A summary of my experience volunteering for CSH
Hello! I'm Kat, I'm a student at London South Bank, and I was one of the sustainability volunteers at CSH.
Having recently left my post I thought it would be good for me to sum up my role and what I learnt from the experience.
I was first introduced to the idea of sustainable healthcare, and sustainable occupational therapy during my first placement in a community neuro team. One of the aims for this placement was to familiarise myself with the COT Code of Ethics, so I chose to present my thoughts on the Resources and Sustainability section, this section stood out to me as prior to this I hadn’t considered sustainability within occupational therapy.
After reading more around this topic I found that I became more interested in it’s relevance to occupational therapy practice, and came across the OTSusnet blog and the work of the CSH, and it felt important for me to get involved in some way.
During my 6 months as a volunteer I worked with the occupational therapy educators sustainability working group in order to get environmental sustainability and the use of the natural environment included on the curricula for occupational therapy courses.
I assisted in the writing of a report, titled ‘Addressing Sustainable Development in the Occupational Therapy Curriculum’, which was to be reviewed by members of COTED (Council of Occupational Therapy Educational Directors) in a meeting. This report was to encourage the inclusion of environmental sustainability into the occupational therapy curriculum and cited reasons why the sustainability working group believed it was important.
It was rewarding to be a part of this report having helped draft the final version, it gave me a chance to understand what is needed in order to add or change something on the curriculum, and it also gave me a chance to think in depth about why sustainability should be included in the occupational therapy curriculum. Additionally, after discussing this idea with a few lecturers at my university, it was great to see that sustainability had been included in the person-environment-occupation module.
As part of this person-environment-occupation module we were asked to participate in a debate. We were split into teams and given a topic to debate, our topic was “sustainability has no place in occupational therapy”, and we were arguing for this statement. This was obviously quite a challenge to argue against something that I believed in, however it was an opportunity to think critically about it, and it allowed me to see other people’s opinions on the topic as not everyone in my cohort agreed that it should be part of practice.
This position has taught me a lot about the impact human activities and occupations can have on the environment, and also how the scope of occupational therapy can be expanded in order to include the natural and global environment. This is something I wish to continue working on and learning more about throughout my career.
To sum up this was a really great experience for me, I really enoyed this role and hope to continue thinking about the role of sustainability in occupatinal therapy.
And thank you to Ben in particular for giving me this opportunity and helping me to learn a lot and further my understanding, and for giving me confidence to start conversations with others around this topic.