate more clearly the context of your role in the service, and the thing I use the theory all the time for is arguing for change. Nine times out of ten you will  have a 'feeling in your water' that something is not right, you are an experienced professional after all, but having someone else, Government, researcher, academic also saying it gives you more authority to objectively argue for change. Start today! ✔

by Margaret Spencer MA Consultant Occupational Therapist & Senior Lecturer LinkedIn Profile  



This post is written by Margaret Spencer. Margarets blogs are a culmination of over thirty years experience  working in Occupational Therapy, including material from her books and conference presentations.They answer the real queries and questions that 100's of undergraduate  and post graduate students, qualified OT's and managers, that she has had the privilege to work with and supervise continue to ask her.

To see how Margaret can offer support to your team visit her website or email


What now?

Check out our latest Locum OT jobs or our latest Permanent OT jobs.

Read more: Occupational Therapy Articles         



Quick apply…


Please call me back…

Job saved to account. Visit your account
Please login or register to save jobs to your account
Please login or register to apply for jobs