OETT helps make dreams come true !
Since graduation in 2000 I had retained my focus and primary interest on nurturing team approaches in community and acute teams, as the gold standard to providing rehabilitation from neurological injury. I have been privileged to work alongside expert Orthotist, AHP and medical colleagues at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust where we aim to provide the highest standards of integrated rehabilitative care for spinal cord injury survivors who encompass the widest possible spectrum of abilities and goals.
I had long pondered the fundamental factors underlying motor learning – the lasting (or plastic) changes in behaviour and underlying neurophysiology which underpin therapy – the lasting skills improvements and adaptive short-term variations which allow us to meet goals in a dynamic environment. In the spring of 2007 I sent a proposal to OETT, setting out the aims and objectives which would be satisfied by undertaking an MSc in Neurorehabilitation at Brunel University. This course is aimed at specialist AHPs and medical professionals who seek a deeper understanding of the field and are considering embarking on neurorehab-focused research or evidence-based service delivery as part of their future career.
My NHS Trust supported me superbly in both spirit and study leave, but OETT was most generous in supporting me through this 2 year part-time taught course with 2/3 of the course funding. So I graduated in 2009, having met my personal learning objectives and having been exposed to a mind-boggling range of quantitative and qualitative themes along the way! My dissertation focused on the effect of non-invasive brain stimulation twinned with voluntary activity and FES on brain plasticity (cortical stimulation having the potential as a novel class of orthotic device to boost brain performance and skills learning), which earned me a Distinction.
I’m now embarked on a full-time PhD in Health Studies looking at brain plasticity and motor learning, and the effect of brain stimulation to enhance rehabilitation from tetraplegia following spinal cord injury. Though I was lucky to have been awarded a PhD Research Scholarship from Brunel, and continue working part-time at the RNOH, without the continuing help from OETT in the form of a 50% grant for travel expenses I simply would not be able to continue my career journey.