Giving an Inservice

I got an email recently asking for tips on picking a topic for an inservice presentation, which is usually a requirement for students during fieldwork. Here are some tips.

Selecting a topic- some sites or supervisors will save you the thought of this step by already spelling it out in your fieldwork documents, usually in the form of "You will do a case study." Otherwise, you will have to choose. My advice is to pick something that falls into one or more of these categories:
-Something you are interested in
-Something you would like to learn more about
-Something that your coworkers have expressed interest about

If you do a case study, pick out one special client and tell what you did that was special or innovative to their treatment. If you helped to develop a tool or a really different treatment with any client, overcome a difficulty in their treatment that you didn't think you could, that's a good case study.

If there's a frame of reference or new treatment idea that you learned at school that your coworkers haven't heard of and haven't had time to research, that's always a possibility. Some places still haven't been exposed to the practice framework language and are continuing to use uniform terminology. An update on the new language with examples of how to apply that to documentation is a good way to bring your site up to speed.

If you get a lot of clients with the same diagnosis, try to find a systematic review of the evidence and then showing how that research can be applied to client treatments. That would be helpful as many practitioners don't have or make the time to do evidence searches and often don't have access to all the awesome library resources you do as a student.

Other planning tips- take note during other students' presentations, as well as those done by paid workers. This gives you a better idea of the kind of presentation expected- do they want a full powerpoint or just an informal discussion? If you can't discern this from observation or asking your supervisor, then opt to be more formal.

It's good to plan on technological mishaps. Be able to give your powerpoint presentation in an effective way even if someone breaks the projector the day before. Minimize potential malfunctions by being familiar with the hardware (your computer or the staff computer, the projector, etc). Remember that powerpoints created on newer versions of microsoft office don't play the same on old versions- a better option instead of just opening the file from a disk or thumb drive is to Pack and Hold your presentation to a CD. This enables you to drop the CD into any computer (I don't think it even needs office on it) and your presentation should run just fine.

Don't forget to leave time for questions... I've found that often people don't have any, but if they do and you don't address them, it could lead to a poor reception of your overall project.

Above all, be relaxed and confident in your information... an inservice is usually the sign that your fieldwork is drawing to a close, so just think that you are addressing your colleagues instead of being graded by a supervisor.


Alece K. said...

This was very helpful- thanks a lot! I'm a 2nd year OT student in Seattle and will be starting FW II in 4 months-- I know I'll have to give an inservice at each site so I've bookmarked this entry and will come back to it when that day arrives :)


Ashley Simmons said...

Thanks for these recommendations. I'm trying to come up with a topic for my level II in-service so this was helpful to determine how to get started.