The Rocky Bay Foundation Scholarship offers staff a unique personal and professional development opportunity to learn best practices and new approaches by visiting organisations in Australia and overseas.
Occupational Therapist, Nicky Ryan, from Rocky Bay’s Therapy Professional Services – Children’s Services team, was one of our lucky recipients of a study scholarship, which she undertook in late 2017.
Nicky completed a study tour of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with the objective of connecting with other therapists to gain exposure to different funding models and styles of service delivery and enrich her practice as a clinician in the areas of upper limb and children’s rehabilitation services.
Nicky spent time at Radboud University where she joined the Behavioral Sciences Institute and had the opportunity to listen to five different studies currently underway.
The studies focused on electroencephalography (EEG) imaging of infant and children’s brains who live with cerebral palsy, hand function skills, as well skill acquisition teaching for students who live with a disability.
Nicky liaised with four different research teams, observed their data recording methods and progress on programs to be rolled out after studies have concluded.
Nicky also had the opportunity to present on Rocky Bay’s services and her scholarship to the university.
Sint Maartenskliniek Clinic
Nicky visited the specialist rehabilitation centre which houses a children’s rehabilitation department and education support school. She spent time with the Upper Limb Analysis team, research team and splinting team.
Nicky had the chance to observe and participate in the ‘Pirate Group’, the first program of its kind to be piloted. The group uses play-based activities, where a sling is used on the unaffected arm of a child to encourage the involvement of their affected arm.
Nicky spent time with participants and researchers at community service provider, Adelante, to learn about their award-winning program named FitCare4U, which was developed for adolescents who have some capacity to walk within small distances, but mostly use a wheelchair.
The 15 day program aims to increase self-care capacity and independence. Participants perform tasks for themselves such as making their bed and preparing dinner as a group while enjoying other leisure activities. The program focuses on capacity to participate and also includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy and skills based activities, like art and music, run by specialist teachers.
London, United Kingdom
The Bobath Centre
Nicky undertook the six-day Introduction to Early Assessment and Intervention with Babies and Young Children course which has been running for 17 years and is well known in the UK.
The practical course supports therapists in expanding their skills and knowledge in video analysis, assessment and management of pre-term and full-term babies at risk of neurological conditions up to 18 months of age.
Thanks to her Rocky Bay Foundation scholarship experience, Nicky said she was able to develop a deeper understanding of service delivery and how to provide a quality service.
“I was able to see different approaches to delivering services through many different intensities to achieve a desired outcome. It is something I plan to explore further and will be discussing with our Clinical team”.
Since completing her course at The Bobath Centre in London, Nicky has already had the opportunity to implement her new skills when consulting with customers and their families.
“The Rocky Bay Foundation Scholarship has challenged me and pushed me outside of my comfort zone to immerse myself in so many learning opportunities. The study tour is only one element of this journey and I look forward to working with people across Rocky Bay to implement change and service improvement opportunities.”