Taking the First Steps to Planning New Approaches to Practice Placements & Student Induction

Top 10 Tips for Occupational Therapists

Student placements have always been a vital part of ensuring a future workforce – But the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on this.

As part of my NES AHP Career Fellowship I have been working with students and colleagues to explore creative ways to ensure placements continue in NHS Lanarkshire. So far, we have had a go at all the models listed below except PAL & the feedback from educators and students has been incredibly positive.

If you’re thinking about offering a placement have a read at my Top 10 Tips listed below. They’re not rules, they’re just some of the things we have learned so far. We are constantly changing & developing our approach based on staff and students feedback.

  1. Email your service welcome information in advance.
  2. Be supportive meet for a quick cuppa and a chat on Microsoft Teams prior to the placement starting. This gives an opportunity to ensure technology works, answer any questions and hopefully ease some of the expected anxieties.
  3. Be adaptable Consider new models of practice in addition to traditional face to face learning.
    • Fully remote – Placement is fully digital.
    • Blended- Part remote learning and part physical placement.
    • Shared supervision – The student has more than one supervisor.
    • Multi Centred Learning- Students can be shared and supervised between multiple specialisms or sites, e.g. Split between inpatient and community.
    • Traditional Learning – physically on placement, face to face each day.
    • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL): Using the 2:1 model. 2 students, 1 supervisor.

However even traditional placements could be adapted to include some aspects of digital/ remote working to reduce footfall & desk use etc.

  1. Be prepared Prepare a tutorial programme in advance. Involve other MDT colleagues and staff who don’t have student responsibilities (presentations, workshops, case discussion – Mix it up).
  2. Communication discuss and clarify any additional learning support needs and ensure opportunity to make required adjustments.
  3. Discuss learning outcomes as soon as possible to allow time to create a variety of learning opportunities. Discuss and agree frequency and format of supervision sessions.
  4. Be creative consider a range of new learning opportunities near me, online tutorials, webinars, case studies, project work, role play, Microsoft Teams and tea break catch ups online.
  5. Clarify IT access and support or required training, including; near me Microsoft teams and email.
  6. Provide information and guidance on how to set up a healthy home working environment.
  7. Provide Wellbeing information and links. Remember to look after yourself so you can help support others.
Gillian Trotter

Author Info:

Gillian Trotter, Specialist Occupational Therapist, NHS Lanarkshire

Follow Gillian on Twitter: @GillianT_OTahp


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s