Students can arrange their own elective placement experience for their final placement block. (Placement 4). Having this opportunity allows students some choice and opportunity to explore a specific occupational therapy specialism and potentially to go on a placement in a non-traditional setting or abroad. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) requires that graduates have a range of practice experience with a range of people of all ages (COT 2014). So before agreeing any elective placement experience the Occupational Therapy Placement Lead will need to assure themselves that the practice placement the students has propose meets their learning needs within this profile.
Before approaching any placement area for an elective placement opportunity student will need to map out their experiences to date and identify which area of practice they would like to experience and consider if it will allow them to meet the RCOT requirements. Students are not permitted to complete elective placements in the same placement area they have previously worked within. Note –placements can be completed on the same site but not the same placement. Students will need to consider the practicalities of such a placement including travel costs and time, any additional accommodation costs and arrangement that would need to be made. These elements will be discussed with students by the course team and students will be signed posted to potential sources of support.
As this is an elective placement experience students should initially discuss their intention with their academic advisor or the occupational therapy placement lead to check how the experience will meet their learning and development needs. Students will be advised about when to do this and the time-frame for arranging this placement experience by the course team. If a placement is arranged which does not map adequately with previous experiences students will not be allowed to complete the placement in this area as this may affect a students ability to meet the programme learning outcomes and therefore the minimum HCPC and RCOT standards.
Students will need to work with the occupational therapy placement lead in order to arrange the placement and must keep them up to date with the arrangements that are made. It is a student’s responsibility to organise the placement and this will involve making contact with the sites they are interested in taking up a placement with. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to network and build up confidence in approaching potential employers. Students are advised to consider any travel or accommodation costs or arrangements when planning the elective placement
Elective placement are subject to the same rules as all other placements to ensure quality of the placement experience and that they fulfil HCPC/RCOT requirements for placements. Practice educators will need have completed a practice educator course (this does not have to be with UCLan) will have to meet UCLan’s guidelines. The placement will have to have in place processes with regard to ensuring a supportive learning environment and having high standards of health and safety. As with all placement a ‘visiting tutor’ will be allocated to each elective placement. Depending on the location of the placement support for the placement may be given by email, phone, skype rather than a face-to-face visit. The arrangement for this support will be agreed prior to the commencement of the placement.
Elective placements may be abroad or outside of the North West region where the University normally takes students. If this is the case a placement agreement will need to be established through the Occupational Therapy placement lead. Once confirmed a number of documents will need to be completed and returned the University see links below. These forms are crucial in ensuring that there is a clear audit trail with regard to the suitability of placements. If this form is NOT completed you will not be allowed to go on your elective placement. These forms are crucial in ensuring a clear audit trail with regard to the suitability of placements and to ensure University insurances are activated for your placement experience.
Thank you for agreeing to support a UCLan Occupational Therapy student on practice placement.
Students all have Public Liability insurance in place as part of University policies. This applies only where students have adequate supervision in place from a relevant professional. Therefore it is important that students are not asked to complete any tasks outside of the supervisor’s scope of practice. You are advised to inform your insurance company that you are providing placements to students. We have never received report of this incurring a cost.
In order to ensure we maintain accurate records of all placements, please could you complete the following information on the online form to allow us to keep accurate record of placement experiences and ensure placements are compliant with Quality Assurance requirements.
All students will have an allocated practice educators for each placement block. There is an expectation that the Practice Educator and student will meet each week for formal supervision, this should last for around 1 hour. It is expected that during this supervision session the students’ progress with be discussed and the students learning agreement will be updated. It is important that this time is protected as it is an integral part of supporting the students within the placement. Weekly meetings also give opportunity to address any areas of concern or difficulty identified.
On most placements there will be a model of one student allocated to one practice educator. However, in some settings this 1-1 model will differ. For example the practice educator may have responsibility for two students in the same setting, or a student may have two practice educators (perhaps where the placement is split across two sites or where two occupational therapists work part-time so share the student). Where there is more than one student within the placement setting, it may be appropriate for some supervision sessions to involve all students on a group basis. It would be expected that each student would still have a regularly opportunity to meet separately with their practice educator.
For contemporary placements students will have both an on-site supervisor (who will be a member of staff within the placement setting) and a practice educator (an Occupational Therapist) who uses a long-arm supervision model to support the student. On these placements the student will meet formally on a weekly basis with the practice educator and it would be expected that for some of this time on the on-site supervisor would also be present.
Supervision should be recorded on the supervision form.