What Type of Placement Did You Say? by Marie Peck @mariepeck30

Marie Peck, Physio practice education lead NHS Education
for Scotland, marie.peck@nhs.scot @mariepeck30

Having embarked on a secondment in Sept 2021 with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) as a Physio practice education lead in the National AHP recovery of practice based learning project, never did I think I’d become a long arm supervisor (LAS) to experience its benefits (2). Nor did I think this would include peer assisted learning (PAL) or be a novel project placement in a third sector organisation.

The placement I agreed to facilitate was a project based placement in Livingstone’s Braid Health and Wellbeing centre, paired with two Glasgow Caledonian university (GCU) MSc Physiotherapy students to deliver a PAL placement with LAS, over 6 weeks.

Our NES cross-sector lead Ailsa Gillen was on hand to support the placement whilst I made contact with the placement lead in GCU to ensure I had available support from the university and to talk through how the university learning outcomes could be met for the placement, which was helpful. Despite over 20 years working as a clinician and supporting Physio students I was nervous to say the least.

So What?
Anxious around my role in facilitating robust communication, ensuring expectations were met, adequate supervision provided and being able to deliver “enough” learning for a valuable learning experience I devoted time to the pre-placement planning. I gathered all relevant resources for the placement and hosted these on a Teams page which I designed like a webpage. All individuals involved in the placement delivery had access to this teams page, with its channels for students checking in and out, a question space for students/staff support, resources and private supervision channels.

Resources of particular benefit were the Braid pre-placement student induction booklet and induction checklist, developed by our cross-sector practice education lead, speciality specific learning resources and guidelines, resources on project stages and a learning styles questionnaires to help the students and myself understand each others learning styles.

A placement timetable, to direct the learning experience and provide structured time for the students to work through the priority resources, was developed but with in-built flexibility which was very important. I sought out an opportunity for the students to shadow the stroke team in the nearby St Johns Hospital, scheduled tutorials, reflective sessions, peer supervision sessions and individual supervision sessions.

Finally I used the GCU pre-placement induction template to populate a pre-placement info sheet for the students which GCU distributed to the students. Once both had made contact with me prior to the placement I was able to ensure they had access to the teams site and all relevant pre-placement resources.

So So What?
The 1st week flew by and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. Despite the time invested into the pre-placement
planning everyone benefitted from this work. Everyone involved in the placement knew what to expect, week on week the students were flourishing
and achieving all objectives and outcomes.

The timetabled activities really complimented the placement, they assisted me to see how the students
were achieving their learning outcomes and supported them to deliver their project interventions. My anxieties steadily lifted to the point I had to remind myself I had students, being so used to having students by my side rather than remote. It was strange having students virtually, strange becoming sorelaxed with this delivery model and then strange when they finished.

Now What?
I would recommend any Physio who has considered trialling LAS, project or PAL placements or combinations of these and who thinks it would fit with their service delivery to give it a go! I also think its a brilliant way for those in less clinical or managerial roles to get back into placement delivery.

Both myself and my two students have produced animations, blogs and vlogs to share our stories of this positive experience over twitter. Turas learn (1) has resources on these models to start you on your journey, link in with someone who has done this before as they are valuable sounding board and don’t let your anxieties hold you back, I’m glad I didn’t. Invest in pre-placement planning, resource development and give it a go!

I will definitely take this experience back into clinical practice when my secondment ends in March 2023 to identify where and how some or all of these models can fit.

Thanks to those who supported this experience and myself through this journey:
Ailsa Gillen NES Cross-sector PEL @AGOTNESPEL
Ailidh Hunter NES PEC @ailidhAHPED NHS NES @NMAHP
Braid Health and Wellbeing Centre staff, clients and carers
Claire Hedley NES OT PEL @ClaireAHPed
Jennifer Wales NES Physio PEL @JenniW_StrokePT
Kirsty Marks Physiotherapy Lecturer and placement co-ordinator GCU @KirstyMarks5 @GCUPhysio
Lorna Sinclair NES Physio PEL @LornaAHPed
Wendy Juner Specialist Stroke Physio St Johns Hospital @WendyJuner

Most importantly my two students Rachel Kidd and Kirsty Hennen for making this journey a pleasurable one.


NHS EMPLOYERS, 2022. Clinical placement supervision models. [viewed 09/12/22]. Available from:
NHS Education for Scotland, (2022). Turas Learn, AHP PrBL ‘How to’ workshops. [viewed on 01/11/22]. Available
at: https://learn.nes.nhs.scot/60126


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